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Remarks Announcing the Nomination of G. William Miller To Be Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

December 28, 1977

THE PRESIDENT. Good afternoon, everybody.

I'm very proud to announce that G. William Miller will be my nominee as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

For the last 8 years, through two terms as Chairman, Dr. Arthur Burns has done an outstanding job of directing the Federal Reserve System. He has symbolized the integrity of our monetary system and the independence of the Federal Reserve. He has defended the strength of the dollar at home and abroad. In this and in every other public position which he has held, he has served the people of our country well and has earned our respect and our gratitude. And I am very thankful that he has also become my close, personal friend.

There are few positions more demanding than the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve, and few appointments that any President makes that have a greater influence on our country. Apart from the President himself, no one else plays a larger part in determining our Nation's economic policy.

I believe that an independent Federal Reserve must be led by a person of strong character, broad experience, and firsthand knowledge of how to cope effectively with our Nation's economic problems. That is why Dr. Burns has served his two terms so well and that is also why I have now chosen Bill Miller to be the new Chairman.

Extensive consultations with a wide range of business and financial leaders have convinced me that Bill Miller enjoys the highest respect and the confidence of everyone who knows him. His record as a businessman has won him a position of leadership in the American business community. In 1960, at the age of 35, he became president of Textron, Inc., and later became chief executive officer and chairman of the board. He is also chairman of the Conference Board, which represents top American business leadership as a business and an economic research group. Bill Miller has extensive experience and knowledge in international business and finance. He's familiar with the workings of the Federal Reserve System, having served under Dr. Burns as a Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston for 7 years.

I'm particularly impressed that his success as a businessman has not kept him from consistent public service. As chairman of the National Alliance of Businessmen, he has helped to find new ways to harness the resources of the business community to meet some of our most pressing public problems, especially the need to create new jobs. It was because I recognized the importance of this appointment that I consulted widely before making it and because I value the continuity of Federal monetary and economic policy.

I have been very gratified to hear Dr. Arthur Burns express his confidence in Bill Miller.

Bill, thank you very much for being willing to serve. I'd now like to introduce to you and to the Nation G. William Miller, who will be the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

MR. MILLER. Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, Chairman Burns:

It is an important time in our economic situation in the United States, and it came, I suppose, as somewhat of a surprise to me that the President asked me to take on this new role. I recognize that Dr. Burns has served long and wisely, is universally admired and respected, and that he has made an indelible contribution to the monetary system and to the defense of the dollar, to the fight against inflation, and to the stability of our economic system. Yet, we continue to face the problems, the twin problems, of inflation and high unemployment. We need to continue the policies of Dr. Burns and those of the President, to assure that we have full employment with price stability and that we do again have a sound dollar that is the cornerstone of the world monetary system.

I cannot profess to have the qualifications to step into Dr. Burns' shoes, but I do, Mr. President, assure you that all of the energy, drive, capacity that I have will be devoted to continuing the work that has been done and continuing the programs so that over time we can overcome both inflation and unemployment and return this Nation to a period of economic growth and stability.
Thank you very much.


CHAIRMAN BURNS. Mr. President, Mr. and Mrs. Miller, Mr. Vice President:

I think this is a good day. The President informed me of his decision today, and I didn't have to think. I've known Mr. Miller for many years, and I responded at once, "Mr. President, you have chosen wisely and well." And I meant every word literally. I spoke from the bottom of my heart.

Now, Mr. Miller will bring to his Federal Reserve responsibilities not only great energy, not only exceptional knowledge of the business world; he also brings to it the knowledge of the Federal Reserve System. And what is most important of all, he brings to his tasks moral integrity, a fine character, and these are the most important attributes for that high position.

I think, Mr. President, you are to be congratulated on your choice, and I am confident that Mr. Miller will serve this country and will serve it well. You have my very best wishes and my respect.

MR. MILLER. Thank you very much, Dr. Bums.

THE PRESIDENT. We would have time for two or three questions if anyone has any.

REPORTER. Will Dr. Burns stay on the Federal Reserve as a member?

THE PRESIDENT. I would be very pleased if he would, but that's a decision that he would have to make.

Dr. Burns, I don't know if you want to respond or not.

CHAIRMAN BURNS. The good Doctor is in the habit of thinking now and then. He'll think this one over carefully. [Laughter]

Q. May I ask Mr. Miller a question?


Q. Mr. Miller, you've kind of a balance between unemployment and inflation-how to fine-tune it, if you can. Is it your view that perhaps we need to work more on unemployment than we have been, that perhaps the Fed needs to sort of tilt a little bit more?

MR. MILLER. I think we need to work on both at once. It's very interesting that in the Public Agenda Foundation research done in 1976, there was a widespread opinion that one or the other had to be given priority, but the public at large felt that both could be worked on simultaneously, and I happen to share that view. And I think that working in harmony with the fiscal policies of the President, the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve, I think we can tackle both at once and achieve what we really need--full employment with price stability.

Q. If I may follow that up, can you tighten every discount rate? For instance, you are acting on the money supply, and it has an impact which isn't balanced, isn't six of one and half a dozen of the other.

MR. MILLER. I think we will move from here in the context of the economy as it develops over the next year, and I'm sure that we can find ways in which we can tackle both issues simultaneously, and we certainly shall try.

Q. [Inaudible]

MR. MILLER. Well, I think we'll have to let Dr. Burns, who's Chairman now, decide that. And when I'm Chairman, perhaps, I'll have a say.

Q. Sir, how will your policies differ from Dr. Burns'?

MR. MILLER. My policies will be one of seven Board of Governors, and I hope that I will play a leadership role in continuing the policies that Dr. Burns has stood for so well and so long, and that as the economy goes through its natural evolution and develops in its natural ways, that we can continue to be creative and innovative and responsive to the needs in the way in which they exist during the coming years.

I think the past is prologue. We must learn from the past and we must extrapolate from that and always seek to improve and to be creative.

Q. Mr. Miller, now one more question. Do you feel that the American Government should do more to bolster the dollar on the foreign market?

MR. MILLER. I think we should bring about conditions where the dollar is stronger, and that, of course depends upon fundamental economics and it depends upon our balance of payments and it depends upon the strength of our domestic economy.

If we bring about the normal progress that we were speaking about a moment ago, I think we will again see a strong and favorable dollar and this would, I think, be favorable to our Nation.

Q. Can we ask the President one more question? Dr. Burns has the confidence of the business community to such a great extent that there is a lot of speculation about if he wasn't reappointed there'd be a loss of business confidence. Do you think Mr. Miller has the same reputation, widely, in the business community, or do you think there's a problem there?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't think there is a problem. I have consulted either directly or indirectly with dozens of leaders in the business and financial community, and there's been a unanimous and an overwhelming expression of confidence and approbation for Bill Millet' to be Chairman. Many of those leaders have also, of course, expressed their hope that the basic principles espoused by Chairman Burns would be continued.

I think the transition period will be a tithe for Bill Miller to learn and for Dr. Burns and others to teach, but I don't think there's any doubt that the leaders in the business community of our country will respond very well to the appointment of Bill Miller.

Thank you very much, everybody.

REPORTER. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 5:07 p.m. to reporters assembled in the Briefing Room at the White House.

The White House Press Office also released the following biographical information on Mr. Miller:

Mr. G. William Miller is chairman of Textron, Inc., a diversified company headquartered in Providence, R.I., with 180 plants and facilities in the United States and in several foreign countries. Textron employs 65,000 persons and had sales in 1976 of $2.6 billion.

Mr. Miller is a Director of the Federal Reserve Bauk of Boston and chairman of the Conference Board and chairman of the National Alliance of Businessmen.

Mr. Miller is a native of Oklahoma, born in Sapulpa in 1925, and was raised in the Southwest. He graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1945, serving as an officer in the Far Pacific and China.

In 1952 Mr. Miller received his J.D. degree from the University of California and practiced law in New York with the firm of Cravath. Swaine and Moore before joining Textron in 1956 as assistant secretary.

In June of 1960, at age 35, Mr. Miller was elected president of Textron, and in 1968 he assumed the additional post of chief executive officer. In 1974 he was elected chairman of the board.

Mr. Miller is a director of the Allied Chemical Corp., Con Rail, and Federated Department Stores. He is a member of the Business Council and the Business Roundtable. He is also Chairman of the President's Committee for HIRE (veterans employment).

He is cochairman of both the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Trade and Economic Council and the Polish-U.S. Economic Council. In 1977 Mr. Miller was Chairman of the U.S. Industrial Payroll Savings Bond Committee and has served as the first Chairman of the Industry Advisory Committee of the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity and as a member of the National Council on the Humanities.

Mr. Miller is married to the former Ariadna Rogajarski.

Jimmy Carter, Remarks Announcing the Nomination of G. William Miller To Be Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/242789

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