WHEN A GOOD MAN VISITED GERMANY
by Patrick Killough [01-01-199
It is fitting from time to time to salute prominent men who love God and in their finest moments seem to radiate Christ.
James E. C. Carter, Jr.
James Earl Carter, Jr. (Jimmy Carter) was graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and became subsequently a submariner, a farmer, a county school board chairman, a Georgia State Senator and Georgiaís 76th Governor. From January 20, 1977 to January 20, 1981 Carter was 39th President of the United States.
His Presidential accomplishments include
the Panama Canal treaties, the
President Carter's path and my Foreign
Service career crossed in
First came a bilateral America-Germany state visit. Next was a working Economic Summit of the Group of Seven (G7). The G7 principals were heads of state or government. Represented were Canada, West Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Also attending were the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission.
I recently described visits to Foreign Service posts by Congressional Delegations ("CODELs"). Congressional visits, however, are nothing compared with overseas travel by a sitting President. Carterís entourage at the 1978 Economic Summit, including the Secret Service and American media, occupied six entire hotels in and near Bonn. Ambassador Walter Stoessel and his wife moved out of their residence on the Rhine and turned it over to President and Mrs. Carter and their daughter Amy.
The Embassy had created two task forces
for the President's visit. I served
Little Amy Carter
Amy Carter became an object of popular concern. German psychiatrists wrote columns and preachers orated about Amy. Why were father and mother Carter doing this to their little girl? Could the dear child stand up to the pressure? Amy added to her legend during the Carters' official visit to the Mayor's office in downtown Bonn. Invited to sign "the Golden Book" of the City of Bonn, Amy added a cartoon of Mickey Mouse. A misunderstood translation from German at a Presidential press conference changed "How big an allowance do you give Amy?" to "How big a government subsidy does Amy receive?" A flustered Jimmy Carter labored to clarify that Amy's pocket money came from Jimmy and Rosalynn, not from the Treasury.
My role as assistant control officer for
the state visit to the Federal
Two days later I was the Embassy's control officer for the G7 working dinner at Schloss Gymnich, an elegant hunting lodge some miles from Bonn. The G7 leaders, all male, dined informally in a chamber no bigger than many an Asheville living room. A day earlier, at Secret Service insistence, I had wormed the menu out of the German caterer. As the dinner broke up I entered the room. I noticed that Mr. Carter called the other leaders by their first names: Valerie, Jim, etc. In reply, however, they all called him Mr. President.
Mr. Carter asked U.K. Prime Minister James Callaghan,
"Jim, where are you staying?"
The Spirit of Jimmy Carter
Over the intervening 20 years I have caught occsional glimpses of Jimmy Carter. I have seen a well balanced man always true to himself. There is a warm Carter spirit, a refusal to take himself too seriously. This is the modest man about whom cartoonists had a field day after a rabbit was photographed swimming toward his rowboat, allegedly in attack mode.
On his Presidential watch the news was
not all good. Inflation soared. The
In retirement Mr. Carter created the Carter
Center in Atlanta. Its 200
Above all, Jimmy Carter has been a notably good human being, morally worthy of his high positions of trust. No father and mother worried when their young daughter worked in his Governor's office or his White House. His word was and is his bond. Jimmy Carter promised the American people, "I will never lie to you." I believe that he never did.
for Asheville TRIBUNE