President Carter received a correct but somewhat chilly reception here yesterday afternoon on the second stop of his four-nation Third World tour.
In welcoming speeches by Carter and Brazilian President Ernesto Geisel, the emphasis was on frankness and respect, qualities that the Brazilians feel have been lacking in their recent contacts with the United States.
Carter, who first traveled here years ago as governor of Georgia, called for a willingness by both countries to "recognize our own limitations, and to speak to each other frankly and with understanding."
The president recognized Brazil as a "truly great power" that has "earned the admiration of people everywhere in the world, but nowhere more so than in the United States."
In a brief welcoming statement, Gen. Geisel said he "will be very happy if this visit can contribute . . . [to] forming a fair opinion on the Brazilian reality."
The presidential entourage arrived here from Caracas, where Carter spoke before the Venezuelan National Congress yesterday morning in what White House aides said was a "major address." Carter said that only a partnership between industrialized countries and the developing nations of the Third World can create an international system "in which each individual and each nation has the hope of a better future."
President Carter declared that the United States "is eager to work with you to shape a more just international economic and political order."
But while Carter outlined several steps the United States has taken to aid Third World nations, he announced no major new programs or policy shifts. An administration official later conceded there was little new in the speech, which he described as "a packaging" of "politically feasible" steps to spur Third World economic development.
As such, Carter's words may have disappointed his audience, for they fell far short of the aspirations voiced by Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez.
Perez set the backdrop for Carter's speech with a 40-minute toast Tuesday night at a state dinner he hosted for the American party.
Perez, too, called for a partnership, but the brunt of his remarks concerned the obligations of the developed nations toward their poorer neighbors.
Bluntly warning that there can be no delay in finding solutions to problems "that offend human dignity and cause the suffering of millions of human beings," Perez said in his toast:
"The world economy will not be able to overcome the crisis, and will be even less able to achieve sustained growth if the countries of the Third World do not participate in growth." The Venezuelan president said there have been a number of important international agreements to aid the developing nations but that too often these have not been followed by action.
"We are living through a moral crisis, a crisis of ethical principles," he said. "Our statements and agreements go in one direction, our actions in another."
Specifically, Perez said that Carter's human rights policy has often been ignored by large corporations that "are ready and willing to invest capital in areas where human rights are denied." Speaking of the debt owed by the developing nations, he warned:
"If the developed countries do not face and solve the debt that burdens the Third World, there is no possible solution to the crisis we are going through."
There had been speculation in the Venezuelan press that Carter would announce a moratorium on repayment of the debts owed the United States by the poorest of the Third World countries. Instead, Carter confined his remarks about the debt problem to a brief mention that he supports pending legislation that would revise the terms of past American loans to some developing countries.
Carter also said the United States will increase its contributions to international development banks, but did not say by how much. He said he is proposing "a new U.S. foundation for technological collaboration," again without supplying specifics.
While the president said he has proposed a 28 percent increase in U.S. foreign, an administration official noted that relatively little of this will go to Latin America, since most of the nations are not considered among the Third World's "most needy."
Judging by Perez' remarks, countries such as Venezuela are more interested in obtaining American technology and selling their own products to the United States at what they consider fair prices than they are in direct aid.
"We must acknowledge this fact, that we share responsibility for solving our common problems," he said. The industrial nations must provide capital and reduced trade barriers, while the developing countries must "assume the obligations that accompany responsible participation in an evolving world economy," the president said.
"Real progress," he said, "will come through specific cooperative actions designed to meet specific needs not through symbolic statements made by the rich industrial nations to slave their consciences, nor by developing countries to recall past injustices."
Among the steps Carter called for was a reduction in trade barriers. He repeated his past support for creation of an international fund to stabilize commodity and raw materials prices, a major objective of the Third World.
In a speech devoted largely to the complexities of international economic development, the president spoke in personal terms only once, recalling the poverty of his native American south and what the development of electric power meant to him and his fellow southerners.
"Electricity freed us from the continuing burdens of pumping water, sawing wood and lighting fires in the cooking stove but it did even more, it gave us light by which to read and to study at night," he said. "It gave us power, not just to perform the old exhausing tasks, but power to make our own choices."
Describing the plight of people in the Third World nations as conditions that "offend the conscience of mankind," Carter said. "I can understand the unfulfilled yearning of other people in the developing nations to share these blessings of life" that are now commonplace in the United States.
En route to Brasilia from Caracas, an administration official told reporters that the only discussion of oil prices during the Carter-Perez talks was Perez' request for a more favorable pricing arrangement for Venezuelan crude and residual oil.
When Perez asked for U.S. help in reversing the decline in Venezuela's oil exploration, Carter replied that Venezuela would have to deal with private U.S. oil companies, the official said. Carter also cautioned Perez that "extremists" should cut back their rhetoric on the peace of north-south economic cooperation, the official said.
The administration spokesman said the two presidents also discussed the beleaguered government of Nicaragun President Anastasio Somoza, which both countries have charged is guilty of extensive human rights abuses. While Venezuelan political leaders have called for a total economic boycott of the Central American country to pressure Somoza into resignation, the official said the United States was "not willing to take actions which are going to set us in a position of bringing about the downfall of a leader of a country."
He said Carter and Perez discussed bringing pressure on the Somoza regime through investigations by the human rights commissions of the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
Just before the President left Caracas, the two governments issued a joint communique saying there was broad agreement on such issues as human rights, the need for approval of the Panama Canal treaties and a common condemnation of th presence of Cuban troops in the Horn of Africa.
The visit to Brazil, which is ruled by the authoritarian armed forces, was expected to be more formal than that to Venezuela, one of South America's few remaining democracies.
During the Carter administration, Brazil and the United States - while traditionally strong allies - have been at odds primarily on the issues of Brazil's development of a strong nuclear capability and alleged Brazilian violations of human rights.
In occasionally tense official contacts over the past years; Brazil has denounced what is termed as U.S. interference in those issues.
Carter's visit here is partially an attempt at fence-mending by paying tribute to Latin America's largest and most powerful nation.
Although Carter plans to discuss both human rights and the nuclear situation with Geisel and other Brazilian leaders, an administration official said there are no real U.S. expectations of changing the Brazilian viewpoint on either issue.
"We both know that personal contact between leaders can build understanding between nations," Carter said, "and I believe that our conversations will result in a reaffirmation of the mutual respect and friendship that has blessed our two nations for so long a time."
Carter will leave Brasilia this afternoon for an overnight stop in Rio de Janeiro, where he has scheduled meetings with Roman Catholic Cardinals Paulo Evaristo Arns, archbishop of Sao Paulo, and Eugenio Sales of Rio. The church has led efforts here for protection of human rights.
Tomorrow morning he will leave for Africa and visits in Nigeria and Liberia before returning Monday to Washington.