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Winston-Salem, North Carolina Informal Question-and-Answer Session With Reporters.

March 17, 1978

THE PRESIDENT. I've just got a few minutes, and I thought I'd take a few questions from the local press.


REPORTER. Mr. President, there has been a vacancy here on the circuit court of appeals for more than 10 months. I understand your nominating committee gave you five recommendations sometime in the fall. Have you made your decision? And if not, when will you?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know yet. That's something that I have not yet discussed in final form with the Attorney General. In all the circuit court appointments, however, in every place in the United States now, we have merit selection committees set up. And they give me the five names of the people that in their judgment—these are very distinguished people, as you know—would make the best circuit court judge. And from that list I will choose one of the nominees.

I've not yet had a chance to discuss this with the Attorney General. Before I can make a selection, we have to go through a long, detailed analysis of the person's financial background, have an FBI check, compare the candidates. It will not 'be delayed, but I can't give you an answer yet.


Q. Mr. President, now that it is apparent that the Taft-Hartley Act isn't working, what are your options?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, the Taft-Hartley Act is working. There's nothing in the Taft-Hartley Act that compels an individual miner to go into a mine and produce coal. But we have seen a rapid increase in coal production in recent days. We have no interruptions now with the nonunion miners producing coal. They were interrupted before.

We have an increase every day in the number of union miners who are going back into the mines. There's been no disruption recently, since the Taft-Hartley injunction, in the transfer of coal from one place to another when it is needed. And we are continuing to produce a substantial amount of coal additionally each day.

So, although the miners have not yet gone back to work, the Taft-Hartley Act is working. It's also brought to the bargaining table, without Federal mediators, which is good, the representatives of the operators and the miners. And they'd now worked out a third contract, which we hope will be accepted. So the Taft-Hartley Act is working.


Q. Mr. President, you talked inside about maintaining a nuclear balance with the Soviet Union, and you talked a little bit about the SALT II negotiations going on. How does the Soviet demand that we stop production of neutron bombs fit into your wanting to maintain a balance?

THE PRESIDENT. The neutron bomb is not a strategic weapon; it's a tactical weapon. And it will not change at all the relative balance of strategic nuclear power.

The Soviets have used the neutron bomb issue primarily as a propaganda item. They are producing new weapons, like the SS-20, for instance, which has many, many more times the destructive power than any neutron bomb that's even being contemplated and does indeed disturb the balance of tactical forces between Eastern and Western Europe.

So, the neutron bomb issue has nothing to do with SALT and does not change the nuclear balance at all.


Q. You spoke favorably of North Carolina as a tobacco-producing State. Does this mean you're calling Joseph Califano off the anti-smoking campaign?

THE PRESIDENT. No. Joe Califano has a responsibility, as the Secretary of HEW, to protect and enhance the health of American people. His responsibilities, as you know, are extremely broad. He is heading up a major effort, for instance, to reduce the adverse effect of drugs. Some drugs are very beneficial; some are very detrimental. I think we have a $275 million budget for the control of the adverse effects of drugs on the American health.

Alcohol is another major threat to American health. It's beneficial in some instances. It's well used—and legal—by many millions of Americans. We have a $175 million budget to reduce the adverse effects of alcohol.

Tobacco, in some instances, is damaging to our Nation's health, particularly among very young children and those who have respiratory diseases. We have only a $30 million budget on tobacco in HEW. This is all that Joe Califano asked for, and I think that's what he'll get. Two-thirds of that budget goes for research. And I don't think anyone who lives in Winston-Salem or North Carolina or Georgia or other States that produce tobacco would say that the research program in recent years has not been beneficial. So this is a well-balanced program.

I might say that it has nothing to do at all with the maintenance of the standard of living or the income or protection of the 600,000 American families who produce tobacco. Tobacco is Georgia's number one export item, and we ship most of our tobacco up to places like Winston-Salem to be produced into smoking products and other uses of tobacco.

So, I would say that there's a well-balanced campaign to protect the health of our Nation, which is Joe Califano's direct responsibility, on the one hand, and to preserve the health and stability of the tobacco industry, which is under Bob Bergland, Secretary of Agriculture, and myself.

I don't think there needs to be any concern about that, and nobody need fear the facts about tobacco use. Certainly, no one need fear the emphasis on research that will make the use of tobacco in the future even more safe than it has been in the past.


Q. Will the White House get involved with the Wilmington 10 case, intervene at all?

THE PRESIDENT, Not as far as I know. This is a State case, as you know. The only circumstances under which the Federal Government would get involved would be through the court system, if there was an appeal made to the Federal courts.


Q. Will you get involved in the desegregation issue?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, the desegregation issue applies to many Southern States—at the university level, I presume you mean.

Q. Yes.

THE PRESIDENT. When I became President and brought in my Cabinet, we were faced with a lawsuit—I think the man's name is Judge Pratt, in Washington-that required me and the Secretary of HEW to bring about a resolution of a dispute in the university system of some Southern States concerning the percentage of black students who go to school in white university component portions, and also vice versa. We've already reached agreement with Oklahoma, with Georgia, and with Arkansas, South Carolina, Florida. We are now working in the last stages of the resolution of the question with Virginia. This leaves North Carolina.

And Bill Friday and Governor Hunt and Bob Morgan and others, Steve,1 have been to see me about this. We are trying to negotiate in good faith with the North Carolina university officials. And we have to comply with the Federal court orders, and we have to ensure that there are no remnants of discrimination against black people.

1 Dr. William C. Friday, president, Sixteen Consolidated Universities of North Carolina, and Senator Robert Morgan and Representative Stephen L. Neal, both of North Carolina.

I think this is a commitment that I share with North Carolina people. How to go about resolving the differences in the court is something that is being negotiated in good faith.

When I came in from the airport this morning with your Governor, Jim Hunt, he expressed his conviction to me that this issue would be resolved very soon in the future. There's no incompatibility there. It's a lingering thing that has been going on in the courts for many years, and we hope to have it cleared up within the next few weeks.

Q. Do you think you'll grant an extension on the Monday deadline?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know anything about the legal aspects of it. I couldn't answer that.

Q. Califano's deadline is for Monday, though.

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question. I don't know the answer.

Q. One more question. Have you discussed the subject with Secretary Califano since your meeting with Governor Hunt and Senator Morgan 2 weeks ago?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, we had a discussion about this Monday morning at the Cabinet meeting.

REPORTER. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much. I wish I could stay longer, but I've got to go out and see how airplanes work on carriers.

Note: The question-and-answer session began at 9:50 a.m. outside Wait Chapel at Wake Forest University.

Jimmy Carter, Winston-Salem, North Carolina Informal Question-and-Answer Session With Reporters. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/245003

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