President Carter, in an attempt to set the stage for what he has repeatedly promised will be a tough energy program, will go on national television again Monday to lay out the scope of the nation's energy problem.
Tre speech, from the White House Oval Office, will come two days before Carter outlines his energy program in a nationally televised address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night.
The White House did not officially announce the Monday night speech, but sources said the television networks have agreed to a White House request to broadcast it.
White House press secretary Jody Powell said there was "a strong argument" in favor of breaking the President's energy message into two parts, the first concentrating on the problem and the second on the administration's proposed solutions.
"One argument for presenting the problem separately is a feeling that the situation is worse than is generally recognized and that it is worth a separate statement," he said.
Another White House aide described the Monday speech as a "the sky is falling" message to the American people about the nation's energy future. Its basic purpose, the aide said, will be to convince a still skeptical public that the sacrifices Carter will call for in his message to Congress Wednesday are essential for the country's future.
Carter's energy message Monday will come in the midst of an extraordinarily heavy week of activity for the President in which several key adminstration policy decisions will be unveiled.
Today, Carter will address the Organization of American States at the Pan American Union to outline the new administration's policy toward Latin America. Powell said the speech will include several "departures" from past policies.
On Friday the President is to unveil his anti-inflation proposals at a press conference, the first of four, live appearances he will make on national television during a seven-day period.
This will be followed by the address from the Oval Office Monday, the speech to Congress Wednesday and another press conference next Thursday.
In the midst of this, the President will announce his decisions on the 30 water projects now targeted for extinction and face his first key test in Congress over economic policy - a Senate vote on the administration's $50 tax-rebate.
Yesterday, Carter and Vice-President Mondale met with the Rev. Joseph E. Lowrey, the acting president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Lowery and other SCLC officials told the President and Mondale that U.S. firms that do business with South Africa are damaging the administration's policy on human rights around the world.
Powell said Carter made no committments on the South African situation. Speaking of the human rights issue generally, the press secretary also said that the President reserves the right not to criticize other nations openly when "less public means" might be more appropriate and effective.
"We want to be in a position to pursue all of our options" in seeking to promote the cause of human rights, he said.