Visit of King Hussein I of Jordan Remarks to Reporters Following King Hussein's Departure
THE PRESIDENT. How do you like the weather?
REPORTER. It's a beautiful day.
THE PRESIDENT. If it stays this pretty long enough, I might change my mind and run for reelection. [Laughter] I am beginning to like it around here.
Q. How did it go, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT. Just fine. It was one of the most productive and enjoyable visits we have had.
Q. Mr. President, could you clarify a point? On the participation of the Palestinians and the possible participation in a Jordanian delegation, do you mean PLO representatives or Palestinians who are not part of the PLO?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, it's too early to start spelling out specifics about that. The one thing I might add, on which all the leaders seem to agree, is that the more agreement that we can reach before going to Geneva, the less argument there is going to be about the form of the Palestinian representation.
And I think unless we see some strong possibility for substantial achievements before a Geneva conference can be convened, unless we see that prospect, then I think it would be better not to have the Geneva conference at all.
So far, though, I have been encouraged. I think it would be a mistake to expect too much. The differences are very wide and long-standing and deep. But I found a strong desire among all the leaders with whom I met so far to marshal extraordinary efforts during this year because of the moderate leadership that exists in the Middle East and because of the experiences that have been so devastating in the past. So, we are all determined to do the best we can in '77.
I think that the exact composition of the delegations, involving the Palestinians, of course, and the interrelationships that exist among the Arab nations--whether part of the discussions would be done as a group and part of them on a bilateral basis, those kinds of things have to be worked out.
After I've finished meeting all the leaders in May, a strong likelihood is that we would consolidate our own analysis of the remaining problems and possible answers to questions, and then Secretary Vance would go back to the Middle East for another complete round of talks with the leaders involved.
Those are our present plans, and so far the leaders in the Middle East have agreed with that.
Q. May I follow that up, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT. I think that is probably about all I need to say.
Q. But you do seem more pessimistic than before Hussein came.
THE PRESIDENT. No, I am not more pessimistic. I think it would just be a mistake for us to be overly optimistic. To raise expectations too high would be--I think would be potentially very damaging. I think after May, though, we'll have a much clearer concept of what can be done.
Q. Did you learn anything new from Hussein?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I did. He is a very good instructor, and I am a very eager student.
Note: The President spoke at 11:40 a.m. on the South Grounds of the White House.
The transcript of the President's remarks was made available by the White House Press Office. It was not issued in the form of a White House press release.
Jimmy Carter, Visit of King Hussein I of Jordan Remarks to Reporters Following King Hussein's Departure Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243666