Following are excerpts from President Carter's comments on some of the issues raised at yesterday's press conference: Jobs
There is no easy answer, of course, to the unemployment question Last December the unemployment rate was. I think, 8.1 per cent. It came down in April or May to about 7 per cent and it has leveled off at that figure. We had an economic stimulus package with a heavy emphasis on jobs and tax reductions, amounting to about $21 billion, which is now beginning to be felt, I hope.
Last quarter about $3 billion of that program was in effect. By the end of this quarter $18 billion will be in effect. And in the first quarter of next year the full amount. We believe that this will have a beneficial impact on unemployment rates, but it certainly won't solve the problem. We will by next June. for instance, have 725.000 jobs under the Comprehensive Education and Training program. This is the highest level of jobs of this category supported directly by the federal government since the New Deal days under Roosevelt.
But it is a tedious, slow process. I think the general worldwide economic slowdown is causing this problem to be felt in all nations. We hope, though, that it will come down next year as it began to come down this year. . .
We expect to have an announcement about the administration's position on (the) Humphrey-Hawkins (full employment bill) within the next few days. There are some important aspects of this bill that have been modified recently. One is to inject into the bill's concepts a strong antiinflation commitment in addition to the antiunemployment commitment. Also, from the bill have been removed the direct authorizations for programs that have been very costly. They would have to be considered step-by-step by the Congress as required.
Another thing that has been added to the recent version of the bill is some flexibility to accommodate changing times in the future. My belief is that these specific modifications by the aubtors of the bill and their staffs, working with my staff, can be realized. And my expectation is that we will have a successful examination of these negotiations and that the bill will be presented to the Congress with my endorsement. Helms Case
Mr. President, Mr. Helms' attorney says that his client will wear his conviction on charges of failing to testify fully before Congress as a badge of honor. Do you think it is a badge of honor and do you think a public official has the right to lie in public about his business under any circumstances?
No, it is not a badge of honor and a public official does not have a right to lie.
The Helms case is one that we inherited. I have never met Mr. Helms. I don't believe the Attroney General has even met Mr. Helms.
This is a serious problem that evolved in years past. We had three major facets of this question.One is to uphold the law. The second one was to uphold the veracity requirement, the truthfulness requirement of those who testify before Congress. And the third one was to make the best judgment we could on how to protect the security of our nation.
I think the decision that was made by the Attorney General, confirmed by the courts was the right decision and the best decision. It does ful-fill all three of those requirements. It does not condone lying. It does uphold the law. And I think it did protect, as best we could, the security of our country. Middle East
The new outburst of violence is a great concern to us and I think the nations of the Middle East and to all people of the world. The unwarranted and continuing terrorist attacks have been part of the Middle East picture for years. The retaliatory measures taken by nations who were attacked by terrorists has been a part of the picture in the Middle East for years. I think it shows the volatile nature there of the continuing problems.
I think it shows in a much vivid way than perhaps in the past, recent past, the need for an immediate convening of the Geneva Conference as soon as we can to get these national leaders to sit down or their representatives to sit down on a continuing basis and work out face-to-face these divisions that have existed in the Middle East for generatons.
Loss of life is deplorable. But the situation is never going to be improved, in my opinion, until those natons there are willing to step beyond the procedural debates and squabbles about exactly how to go and exactly what representation will be present and start dealing with the real issues. I have been please that the Israeli government has adopted the procedures for the Geneva Conference that we have proposed. I was please with the statement yesterday by President Sadat that he was willing to go to Geneva or anywhere else and begin to consult directly with Israel and with the other Arab nations without quibbling anymore about the detailed wording of the procedures. That is our position.
I hope that Jordan and Syria and Lebanon very quickly will make a similar response to us, and that we can then convene the Geneva Conference. But the major all-encompassing question in the Middle East is that the bloodshed, in my opinion, will not be stopped until the nations are willing to negotiate on the basic division that have separated them so long. . .
[I] think the overriding considerationis not to condemn Israel at this point for retaliation, but just to say that if the provocations were absent that the retaliation would have been unnecessary and the best way to resolve it is for Lebanon, Syria and Israel relating to that region of the Mideast, for Jordan and Egypt and Israel to start direct negotiations. The whole thing is just sitting and teetering on another outbreak of even more major violence and I think that at this time, a condemnation of people is probably inappropriate, but an urgefor all nations now to stop this present recent outbreak and to move toward major consultations is the only answerI can give. Abortion Aid
My stand on federal financing of abortions has not changed. But obviously I deplore any sickness or loss of life. I deplore unwanted pregnancies and we are trying to take other means to make sure that abortions are not necessary. But I am not in favor, as I have said before, of federal financing for abortions. Energy
Energy waste threatens our country's economy, Jobs, inflation. Energy waste threatens our nation's own security, makes us overly dependent on foreign imports which might be interrupted at any time. I think that the best thing I can do the rest of this year is to work closely with the Congress, individually with members of the Congress, with the conferees who are now engaged in very productive work. And I canceled the trip reluctantly, but with the additional realization that our relationship with the countries that I would have visited will be much better in the future if the United States takes this belated action to provide a workable energy policy.
The Congress is making, I think, good progress. There are five major elements of the energy package,five separate bills that will com to my desk eventually. They have almost completed work on two of them. The others are highly controversial. Perhaps the most wide disparity between the House and Senate is on taxation itself. They are dealing with one that is of crucial importance to consumers and that is electric rate structures, to eliminate the great advantage that has been going, in the past, to those that waste electricity.