President Carter says he wants to "aggressively" challenge the Soviet Union, "in a peaceful way, of course," for influence in cricual areas of the world, including China, Cuba, Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia and Algeria.

He mentioned those specific countries to a group of magazine publishers in an interview released yesterday, saying, "I don't have any hesitancy about these matters."

The interview ranged over a number of subjects. Carter also said:

U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young recognizes that his calling the Swedes racists right after a "very successful" 17-day trip to Africa ". . . did detract from the effectiveness of his past and future service. But there is no incompatibility among us." When Young speaks ". . . for our country, he speaks with my full authority and my complete support."

The public needs to pressure Congress ". . . in a constructive fashion . . ." to counterbalance intense lobbying by special-interest groups to water down his energy program. "I have been deeply concerned and somewhat surprised at the extraordinary influence of the automobile companies and the oil companies in Washington." Congress may not pass an adequate energy program ". . . unless the American public can be aroused to help me . . ."

"I don't think it is time yet for me to consider castigating the members of Congress. I know the pressures under which they are functioning . . . But later on. I will go more and more public in my own expressions of concern and congratulations . . . I think the issue is in doubt."

In South Africa, "We are not trying to overthrow their government but we do feel that there ought to be some equality of hiring practices, equality of pay . . . promotion opportunities for black citizens . . . an end to the highly discriminatory pass system that exists . . . Just some demonstration of good faith on the part of the South African officials is what we would like to see."

On African policy, "There is actually no disparity of opinion or responsibility among myself, [Secretary of State] Cyrus Vance, the Vice President or Andy Young."

Carter said he and Young agreed at a meeting last week that there has been ". . . too much of a concentration of attention on his interest in Africa; that this needs to be spread more widely to the Caribbean . . . to the developing countries in South and Central America, to perhaps some of the Asian countries."

Carter said he has approved that change in emphasis.