Jimmy Carter photo

United States Representative to the United Nations Remarks at the Swearing In of Andrew J. Young.

January 30, 1977

I can see that I may have made the wrong choice. Andy is the first Cabinet level officer who has gotten more applause than the President. [Laughter] But I'm not surprised, nor disappointed. I think that is an indication that all of you recognize, along with me, the superb qualities that come to major government service with Andrew Young. Andy has heard me say this many times, and I have never said it about anyone else--of all the people I have ever known in public service, Andy Young is the best.

He exemplifies to me a very rare combination of inner strength and quiet self-assurance, deep religious faith, superb personal courage, sensitivity to other people's needs who are not so influential or well known or powerful as he is, an ability to work with others, a way to assess a complicated question and divulge his accurate but sensitive and simple analysis to other people, an ability to work with his own peer group. That is really a combination that is rare.

I think all of you know Andrew Young's background. Some of you in the audience were there with him where he saw what was wrong with our Nation and knew what was right and had the courage to suffer personally--and in many instances in a subordinate position, with Martin Luther King and others--and change the consciousness, I think, not only of our own country but the whole world. And he did this in a way that made us all proud of him.

He did not want or ask for this job. I wanted Andy to be the Ambassador of our country to the United Nations for a long time. And it was only with the greatest reluctance on his part that he finally agreed to do it for me and for our country. But his reluctance was not an unwillingness to serve the United States. It was a belief, because of humility, that he wasn't quite ready for it. He said that when he was quite a young man that he wanted to be the Ambassador to the United Nations because of the unique contribution that could be made there. But he thought that the time might be 4 years or 8 years in the future. So, our Nation's gain is Georgia's loss. And Andrew Young has agreed to occupy this very important position.

Yesterday morning, in the privacy of my own little office adjacent to the Oval Office, Andrew Young and Cyrus Vance and Zbigniew Brzezinski and I spent 2 full hours talking about the most difficult and challenging international questions that face our country. And on a basis of equality of exchange, and so forth, we tried to evolve what our Nation ought to do. And it was a reassuring thing to have Andrew Young there. And I am very grateful this afternoon that he is willing to serve. I look forward to greater things from him in the future.

I hope to measure up as President to the standards that he sets as Ambassador to the United Nations. His status will be equal to that of the Secretary of State or the Secretary of the Treasury or anyone else. And his closeness to me personally will ensure that there is never a division of sense of purpose or a need for action between him, as he deals with almost 150 other nations' leaders in New York and around the world, and I and Cyrus Vance, who is here, as we deal from Washington with those same countries on a different leadership basis. So that compatibility will greatly magnify his own good influence.

I am thankful that Thurgood Marshall has agreed to come this afternoon, at the invitation of Andrew Young and myself, to give the oath of office to our next Ambassador to the United Nations. So, I'd like to turn the program over to Justice Thurgood Marshall. And after the oath of office is administered, with Jean holding the Bible, then Andy will say a few words at my request.

I present to you now Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Note: The President spoke at 2: 05 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. Supreme Court Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall administered the oath of office.

In his remarks, the President referred to Ambassador Young's wife, Jean.

Jimmy Carter, United States Representative to the United Nations Remarks at the Swearing In of Andrew J. Young. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243236

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives