Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Along with his plans to restructure government, Jimmy Carter is going to restructure some ceremonial aspects of White House life, among them the care and feeding of state visitors.
He is already on record as saying he does not want "to waste my time or theirs" when heads of state or other foreign dignitaries arrive here for meetings with him. "There will not be the same number of people greeting them or the same number of trumpets sounding . . ." he told his Cabinet this week.
Wednesday, Rosalynn Carter's press secretary indicated that that Carters also intend to maintian an element of surprise in the stat dinners they give, the first of which is scheduled Monday for Mexico's President and Mrs. Lopez Portillo.
There will be no advance announcements of dinner plans or annagements for the evening's entertainment, according to Mary Hoyt.
"Maybe we'll do it a different way the second time. We're not trying to be precious about it, but we think a party is more fun if it's a surprise, if the guests don't know what to anticipate."
The Carters have seen a film of a state dinner, and Mrs. Carter has read what Hoyt called "a basic nuts and bolts" primer on state visits prepared by the State Department.
The "likes and interests" of the visitors will play a major part in determining arrangements, and each dinner will be planned to fit the honor guests.
"It isn't as if these things are written in stone," said Hoyt. "It's more an instinctive thing."
White House Social Secretary Gretchen Poston said some "patterns" of a state visit remain constant, dictated by protocol. Others will be determined by the honor guests, including how to seat everybody at dinner.
She said she is anxious that the numbers of guests be "workable," both from the standpoint of their compfort and that of staff efficiency.
"There are all kinds of shapes of tables that can be used," she said. "I've looked into the capacities of them all."