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Swearing-ln Ceremony - Remarks at the Swearing In of the Under Secretary of Commerce, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, the Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, and a Member of the Securities and Exchange Commission

April 21, 1977

THE PRESIDENT. This is another occasion which brings to me a great sense of responsibility and pleasure, both for myself as President and also for our country.

One of the most difficult assignments that a newly elected President can have is to choose people who are willing to serve with him in leading our country, particularly in those very difficult positions where conflicts of interest come into play and where sound judgment and absolute integrity are mandatory.

This afternoon we have a swearing-in ceremony for four people who have been selected after a long and tedious screening process. I can assure you they are the best ones available for the jobs in the entire country. It's a credit to them, and their service will be a credit to our country.

I'd like to introduce to you, first of all, Sidney Harman, who's come here as a very successful entrepreneur himself. He started out as a small businessman, but his business grew very rapidly. I think he now, in Harman Industries, has about several thousand employees. But he's had an innovative approach to management and employee relationships. He even established, I understand, a newspaper that he and his company financed for employees to criticize management. Is that correct, Sidney?

MR. HARMAN. Yes, it is.

THE PRESIDENT. He is going to need that tough skin in his new job as Under Secretary of Commerce.

I particularly want to mention his mother. Mrs. Harman has come here today to be with her son and with me. And I hope the group will welcome her. She happens to be 95 years old. And I think she exemplifies--is that correct?

MR. HARMAN. Just correct. Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. That's right. I thought that was wrong for a minute.

But we're so glad that you could come. She looks so young and so vigorous, and she reminds me a lot of my mother. And this confidence that she has in her son is well placed.

We also have with us this afternoon a very good and a very close friend of mine. Vernon Weaver and I happen to have been classmates at the U.S. Naval Academy. We didn't know each other very well then, but we've come to know each other well since then. He's a man from Arkansas who will head up the Small Business Administration.

He brings to that very sensitive and important job experience and background which will stand him in good stead as he helps newcomers to the business world to establish their own place in their new endeavors. And I think he also brings a sensitivity to their needs that will stand him in good stead.

When I began my own business, I couldn't expand because of my ignorance and lack of financial resources. I went to the Small Business Administration and got a loan to expand my peanut shelling operation, to put in a cotton gin, and to build an office and to put in some scales. It was my biggest adventure, in an independent way, of my life until that time.

I not only got a loan but I got a continuation in subsequent years of mature counsel, because volunteer retired business leaders would come down to Plains and consult with me on how best to manage my own affairs.

Vernon started in his own professional career, which has been very successful, as a small businessman--I think making Venetian blinds in Miami. Is that correct, Vernon? And we welcome him to our administration, in the Small Business Administration itself.

Another appointment that I make this afternoon with a great deal of pride is to the Federal Trade Commission. This is ostensibly or by reputation the battleground between the business community on one side and consumers on the other. But the man that I've chosen to serve as a member is one that's been almost unanimously supported by both the business community and consumers.

Mike Pertschuk comes to us as a distinguished member of the Senate staff. He has a background that's broad and, I think, has demonstrated his sound judgment and his own integrity. And I'm very grateful that he has been willing to come and serve with us.

And, of course, we also have coming to serve on the Securities and Exchange Commission, Harold Williams, who has a background as an educator and also as a businessman. I doubt that there is any other appointment that can be made by a President where personal reputation and deep knowledge of both the theory and practical aspects of our own national economy is more in demand than membership on the Securities and Exchange Commission, because there you must have confidence, above all. And I'm deeply grateful that you are willing to serve with us as well.

So you can see, I believe that this group is one which meets demanding standards. And I believe that their appointment, along with the good members who already serve in these capacities, will add a great deal to the trust that Government can justify among the people of our country who look to us with confidence.

Justice Brennan has agreed to come and administer the oath. And it's with a great deal of pride, Mr. Justice, that I ask you now to swear in for full-time Government service, these remarkable examples of success in their own field and a dedication to an even greater career in public service in the months to come.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 2 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. Following his remarks, Supreme Court Associate Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., administered the oath of office.

Jimmy Carter, Swearing-ln Ceremony - Remarks at the Swearing In of the Under Secretary of Commerce, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, the Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, and a Member of the Securities and Exchange Commission Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243484

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