U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young carried the Carter administration's human-rights campaign to this Caribbean dictatorship today, warning the Haitian government about Washington's concern over repression of "voices of dissent."
Although Young said repeatedly that the United States has no intention of telling Haiti what to do or of interfering in its internal affairs, he bluntly made it clear that an improvement in the human-rights situation here will directly affect the aid and cooperation Haiti recieves from Washington.
"When people understand the way the winds are blowing and if they want to go with those winds, they trim their sails accordingly," Young said.
Young's statement came before he met with President Jean-Claude Duvalier and other Haitian officials.
U.S. sources could not say what action Washington might take if it finds no improvement in the human-rights situation here. U.S. financial assistance to Haiti is about $41 million including Food for Peace, but it is all earmarked for projects that help the poor despite the nature of the government. In his remarks, Young reiterated his frequently stated point that the U.S. human-rights effort also involves "that most basic of all rights - the right to survive."
Young's public message to Duvalier's government, delivered at a press conference, came as a surprise. Although it was no secret that Young intended to raise the human-rights issue during the Haitian stop on his 10-nation Caribbean tour, he was expected to do so in behind-the-scenes talks with Duvalier and officials of his government.
U.S. sources said, however, that Young changed his mind last night after encountering what he considered a recalcitrant attitude on the part of Haitian officials. Among the factors affecting his decision, the sources said, was an attempt by the Haitians to bar one of the reporters accompanying Young and Haitian efforts to isolate the press from most of the official events on Young's schedule here.
Young's visit to Haiti, a Maryland-size country of 5 million people, is the most sensitive of his Caribbean trip. Haiti is the poorest country of Latin America, with a literarcy rate of only 10 per cent and an annual per-capita income of $130.
It also has a long tradition of repressive dictatorship that reached heights of world-wide notoriety during the long rule of the current president's father, Francois Duvailer, who died in 1971.
Under Jean-Claude Duvalier, 26, much of the repression, which formerly included wholesale murder and torture, has been eased substantially. But the country remains very much at dictatorship where dissent is still met with imprisonment, exile and other pressures.
[Associated Press quoted the general secretary of the Interior Department, Jacques Andre, as saying Duvalier is "trying to do something for human rights" and "is doing his best to change the image of what was here before."]
Before Young came here, he was besieged with appeals from Haitian exiles in the United States to cancel this stop. He was also provided with detailed lists from Amnesty International and other organizations naming scores of people allegedly imprisoned by the Duvalier government for political reasons.
In his press conference, Young tackled the situation head-on by referring to "the imprisonment of voices of dissent, the denying of access of families and the denial of the most fundamental due process."
He began with a long, largely extemporaneous statement of which the first words were, "I have come to share the concerns of the American people," his words, he added, were "a judgment not so much on you and your country but on ourselves."
From there, Young sketched a brief history of civil rights in the United States and how "It took us almost 200 years to learn some basic truths about the meaning of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Turning to the world scene, he said: "In our pursuit of wealth and power, we took for granted basic human rights, and I think we neglected them at our peril. We found that the government of which we were so proud was responsible for propping up many military dictatorships and some of the more corrupt governments in the world."
"The American people found that their tax dollars, which they had worked very hard to earn, were going abroad only to make the rich richer and essentially not contributing anything to help the poorest of the poor. We found our military assistance going to create military dictatorships that denied those citizens under their rule the simplest elements of due process and that engaged in savage practices of torture."
With the election of President Carter, Young asserted, "The American people said 'No more' - that now we would use the resources at our command to help the poor, to bring freedom in the world and to extend the kind of human rights around the world that we have come to feel are the very essence of our society - the basis of our success and our aspirations for the future.
"I have come here to share that message with the government and people of Haiti," he said, adding that the Carter administration has no intention of interfering in Haiti's internal affairs or, through clandestine activities, going against the policies of the government, whatever they may be."
He warned, however, that Treating people with brutality does not do anything to further the development of society. In fact, it only contributes to its downfall.
"I hope we would have the support of the Haitian government and Haitian people as we would attempt to make this world a more civilized place," he concluded.
It was announced at the United Nations that Young will make another trip to Africa, his third since becoming U.N. ambassador, next week. He will attend the World Conference for Action Against Apartheid in Lagos, Nigeria, the U.S. mission said.
Secretary of State Cyrus Vance an-travel to southern Africa with British Foreign Secretary David Owen at the end of this month to seek support for a proposed Rhodesian settlement.
Terence Todman, U.S. assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs, met Monday with Argentine President Jorge Videla. The two men were expected to discuss the Carter administration's human-rights policy as well as economic and trade issues.
Allegations of human-rights violations in Argentina, where the military government has banned political activities, led the U.S. Congress to slash military aid to that country in February. Argentina then rejected the remaining $15 million in military aid.
[Todman met informally Sunday with opposition political figures and labor leaders. The U.S. official flew to Argentina from Chile, and was scheduled to visit Uruguay and Paraguay before returning home.]