The State Department officially took issue yesterday with U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young's contention that Cuban troops "bring a certain stability and order" to Angola.
But Young appeared imperturbable at his differences with official policy in an interview Tuesday, just before departing for his first official trip abroad. He defined his role in the Carter administration as "a kind of point man" taking positions on issues before formal policy is declared.
Whether the conflict between Young and his boss. Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, was real or apparent there were no reprimands or angry words but rather the promise of public differences in the future between U.N. headquarters in New York and the state Department briefing room.
Yesterday's State Department comments appeared to fall somewhere between a clarification and a reversal. They marked the latest example of revised pronouncements by Carter administration officials.
Speaking for the Secretary of State, spokesman Frederick Z. Brown said:
"Neither Ambassador Young nor the Secretary condones the presence of Cuban troops in Angola."
Young, in a CBS interview last week, had said that "there's sense in which the Cubans bring a certain stability and orger - to Angola, for instance . . ."
That statement cut right across former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger's insistence that a withdrawal of all organized Cuban troops in Angola is a prerequisite to normalizing U.S. relations with Cuba.
To Kissinger, the presence of Soviet-supported Cuban forces in Angola was a global symbol of Soviet "adventurism." State Department officials estimate that 10,000 to 15,000 Cuban troops are still in Angola, supporting Angola's Marxist-oriented regime which defeated Western-supported factions.
State Department spokesman Brown was asked yesterday if the new statement, which amplified Vance's milder efforts on Monday to disclaim the Young statement, represented "a retraction" of the Young remark.
Brown, determined to avoid any characterization, said: "I'm saying precisely what I mean to say on the subject, regardless of what Ambassador Young was quoted as saying several days ago."
Asked if Vance agrees with young that the Cuban forces in Angola are bluntly responded, "No." a force for "stability," however, Brown
State Department officials said afterward, in response to questions, that the "exact language" used yesterday on not condoning the Cuban troop presence had not been cleared with Young.
But it represented Young's "overall position," they maintained, as he expressed it in talks with several officials in the Department.
Nevertheless, the overall result clearly was an official knockdown of Young's original remarks on the subject.
In an interview at the United Nations just before he left New York to explore new U.S. policy on majority rule in southern Africa, Young said that he had consulted with Vance on Young's unusual concept.
Young said he told Vance that to preserve "the right to say what I really believe, I'd be willing to take whatever flak came and I'd be willing to be repudiated by him whenever it was officially necessary. I got no ego problems about that, whatsever."
In less than a week on the U.N. job, Young already had been repudiated three times by the State Department (twice by Vance personally), over statements on Vietnam, Rhodesia and the Cuban presence in Angola.
Last week the State Department shot down a Young statement advocating U.N. membership for Vietnam. On Monday, Vance said that Young's view that the white minority regime in Rhodesia will have to negotiate with black majority leaders if South Africa tells it to, is "not quite that simple."
Vance also said on Monday, when asked about Young's comment about the Cuban troops being a stabilizing factor in Angola, that "I think that the presence of any outside forces is not helpful to a peaceful solution."
Vance went on to say, "I think that this is a matter that should be settled by the Africans themselves."
"That's not a put-down," Young insisted in the interview. "Because everything I said there is gonna happen. I'd stake my life on those. You know its gonna happen on all of them."