Jimmy Carter photo

Sapelo Island, Georgia Informal Exchanges With Reporters.

April 15, 1979

THE PRESIDENT. Good morning everybody. Happy Easter.

Q. Thank you. Tell us about your vacation.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I'd rather talk about the vacation than the fishing. [Laughter] We've had a good vacation so far.

Q. What about the fishing? Have you caught anything?

THE PRESIDENT. We caught a few.

Q. Numbers? Size?

THE PRESIDENT. No numbers and sizes. [Laughter]

Q. Are you going to name a Middle East negotiator like Scranton to take over for Atherton?

THE PRESIDENT. Not any time soon.

I think they're ready to start. I hope you all can hear the singing and all. It's really good.

REPORTER. Thank you.

[The exchange began at approximately 11 a.m. as the President was entering the First African Baptist Church for Easter services. Following the services, at approximately 1:15 p.m., the President spoke with reporters as follows.]

Q. Perfect day, isn't it?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it is.

Q. The sun is beautiful.

Q. Mr. President, have you been driving all week? I thought it had been a long time since you'd driven a car.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I drive when I go down to the farm in Plains.

Q. So you don't forget how.

THE PRESIDENT. No, I think they gave me a sacrificial jeep. So far I haven't sacrificed it. [Laughter]

Q. Is this your first time driving a jeep?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, when I hunt quail at home, on my farm, I drive a jeep some.

Q. Have you seen any alligators or snakes?

THE PRESIDENT. A couple of alligators. Q. Any deer?

Q. Did you stop?

THE PRESIDENT. The boat that we used to fish, when they turned it over yesterday, it had a big rattlesnake under it. I've only seen one snake myself. . That's all.

Well, we've seen a lot of deer, and just saw two turkeys on the way over here to the church. A lot of wild turkey on this island, and also a lot of deer, a few alligators.

Q. Mr. President, anything you'd like to say to the American people on Easter?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I think you might quote what I said—you know, it's just a wonderful place to be on Easter, you know, see the sunrise and know what Christ's life meant and to be with other Christians.

Q. Are you coming back next year?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I'd like to. Somebody suggested I move down here. [Laughter]

We used to come down here before I was Governor and stay with Fred Marlin, Dr. Marlin, that they had stand up. We used to kind of camp in his house, he and his wife and, I think, two children. When I was Governor, I came back.

It's a beautiful island. I've been to almost all the Georgia islands.

Q. What have you been doing since you got to Sapelo Island? We haven't gotten much information about that.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I always jog every day. I've read four or five books. Every morning I have a good bit of paperwork to do, the daily briefing from the State Department, from Secretary Vance, and the daily briefing on intelligence. That comes in early every morning. And I get a memorandum from the National Security Council as well, almost every day. And then documents to sign, appointments of people to positions in government. And we've had several emergency declarations to complete in the areas where the tornadoes have done damage.

Q. Are you worried about the Rhodesian situation?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I've been keeping up with it, both through the news media and also through the daily briefings we get.

Q. Anything to say about the spy plane in South Africa?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I think not. I don't want to make any international news. [Laughter]

Q. You're going to enhance the tourist trade, but they can't come here, can they? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. No. I hope you all have a chance to drive around and take a look at the island.

Q. They won't let us. You won't let us. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Right. Right.

Q. You nod, huh?


Q. How do you like your house that you're staying in?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, it's beautiful.

Q. Is it as elaborate as it once was?

THE PRESIDENT. I guess so.

Q. What were the books, sir, that you said you read?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I have no comment. [Laughter] There's an extensive library in the mansion there, I guess a couple thousand books. I read one of a, kind of a collection of Hemingway's stories, "Death in the Afternoon."

Jimmy Carter, Sapelo Island, Georgia Informal Exchanges With Reporters. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/249911

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