Jimmy Carter's "clear-the-decks" desk in the White House Oval Room is pictured in the principal new photograph in the just issued 13th edition of "The White House. An Historic Guide."

The desk has a reproduction of the Harry Truman "The Buck Stops Here" plaque: the motto "O, God, thy Sea is so great and my boat is so small" on a plaque given the President by his mentor. Adm. hyman Rickover, and a glass donkey by Hans Godo Frabel, a gift by the Georgia Democratic Party.

The only other objects on the desk are a nondescript in-basket, a white telephone and a pad of paper. Behind the desk is a model of the sailing ship "The Rattlesnake," captured by the British in 1781. The model is lent by the Naval Museum. Carter's desk is the one made from the H.M.S. Resolute given Rutherford Hayes by Queen Victoria.

Susan Clough, the President's secretary, says his painting of Rosalynn and Amy Carter hangs in his private office near a photograph of Mrs. Carter. No family pictures are in the ceremonial office, unlike the Ford decor.

The White House Historial Assn. has printed 25,000 copies of this edition, according to Hillary Tolson, executive director. That's 100,000 more than usual, but justified, the association thought, since Mrs. Carter's letter in the front of the book presumably will appropriate for the next 3 1/2 years.