From the founding of this republic, questions of propriety have been raised about actions of presidents, Cabinet officers, and members of Congress. It is an important part of our tradition that the people know the truth as quickly as possible, and that all the facts be disclosed.
The Watergate tragedy intensified public scrutiny of the president. As the first president elected since Watergate, it has been my policy to be open with the public and to cooperate fully with the Justice Department and all other investigative bodies.
My own personal and business affairs and those of members of my staff have been intensely examined. Despite the inconvenience and expense, the investigation of every charge has served the public's right to know and has enhanced public confidence in the integrity of our government.
Questions have now been raised concerning my actions an those of my administration regarding the relationship between my brother Billy Carter and the government of Libya.
We have made as thorough an inestigation as possible. The facts are available for the committees of Congress and the public to examine. They will show that neither I nor any member of my administration has violated any law or committed any impropriety. U.S. POLICY TOWARD LIBYA
A. There are few governments in the world with which we have more sharp and frequent policy differences than Libya. Libya has steadfastly opposed our efforts to reach and carry out the Camp David accords. We have strongly differing attitudes toward the Plo [Palestine Liberation Organization] and the support of terrorism. Within OPEC, Libya has promoted sharply higher prices and the interruption of oil shipments to the United States and other Western nations.
B. On the other hand, Libya illustrates the principle that our relationships with other nations can never be cast in absolute terms. Libya is a major oil supplier, and its high-quality crude oil is important to the mix of our East Coast refineries. Libya has publicly and privately opposed Iran's seizure of our hostages and for a time joined other Moslem states in opposing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
C. Our policies and actions toward Libya have therefore mixed firmness with caution. Although we maintain mutual diplomatic recognition, we do not now exchange ambassadors. We firmly oppose Libya's military adventurism and any terrorist activities. At the same time, and while staying firm on these principles, we recognize the mutual advantages of existing trade relationships. BILLY CARTER'S RELATIONS WITH LIBYA
A. Like members of other presidents' families, Billy Carter has thrust into the public limelight when I was elected. As all of you know by now, he is a colorful personality. Media attention made him an instant celebrity. He was asked to make a number of television and speaking appearances, and he put his name on a new brand of beer.
B. In the summer of 1978, Billy was invited to visit Libya and he agreed to go there with a group of businessmen and state officials from Georgia. This trip occurred late in September 1978. I was not aware that he was planning the trip until shortly before his arrival. At the request of my staff, the State Department instructed our embassy in Libya to alert the visitors to the sensitive nature of U.S.-Libyan relations.
Shortly after Billy returned from Libya in October 1978, I saw a copy of a cable from our embassy in Tripoli reporting on the positive effect of his trip. I was relieved to hear this. I wrote a personal note on the cable and asked my secretary to send it to Billy. Two other cables from our embassy in Tripoli commenting on Billy's trip were in my files. All three cables were furnished by the State Department to a nationally syndicated columnist in May 1979 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. All of these cables had been originally transmitted in plain text and were not encoded.
C. A Libyan trade mission subsequently came to the United States early in 1979. Billy visited with the Libyans and made a number of controversial statements. Since so many policies and actions of the Libyan government are widely disapproved by our own government and the majority of our people, Billy's remarks received wide attention and were roundly criticized by the American press and public. I publicly deplored some of the comments myself.
D. As a result of Billy's remarks and new association with the Libyans, his other activities were severely curtailed. Almost all of his scheduled television and other appearances were cancelled. Billy's sources of income from these public appearances disappeared while his financial obligations continued to mount.
E. So far as I know, Billy had no other significant source of income. Although he had been a minority partner and the manager of Carter's Warehouse, my majority interest had been turned over to a trustee when I became president, and by late 1977 the warehouses were being managed under the control of the trustee. Moreover, the business at the time was producing no cash income to be distributed to the partners.
F. I shared the general public concern about Billy's relationship with Libya. The members of our family were also concerned about some of his personal problems.
G. During this period Billy entered the hospital for medical treatment. In a telephone conversation while he was hospitalized, he discussed with me another possible trip to Libya and I advised against it, partly because of his health and because of the adverse effect it could have on our Middle East peace negotiations, in the light of Libya's open hostility to Egypt and Israel.
H. For some time I have made it a habit to dictate private notes, mostly about the issues that come before me as president but occasionally about personal matters as well. These records have been searched by my personal secretary, and I have attached to this report all of these notes, as they were originally dictated, that describe conversations with Billy about Libya and discussions with others about Billy's relations with Libya. I have also attached a copy of a letter I wrote to Billy while he was in the hospital, urging him to put off a second trip to Libya and giving my reasons.
I. By the summer of 1979, Billy had successflly completed his medical treatment, and despite my advice to the contrary, he made his second trip to Libya in September. Before Billy left, my national security adviser, Dr. [Zbigniew] Brzezinski, wrote a memorandum to the secretary of state to advise him that any such trip would be entirely private, with no official purpose or connection whatever, and the department treated it accordingly.
J. While I was aware of Billy's highly publicized participation in the visit of the Libyan delegation to Georgia, his two trips to Libya and his public statements about Libya, I am not aware of any effort by Billy to affect this government's specific policies or actions concerning Libya. I am certain that he made no such effort with me. The only occasion on which Billy was involved to my knowledge in any matter between Libya and the United States was his participation with my approval, in our efforts to seek Libyan help for the return of our hostages from Iran.
B. During the third week in November, my wife and I were at Camp David. As Rosalynn recalls, it occurried to her that Billy might be able to get Libyan help to induce the Iranians to release the American hostages. She recalls that she called him and that he agreed the Libyans might help. She informed me of this conversation, and on Nov. 20, I asked Dr. Brzezinski to explore this idea further with Billy. As described more fully in the attached statement of Dr. Brzezenski, he called Billy and asked him to arrange a meeting between Dr. Brzezenski and Ali Houderi, chief of the Peoples Bureau of Libya in Washington.
C. Later that day Billy came to Washington, spoke with Dr. Brzezinski, and arranged a meeting with Mr. Houderi for November 27. That same day, I flew by helicopter to Washington for a meeting with the National Security Council on the hostage situation. Before returning to Camp David, I spoke briefly with Billy and learned that he was in the process of arranging the meeting.
As Dr. Brzezinski's statement notes, although there had been some private indications of Libyan support, the public statements coming out of Libya were not supportive and indicated that our diplomatic efforts to secure their assistance had not yet been successful. On Nov. 22, two days after the meeting for Nov. 27 was arranged, the Libyan Foreign Secretariat issued a formal public statement saying that "in our vivew, the hostages should be released."
D. The meeting Billy arranged was held on Nov. 27 and is described in Dr. Brzezinski's statement. I did not attend it.
So far as I am aware, Billy played no further role in these discussions with the Libyans. I took no part myself, except when I summoned Mr. Houderi to my office on Dec. 6, shortly after our embassy in Tripoli had been attacked by a Libyan mob. The principal purpose of this meeting was to underscore the official protest which the United States had made about the attack on the embassy and to insist that American citizens in Libya be protected. During the meeting I also thanked the Libyans for their help with the hostages.
In addition to Dr. Brzezinski's statement, I have attached to this report all the items from my notes describing my conversations with Dr. Brzezinski, Billy Carter and Mr. Houderi about the matter.
E. At that time, my major preoccupation was the release of the hostages, and I was ready to try any channel that could help us reach this goal. The Moslem community places great importance on family ties, and I believed that a request arranged with Billy's participation would be regarded as coming more dirctly from the president and might supplement the efforts already being made through normal State Department channels. I recognized there was a risk of criticism in asking Billy to help, but I decided to take the risk.
F. As matters turned out, the leader of Libya did make the direct private appeal to Ayatollah Khomeini that we requested. And in this respect the approach to the Libyans was successful. Whether it would have been successful if Billy had not participated is a question on one can answer with certainty. I made this decision in good faith, with the best interest of the hostages and this nation in mind. Billy merely responded to our request for assistance and I believe his only motive in this effort was to seek release of the hostages. BILLY'S ALLEGED GOVERNMENT CONTACTS ON BEHALF OF LIBYA
A. I can state categorically that my brother Billy has had no influence on my decisions or on any U.S. government policy or action concerning Libya. I can also state that Billy has never asked me to take any step that would affect any of these actions or policies. So far as my counsel have been able to determine, Billy has not made any such effort with others in my administration.
B. There have been press reports that Billy may have tried, to affect U.S. policy on licensing aircraft to Libya. If so, the effort did not succeed. So far as we have been able to determine, no such effort was made. My counsel's report covering this and other subjects is attached.
C. In March 1980, Dr. Brzenzinski noted an intelligence report that Billy Carter was representing an American oil company in seeking an increased allocation of Libyan oil, and he telephoned Billy to advise him that he should not engage in any such activity that could embarrass me and the country. Dr. Brzezenski subsequently informed me, and I told him he had been right to caution, Billy. Dr. Brzezinski's attached statement provides further particulars about this occurrence. The department of justice investigation under the foreign agents REGISTRATION ACT
A. The president has the constitutional responsibility for executing the laws. That responsibility includes the enforcement of the laws. Enforcement responsibility is delegated by law and directives to the attorney general, subject to the same supervision the president exercises over other Cabinet Officers.
The president's power of supervision was abused in the Watergate scandal, as none of us can ever forget. When I took office, I instructed Attorney General Griffin Bell that in this administration, neither I nor the White House staff would attempt to influence or supervise Department of Justice investigations concerning charges of law violations. In accordance with my instructions, the department has full prosecutorial discretion. When possible conflict of interest issues do arise -- as in the case of a member of the president's official or personal family -- we take an extra precaution. To avoid inadvertent actions or statements by the president which might jeopardize the proper administration of justice, the Department of Justice may, in its discretion, inform the White House that a particular investigation is under way. If the department needs information from the White House, we supply it. But no department information about the conduct of any such investigation may be disclosed to me or the White House staff.
This policy is still in effect and was followed strictly in the present case. When the department commenced its investigation as to whether Billy Carter was in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act for failing to register and disclose his relationships with Libya, the department did not inform me, presumably because the investigation was fully and currently publicized in the press. From the time the investigation began until the registration statement and consent judgement were filed on July 14, there was no contact in either direction between the Department of Justice and the White House concerning the conduct of the investigation, except for the routine investigative inquiries described in my counsel's report.
B. On July 22, the White House issued a public statement to this effect. The statement -- that there had been no contact concerning the conduct of the investigation -- had been previously checked and approved by me and Attorney General (Benjamin) Civiletti. Subsequently, my secretary, Susan Clough, completed typing some of the daily notes that I had dictated during June and July. She then reviewed all of my notes dictated after March 1, 1978, and extracted those with references to Billy and Libya. She then delivered these notes to me and I completed reviewing them during the early evening of July 24. In them I found a reference to a brief June 17 conversation with Attorney General Civiletti which I had not remembered. The text of this note is attached. It was clear to me that this conversation should be made public as an amplification of the July 22 statement. I immediately telephone Lloyd Cutler, my counsel, who had previously known about this conversation, and informed him. I asked him to read all the extracted notes the next morning and to discuss this particular note with the attorney general. The attorney general promptly disclosed the conversation the following morning. His account of the conversation corresponded closely with my contemporary notes.
C. The attorney general did not inform me of any details as to the conduct of the investigation. What he told me about the department's insistence that Billy file a registration statement and the department's standard enforcement policy was essentially the same as what the department's lawyers were saying to Billy's lawyers, as Mr. Culter's attached statement shows.
D. As more fully described in Mr. Cutler's statement, he had informed me that on his advice, Billy had retained qualified Washington counsel on June 11 to represent him before the department. One June 26, when I returned to the United States from my trip to the Venice summit, Mr. Culter sent me a memorandum describing his understanding from Billy's lawyers that they hoped to resolve the matter by the filing of a registration statement under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
E. After reading his memorandum I called Billy on June 28 to encourage him to cooperate with his lawyers. He said that his counsel were in negotiations with the department but that he personally did not think that he needed to file a registration statement. On July 1, I received a further note from Mr. Cutler informing me that according to Billy's counsel, the department was setting an early deadline for Billy to decide whether he would agree to file a registration statement. The note suggested that if I thought it would be useful I should call Billy to urge him to accede to the department's request and the advice of his lawyers and make a full disclosure. I did call Billy that day and urged him to file a registration statement and make a full disclosure of his relationship. My notes of these conversations are attached. I have had no conversations with Billy about the Department of Justice proceeding since that time.
F. On Friday, July 11, I was on Sapelo Island off the coast of Georgia. During the afternoon, I received a call from Mr. Culter about the status of Billy's case, which is correctly reported in his statement.
I had no knowledge of the two large payments or loans of money from Libya to my brother Billy Carter until July 15, 1980, the day after the court documents were filed and when this information was widely publicized in the news media. On the same morning, while still on Sapelo Island, I read a copy of the court documents which had been sent to me by Mr. Culter.
G. As far as we have been able to determine after diligent inquiry, no one in the White House had any information about the payments or about any evidence in the possession of the Department of Justice relating to such payments until Billy Carter's lawyers informed Mr. Culter of them on July 11, when the court papers were about to be filed. No one in the White House furnished information about the investigation to Billy or anyone associated with him at any time.
H.Finally, there is one othe rumor I want to lay to rest. No payments or transfers of this money have been made to me. My trustees assure me that no such payments or transfers have been made to Carter's Warehouse or to the trust. My trustees and I will see to it that no direct or indirect benefit will flow to me in the future. 1. To summarize:
Billy has had no influence or effect on my decisions or on an U.S. government policy or actions concerning Libya.
Neither I nor anyone in the White House knew any details about the conduct of the investigation under the Foreign Agents Registration Act or tried to influence or affect the Deparment 's actions or decisions.
Neither I nor anyone else in the White House informed Billy of any leads or evidence obtained by the Department.
Everything that I and the White House Staff did with respect to this case was designed to serve the interests of law enforcement and justice. THE FUTURE
Our political history is full of stories about presidential relatives whom othe people tried to use in order to gain favor with incument administrations. In most such cases the appearance of favoritism has been much worse than the reality. My brother Billy's case is one of many such examples.
To keep this problem from recurring, I have asked my counsel to draft a rule that will bar any employe of the executive branch from dealing with any member of the president's family under circumstances that create either the reality or the appearance of improper favor or influence.
I am deeply concerned that Billy has received funds from Libya and that he may be under obligation to Libya. These facts will govern my relationships with Billy so long as I am president. Billy has had no influence on U.S. policies or actions concerning Libya in the past and he will have no influence in the future .