Jimmy Carter photo

Port Canaveral, Florida Exchange With Reporters on Arrival.

May 27, 1977

THE PRESIDENT. It is good to see you.

Q. Are you sure you don't want to have a little pool with you, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. It is not up to me, it is up to the--I think--are we going to have a small group going on board?

Q. We have five on now.

THE PRESIDENT. We have five on board now.

Q. Really?


Q. When was the last time you were on a submarine, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. The last time I was on a submarine was in Savannah, I guess 6 years ago. But we were not at sea. It was just a visit alongside the dock.

The last time I was on board a submarine at sea, I think, was in 1952. So, it has been a long time.

Q. Mr. President, have you ever been on a nuclear submarine?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I never have before. I worked on a nuclear submarine program before the first one went to sea. I was a senior officer in charge of the crew that built the second submarine, the U.S.S. Sea Wolf, but I left the Navy in 1953, in October.

The Nautilus and the Sea Wolf didn't go out to operate until after I left the Navy. So, I am looking forward to learning about it.

Admiral Rickover has been a very good instructor for me, both back in the 1950's and also in the 1970's. But I think we will have a good day. When I come back I will have a thorough briefing. I think we are going to have news coverage from the air.

We will stay on the surface for an hour and a half or 2 hours as we go out to the hundred-fathom line. Then we will dive from there.

Q. [Inaudible]

THE PRESIDENT. I am sorry?

Q. What are you holding?

THE PRESIDENT. It is just a light jacket that I always wear on board a boat.

Q. Did you wear that when you were in the Navy?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't had it that long. I don't

Q. [Inaudible]

THE PRESIDENT. I think they are going to do everything they can to show me how the submarine works. I will have a report when we come back.

Rex Granum will do several interviews during the day with a tape and bring those back. The reason for the press not going out on the boat is that there are a large number of items on the ship and operating techniques that are highly classified. And they either have to cover all those up or take some other actions just to stay out of those compartments. That is the reason for the press not going on board.

Q. Mr. President, do you call this a ship or a boat?


Q. What do you call this, a ship or a boat?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, when I was in submarines they called them ships. But now they are five or six times larger so-I mean they called them boats back then. But now I think they call them ships.

Q. Admiral Rickover was selected to serve as a submarine officer, and now he is actually hosting you on board a nuclear submarine.


Q. How do you feel about that?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I've said many times in my public statements and also in writing, how much Admiral Rickover affected my life and my attitude. He demanded a lot more from me than I had ever thought I could do. So, I think both in politics and also running a peanut farm, and also in the Navy, his concept of what a human being could do; compared to what they ordinarily do, has been a reminder to me. I haven't always measured up to it. But I have a great affection for him personally and a great obligation for what he has meant to me.

So, I'll see you all when I get back from being on the ship.

Q. Mr. President, one other question: As an old Navy man, do you remember what the bow is and what the stern is?

THE PRESIDENT. Of course. [Laughter]

REPORTER. Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: The exchange began at 8:45 a.m. on the dock at Port Canaveral.

Jimmy Carter, Port Canaveral, Florida Exchange With Reporters on Arrival. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243302

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