Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
A self-described Washington "insider" rolled out the welcome mat for the nation's governor Tuesday night, the second straight day he had done so at the White House.
The "insider" (who has been in Washington for little more than five weeks) was President Jimmy Carter, who with his wife, Rosalynn, was host at a black-tie dinner that climaxed the winter meeting of the National Governors Conference.
Carter used the exchange of toasts, at the end of a four-course dinner featuring roast duckling and orange sauce, to unveil a non-governmental nationwide program aimed at encouraging the exchange of private American citizens with citizens of foreign countries.
Describing a similar program between Georgians and Brazilians which he and Mrs. Carter supported when he was governor of Georgia, the President said, "We particularly want to keep to removed from government." He spoke of trying "a few trips the first year" but said that eventually it would be a "massive thing."
Hd said he would be turning to the State Department for advice. He invited his audience no only to participate but also to "contact Rosalynn," who apparently with assistance from a Georgian who was a former missionary in Brazil will coordinate the program.
However, a full-time staff will administer the program from headquarters in Atlanta.
The way Carter described it, he and Mrs. Carter were involved in an exchange of citizens with Brazil where they and their fellow Georgians flew aboard a chartered plane for about $200 per person. The plane unloaded the Georgians in Recife and 200 Brazilians immediately climbed aboard for the flight back to Georgia. Both groups stayed in private homes throughout the visits.
Known formally as the Friendship Force, the exchange is to be a nonprofit organization chartered in Georgia with the purpose of promoting peace in the world. Beginning July 4, an expected half dozen or more "friendship flights" between as many states and foreign countries are to be instituted, under Carter's plan.
Costs will be paid from fees charged participants. Regardless of the nation visited the average price per person is estimated to be between $300-$400 for a 10-day "experience."
According to the White House, by the end of 1978, most of the 50 states might be expected to have six or eight such flights each year, and by 1980, an average of one such flight from each state every month.
Fifty of the conference's 54 state and territorial governors accepted Tuesday night's dinner invitation. They were joined by Vice President Mondale, Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus, Agriculture Secretary Secretary Bob Bergland, Labor Secretary F. Ray Marshall, HEW Secretary Jo seph Califano and HUD Secretary Secretary Patrica Harris.
Carter's welcome to the governors was sprinkled with some now-familiar Carter humor. He told them that after he had ended his term as governor of Georgia he knew he didn't want to go back to the peanut farm. His press secretary, Jody Powell, suggested that they might start a newspaper in Plains, he said. But Carter said he pointed out that with a population of only 600 people nothing much was going on there, and one thing for sure, there would never be any tourists.
Continuing in this vein, Carter said he talked to Rosalynn about it and she suggested a hobby.So he went to Hamilton Jordan, now his special adviser, to discuss exactly what kind of a hobby, he said.
"He had a suggestion to make - and here I am," said Carter to an outburst of laughter and applause. During the brief period following the toast the guests adjourned for coffee. There Cornelia Wallace, wife of Gov. of Alabama George Wallace, who had flown there especially for the dinner was easily the most sought-after guest. At least by the press, that is.
Asked why she had not arrived earlier for the conference, Mrs. Wallace said, "Why because my son, Jim, had a book report due and he hadn't read the book yet. So I stayed to make sure he did that. He's reading 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' and he was only halfway through."
Mrs. Wallace said she was rankled over the recent press revelations of CIA payments to Jordan's King Hussein. "You got to have some friends. If you squeal on your own friends, you won't have friends any more. Look how much money we've given to India and could we count on them?"
Asked how her marriage was doing. Mrs. Wallace laughed. "Well, I still have one."
Also on hand was producer Mike Nichols, whose musical "Annie" began previews Tuesday night at the Kennedy Certer, provided the after-dinner entertainment.
Amy, the Carters' 9-year-old daughter who had attended her parents' first two White House dinners and read books during them, did not attend last night's event.
The Carters did not linger after the performance, but to the President's "night everybody" hastened upstairs. The governors got the message and followed suit. By 11 p.m. the Marine Band was packing up to go home.