President Carter will make a two-day visit to the South later this month, the White House later this month, the White House announced yesterday.
Presidential press secretary Jody Powell said Carter will address the Southern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Government July 21 in Charleston, S.C.
"While in the Deep South the President will visit other Southern states on the 21st and 22nd," said Powell, but he declined to name them.
The visit, like trips to other regions of the country that Carter has made in the last several months, "is an attempt to avoid becoming isolated in the White House," Powell added.
The Council of State Governments is an umbrella research organization for several state associations, including the National Governors Conference, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and associations of state attorneys general, chief justices lieutenant governors, and budget officers.
C. Raymond Marvin, Washington director of the council, said about 200, leaders of 15 state legislatures are expected to attend the week-long Southern Legislative Conference, which begins next Monday.
States represented will be Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi West Virgini, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Maryland.
Patrick Caddell, Carter's political pollster, said the President "is just making the circuit." He noted that in the last two months Carter has visited New York and California. Asked if Carter were in political trouble in the South. Caddell replied, "No, he's very strong in the South."
Powell also announced that Carter "is encourgaed at prospects of working out an arms control agreement with the Soviet Union that would cover the Indian Ocean.
Carter conferred yesterday with Paul C. Warnke, director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency who headed the U.S. delegation that met with the Soviets in Moscow June 22 through 27 on the Indian Ocean arms issue.
Powell said the Next U.S. Soviet meeting on the subject is tentatively scheduled for September.
"I don't think it's correct to say an agreement is in the immediate offing," he added.
Another administration source said that "arrangement" might be a better word than "agreement." The discussions may result in a "formal agreement or a common understanding," this source said. "Both sides may agree not to do certain things."
Carter has often said demilitarizing the Indian Ocean is his ultimate goal. More recently, however, he has been stressing the more modest initial objective of "first freezing the present circumstances."
The United States has been expanding its military base on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, and the Soviets have been using Somalian port facilities at Berbera. Officials have acknowledged that the only subject both sides are discussing now is a limitation on existing U.S.-Soviet military activities in the region.
On the question of reorganizing the White House staff, Powell said Carter will announce a decision "around the 15th of this month."
Asked if there is any thought that Bert Lance, director of the Office of Management and Budget might resign because of financial problems, Powell said, "absolutely not."*