President Carter plans to make a televised speech to the nation on energy, probably on Thursday, White House officials said yesterday.
Deputy press secretary Rex Granum confirmed that the President will make such a speech "fairly won," and other sources said the the address was being planned for Thursday night during prime time.
The sources said that in its early drafts the speech was largely a renewed appeal for energy conservation and did not dwell on the ongoing battle in Congress over the administration's national energy legislation.
His speech will be a formal address to the nation from the Oval Office, not a second so alled "fireside chat," an official said.
"it is not a chatty subject," one official said.
It is possible Carter will announce whether he is going to postpone his scheduled 11-day trip to nine countries later this month and remain in Washington to lobby for his energy plan.
However, White HOuse officials said that was not the purpose of the speech and they discouraged speculation that a decision on the trip will be made in time for inclusion in the address.
The President is scheduled to leave Nov. 22 on hops-cotching journey to South America, Africa, Asia dn Europe, returning to the United States Dec. 3. But Carter has said repeatedly in recent days that he will postpone the trip if the energy legislation is not enacted by Nov. 22, a deadline that now appears almost certain to be missed.
White House officials stressed yesterday that the President is serious about his announced intention to postpone or even cancel the trip if need be to work toward passage of the energy package.
The Senate passed energy legislation on Monday, but it is vastly different from the House-passed version of the package, which is much closer to what the administration proposed last April. The differences must now be worked out by a House Senate conference committee in what is expected to be a protracted process.
Administration officials yesterday also denied a report that Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance is unhappy with the ambitious scope of the president's planned trio and believes the journey will be "a waste of time." One White House official said there is no interanl disagreement on the scope of the trip, only question s about its timing because of the energy legislation.
Vance's spokesman, Hodding Carter H. said the secretary considers the trip to be "useful, worthwhile and timely."
Both Carter's planned energy speech and the trip were discussed last night at the White House when the President hosted a dinner for the congressional leadership.
In another development yesterday, the President signed a $6.7 billion foreign aid bill that bars assistance to certain countries said to be violating human rights.