STTwelve members of the Southern Governors' Conference were sailing through a list of noncontroversial resolutions yesterday when they suddenly foundered on a proposal by Tennessee Gov. Ray Blanton to nominate President Carter for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In the midst of the euphoria over the Camp David accords, the governors Monday passed a resolution commending Carter for his role in the Mideast negotiations, but several governors obviously believed Blanton, a Democrat, wanted to overdo a good thing.
"I strongly supported the resolution we passed on Monday," Republican Gov. John N. Dalton of Virginia said, "but I question whether we should go the full route suggested by Gov. Blanton.
Republican Gov. James B. Edwards of South Carolina sided with Dalton, causing Gov. Pierre S. duPont IV of Delaware, chairman of the resolutions committee, to warn that restrictive conference rules would require at least seven votes to carry the Blanton proposal.
Faced with the possibility that they might embarrass themselves and the President by defeating the Resolution, the governors wandered into a long parliamentary debate. "Are we going to go to war over peace?" asked Louisiana Gov. Edwin W. Edwards.
Edwin Edwards, who said he thought the Nobel nomination was premature, also referred good naturedly to Blanton, who is nearing the end of his term, as "our next ambassador to Egypt."
West Virginia Gov. John D. Rockefeller IV, a Democrat, called a recess to count the votes "to avoid embarrassing the President," but Puerto Rico Gov. Carlos Romero - Barcelo squelched that with the observation that a decision not to vote after the recess would supply the president with the embarrassment that Rockefeller wished to avoid.
Finally, the governors, recognized there was no turning back from the peace prize resolution and it was passed by unanimous vote.