A Rhodesian Cabinet minister likened him to Ugandan President Idi Amin - both "clowns." Another minister described him as "a threat tohwhite people throughout the world." And when queried today, a prominent government official said he could sum up Rhodesia's reaction to U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young in one word: "yuck."
Among the white Rhodesian population, there is probably no other personality in the Western world so mistrusted, disliked or generally feared as the controversial ambassador. Young symbolizes for white Rhodesians what they believe is the recent loss of the U.S. government as a possible ally in seeking to end 12 years of isolation and to defend Rhodesia against a perceived Soviet threat.
Many whites here even hold the former U.S. civil-rights leader personally responsible for what they see as a complete reversal in the U.S. approach toward th settlement of Rhodesia's constitutional crisis.
A year ago, white Rhodesians regarded American involvement with enthusiam, feeling that the "leader of the free world" would surrely favor him as "a threat to while people guaranteed rights for all. The original peace plan by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger appeared to promise that the 270,000 whites would not be overwhelmed by Rhodesa's 6 million blacks.
They see the current, third set of Anglo-American proposals as an attempt by the U.S. government to "stuff a Marxist government down our throats by demanding immediate one-man, one-vote," a white farmer commented.
The white backlash has grown to the point the many whites are openly hostile to Young's visiting Rhodesia next week during the latest round of shuttle diplomacy by an Anglo-American team headed by British Foreign Secretary David Owen. A Ministry of Information spokesman confirmed tonight that Owen is expected in Salisbury Sept. 1, although he would make no statement about the arrival of Young.
Part of the prejudice against Young may simply be because he is black and holds so much responsibility in formulating U.S policy on southern Africa. Few whites here believe that Young can resist a natural bias for his "black brothers."
In the opinion of white Rhodesians, Young has committed two specific sins: comparing the Rhodesian situation with that of the American South, and endangering the slim possibilities of peace with undiplomatic remarks.
Rhodesians have argued for years that there is no similarity between racial tension in the United States and Rhodesia because "Negroes and Africans are not the same."
"When will Jimmy Carter and Andy Young wake up and realize that our Africans art mostly still primitives, illiterate and dependent?" asked a middle-aged white store manager. "If they were like your blacks, then maybe we would consider giving them more. But until they are educated and understand what government is about we can't give them any powers."
Even more aggravating to whites here are Young's reported remarks. The Rhodesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published two background briefing papers over the past seven months entitled the "sayings of Andrew Young," including as Young's "bull-in-a-China-shop rhetoric":
The actions of Ian Smith and Ugandan life President Idi Amin are remarkably similar - both are minority tribesmen violating the rights of the majority," from a statement Feb. 24.
Mr. Smith is the kind of person who, while he can't win, can take a lot of people down with him, and the United States has to unsure that Mr. Smith goes down by himself," also from late February.
"Not exactly the kind of thing you like to hear from a man who is supposedly acting as a neutral negotiator," a government source remarked today.
Young's remarks have elicited regular public blasts from Rhodesian officials. Rowan Cronje, minister of manpower and social affairs, said recently: "I will be forgiven if one considers classifying Mr. Andrew Young in the same category as Idi Amin. They both would have been so tragic. Their utterances would have been funny were they not so dangerous, pathetic or their effect so serious."
Another Cabinet minister, Roger Hawkins of combined military operations, charged in late May: "Mr. Young's uncontrolled hate of a white skin permeates every statement he makes regarding southern Africa. America's use of Mr. Young as an official spokesman is a threat to white people throughout the world as black power surgery can only result in a terminal prognosis for the white man."
Officials here generally appear to believe that Young's presence here next week will endanger a delicate situation. "We have to let him come, but he certainly won't be welcomed with open arms."