Washington is used to heads of state visiting this capital, but the recent visit of the Shah of Iran was different in many respects.
It was the first time in anyone's memory that another country's ruler and the President of the United states cried at the same time.
It wasn't their intention to cry. According to high government sources both men were looking forward to seeing each other. But unfortunately the ceremonies held on the White House lawn were marred by anti-shah demenstrators who tried to charge the White House. Tear gas was thrown, but rather than hit the demonstrators, an unfriendly wind blew it toward the White House, and the gas settled on the host President, the guest of honor and everyone else applauding in the Rose Garden.
This was what is known in journalistic circles as a "photographic opportunity" and White House photographers, with visions of a Pulitzer prize picture in their heads, started to snap away.
The next day almost every newspaper in the country carried a picture on its front page of the President and the shah crying together.
The day after that, reporters had a contest to see who could come up with the best caption for the photograph.
One entry has Jimmy Carter saying, "Let it all hang out, Your Highness. Then you'll feel better when we talk!"
In another the shah said, "I just got the sign-printer's bill for my pro-shah demonstrators."
Another one had Jimmy Carter speaking, "Forgive me, Your Highness, I specifically gave orders that you were to get the 21-gun salute, and the dimonstrators were to get 21 cannisters of tear gas. Apparently my orders got mixed up"
Other entries included:
The shah saying. "And then what did Nixon say to David Frost?"
Jimmy Carter speaking. "I'm sorry but we don't servehard liquor in the White House."
The shah: "But if I can't buy the White House, what can I buy in Washington?"
President: "Perhaps, YourHighness, you're allergic to roses."
The shah: "You meanif I don't eat my grits I won't get any desert?"
Presideif I don't eat my grits I won't get any desert?"
President Carter: "Amy, how manytimes have I told you not to shoot your water pistol when you're in the tree house?"
theshah: "All right, if you won't give me any P-16 fighter planes, I'm going home."
The President: "But if you raisethe price of oil to $16 a barrel I'll have to raise my entire energy plan."
A reporter handed in his suggestion. The caption had the shah saying, "Don't tell me anymore about Bert Lance. I can't stand it."
Another entry suggested Jimmy Carter speaking, "And so Billy said, 'Ah don't want no more to do with the peanut business.' So now we have to put the Plains plant up for sale."
Still another had the shah saying, "You mean Dick Helms can't come to my dinner?"
President Carter thinking to himself: "Thank God this happened after the election. After what the press did the Sen. Muskie in New Hampshire I would never have won the nomination."
The shah to himself: "If he tthinks this is funny, wait until he comes to Iran.
President Carter to himself: The worst part of this is now every head of state who visits the White House is going to demand to be gassed."