Jimmy Carter photo

Portland, Oregon Informal Exchange With Reporters Upon Departure From the Olson Residence.

May 05, 1978

Q. Good morning, Mr. President.

Q. Is there anything new in the world going on, Mr. President, that we should know about?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know of anything. I tried to read the news this morning. [Laughter]


Q. What do you think of the South African invasion now?

Q. Did you ever find out about that South African thing?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I got a report last night from Dr. Brzezinski in one of his briefings and Secretary Vance. I think you all know that the South Africans claim that it was just a retaliatory raid against the SWAPO forces who had invaded Namibia with small strikes, and they've claimed to have withdrawn and have not left any South African forces in Angola.

So we hope it's just a transient strike in retaliation, and we hope it's all over. We've expressed our concern to the South African Government and asked them for an explanation.


Q. How would you sum up your trip out here?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think its been good. It has been a well-prepared trip.

I'll be meeting this morning with mayors and county officials from Idaho and Alaska, the State of Washington, Oregon, just to talk to them about how we can implement better some of the programs that we've got going on, particularly urban policy programs and some of the new housing programs we've put into effect, and to learn from them how well we are progressing on holding job opportunities open.

I think we've tried to form, through Jack Watson and the Cabinet members, a much closer relationship between us, in Washington, and the State and local officials, and in doing so, we hope that there will be a lot more benefit from the money we have to spend.

Q. Do you think this trip has helped solve what some perceive as a difficulty you have in this section of the country?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, somewhat. I think whenever I go out, it helps me to learn more about them and special sensitivities of areas in which I have never lived. And I think the preparation for the trip and the personal knowledge that I've been there and I've listened is of help, also.

We've got some problems that I think can be resolved fairly soon. Just the evolution of a water policy for the first time in history causes some people concern, but I think when the policy is evolved, when it's understood, we'll have much less dispute and dissidence in the future than we've had in the past.

The same thing applies to the d-2 lands in Alaska, which is the most important environmental decision that will be made in our generation.

The same thing applies to the limit on federally subsidized irrigated lands that we've had to face. This originated in the courts; the same thing with the Indian claims cases that have come up in the court—now we have to address them administratively. But I think after this first couple of years of trying to tackle problems that have been ignored for too long, there will be an understanding in the West that we really understand their problems and we're trying to deal with them, with their participation.


Q. You have got some lawyers upset. Mr. Spann of Atlanta, the ABA president, said he's surprised at you, that it's the Federal Government that needs to move on improving the quality of justice, not the legal profession in the first instance.

THE PRESIDENT. I think I expressed myself both clearly and accurately yesterday. And there's no doubt in my mind that lawyers care genuinely about their own clients, but quite often when they organize into a bar association, the bar association is primarily concerned about the welfare of lawyers and not the welfare of clients. And the same thing applies to other people like medical doctors.

I think doctors care very deeply about their patients, but when they organize into the American Medical Association, their responsibility is to the welfare of doctors. And quite often, those lobbying groups are the only ones that are heard in the State capitals and in the Capital of our country. So, I think it's very important that a President or a Governor express their genuine concern about some of the trends in the legal profession. I did it when I was Governor. My opinions have not changed.

And a major responsibility is now falling on lawyers to try to redress not only some of those differences that exist between themselves and their clients, obvious delay tactics in court, a misapplication of legal services away from poor people toward the rich, and an almost adamant and constant opposition to any sort of reforms that would help clients and help the criminal justice system in our country.

I think there's a trend in the right direction now. There's more responsiveness in organized groups, but it's primarily confined so far to the local bar associations like the one in Los Angeles County. And I hope this trend will continue, and I hope my speech yesterday will point out to them some clear needs in the legal profession.

Q. But you're as concerned about doctors as you are about attorneys?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I am. I think when I was Governor, my concern about the doctors was even more vivid than my concern about lawyers. But yesterday I addressed the attention of the Nation, I hope, to the problems in the legal profession, and I'm sure I'll find an occasion in the future to address the problems in medicine also.


Q. You know there are a lot of reports in Washington that you would be willing to add more planes to Israel, that is, past 1983, increase the actual number of planes committed to Israel to sweeten the pot on that arms package. Is that correct?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, you know, what happens after 1983, into 1984 and '85, is not addressed in this proposal. I don't intend to change any part of the package of proposals that we put forward. We have emphasized the fact that the Congress can address them individually, and I think the Congress will be responsible. But I don't intend to change the proposals that we put forward.

Q. But, as you say, this package doesn't address things past 1983. You wouldn't be averse, would you, to some commitment beyond then that is not part of this package?

THE PRESIDENT. I think any modification in our proposal to the Congress that we have sent up would be a mistake.


Q. We had a poll out in Los Angeles yesterday that said about 45 percent of the people think Governor Brown is running for President. Did you get any idea whether he is going to or not?

THE PRESIDENT. No. Jerry Brown and I have a very good, friendly relationship. We've never had any disputes between us. We've consulted very closely on all major issues that affect California or, sometimes, the Nation as a whole.

When I ran for President, he was very helpful, very supportive. I think he's doing an excellent job as Governor. He's one of the few Governors, perhaps the only one so far as I can remember, who, when he's been to Washington, has spent the night with us in the White House. And I enjoy very much being with him, and there's never been any sort of difference between us. I think, as he said on many occasions, his primary concern now is to be elected to another term as Governor, and what happens later on in decisions made by either me or him is still highly conjectural. And I'm sure that he and I both are committed to keeping it that way for a while.

Q. So you still have not definitely decided to run for reelection?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not.

Note: The exchange began at 7:50 a.m. outside the residence of Paul and Janet Olson, where the President had spent the night.

Jimmy Carter, Portland, Oregon Informal Exchange With Reporters Upon Departure From the Olson Residence. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/245676

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives