U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, after a meeting with President Carter, gave no indication yesterday of changing his outspoken ways and declared that Carter "didn't tell me to shut up."
Amid new controversy about his views on racism, Young defended statements he has made and accused reporters of "trying to invent somebody that's not me" by quoting him out of context.
The latest wrangle originated with an interview in Playboy magazine, released for publication last weekend, in which Young described former President Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford as "racists" in the sense that "they had no understanding of the problems of colored peoples anywhere."
In answer to a question by an indignant Republican member of the House International Relations Committee, Young acknowledged that his widening definition of racism - "a kind of insensitivity to the problems of race" - would also apply to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. All three press associations - the Associated Press, United Press International and Reuter - shortly moved stories saying Young had described Kennedy and Johnson as "racists."
Chatting with reporters following the House hearing, Young said "the way I use the term, racism applies to almost everybody."
"Even Abraham Lincoln?" asked a journalist.
"Especially Abraham Lincoln," Young replied quickly. Then he added, "There I go again; I gave you another headline."
A Louis Harris survey released yesterday, based on interviews before publication of the Playboy interview, reported that those responding agreed by more than 2 to 1 that Young has "made too many statements that offend other countries and should learn to keep some of his thoughts to himself." A majority of those responding also agreed that Young still acts more like a black civil rights leader than a U.N. ambassador.
Calling at the White House to see Carter on behalf of the B-1 bomber, Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) told reporters that Young should never have been given the diplomatic post. "I've known a lot of men to get one foot in their mouth. He [Young] can get both feet, both hands and his hat in his mouth at the same time," said the GOP senator.
Rep. Tennsyon Guyer (R-Ohio) told Young at the House hearing that "I've never seen so many people running around like a blind dog in a meathouse since you became U.N. ambassador." And Rep. William F. Goodling (R-Pa.) cautioned Young that "a congressman has to count to 10 before putting his mouth and brain into gear. An ambassador ought to count to 100."
"I am what I am," said Young. "I can't change that."
At another point he said, "I'd much rather be fired for doing what I think is right and help the country a little than be a successful retired ambassador who never did anything."
Asked by a lawmaker how people can know whether his comments represent his own views or Carter administration policy, Young replied: "When they repudiate me you know [it isn't policy"].
Outside the White House following a half-hour meeting with Carter - scheduled at Young's request to discuss his recent trip to Africa - the ambassador said he had not been rebuked and had not offered to resign. Young said Carter "appreciates the job I'm doing, that I was assigned to do" and that Carter "understands" his views on racism.
Young said he wanted to tell the American people and the press that "I'm not depending on my friendship or anything like that to keep a job. [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] that any time I'm not doing a job in the interest of the national I don't have any doubt that he [Carter] wouldn't hesitate to ask for my resignation."
Almost lost in the hubbub was Young's report on his eight nation trip and his views on Africa policy. He said the Carter administration has undertaken "a serious assessment" of U.S. relations with South Africa and that it is "preparing for various kinds of contengencies" in case the drive for a negotiated settlement in Rhodesia suddenly collapses.