While their ministers hammer out agreements and resolutions in closed committee sessions that will determine the substantive outcome of this meeting, heads of state at the sixth nonaligned summit here spend their days listening to each other's sometime impassioned, often tedious and usually lengthy speeches.
Although they are largely ceremonial, the speeches provide a glimpse of where an individual leader stands in relation to his fellows and indications of where the organization's power blocs and the movement as a whole are headed.
For those who interpret Middle East subtleties, Jordan's King Hussein moved incrementally closer to the Arab majority and away from the United States today. Instead of stressing, as he has done in the past, that the Camp David accords do not go far enough on the issue of Palestinian rights, Hussein said they "neglected the core . . . and the basic fundamental elements for any reasonable and comprehensive settlement" of the Palestinian problem.
At the same time, Panamanian President Aristides Royo sidestepped the growing and increasingly militant Latin American group by being the first leader in three days of speeches to say something nice about the Carter administration.
Agreement on the Panama Canal treaties, Royo said, was made possible not only by the "tenacity" of the Panamanians and their government but also by the "balanced, equitable and understanding action taken by President Jimmy Carter."
Carter, Royo said, "despite the organized resistance by certain powerful circles in his country, fought a great battle in the Senate, fearless of adverse political consequences, in order to obtain -- as he indeed did -- approval for those treaties."
On the other hand, Vietnamese President Pham Van Dong escalated charges against the United States and perceived nonaligned moderates by maintaining that criticism of the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia -- coming from both inside and outside the nonaligned movement -- was part of a central plot to "divide and rule" in Southeast Asia.
While there are differences in degree, it has been the nonaligned movement's militants who have spoken most loudly here. As the five-day summit moves past its halfway point, it appears increasingly likely that they will carry most of the rest of the 94 nonaligned members along with them.
The moderates maintain that this is more a function of whom host Cuba calls to the podium first -- an order of speakers that thus far has leaned heavily to the side of the militants, including Ethiopia's Mengistu Haile Mariam and the Palestine Liberation Organization's Yasser Arafat.
But the moderates, who are often distinguishable from the militants by their pin-striped suits as opposed to tailored bush outfits, say they have not given up the fight to tone down Cuba's draft documents that will serve as the summit's final declaration.
Yugoslavia's President Tito, the movement's patriarch and chief spokesman for total nonalignment with either the capitalist or Soviet blocs, appealed on Tuesday for fidelity to nonaligned founding principles.
Yugoslavia has proposed a long list of amendments to Cuba's draft. Most of them counter harsh and direct antiamericanism with calmer and broader rhetoric. These amendments are being argued in the private sessions.
"Singapore is going all out," said one of its delegates today, in an effort to prevent the militants from setting the movement's tone during the next three years of Cuba's chairmanship.
Today, the Yugoslavs enlisted Peruvian President Francisco Morales Bermudez on their team. His speech, one of the few so far for the moderates, called for recognition of the "mutual tolerance and careful equilibrium that marks relations between the great centers of power."
Still, the moderates fully realize they are at a stylistic disadvantage in relation to those who call for more action and less talk. Nowhere was this so clear as the difference between Castro's passionate speech and Tito's calm appeal.
The militants, Singapore Foreign Minister Sinnathamby Rajaratnam said, "are chaps riding around with revolvers and they don't mind shooting from the hip."
The problem, he and others like Malaysia maintain, and some Cuban sources acknowledge, is that Cuba more or less let the militants in the various regional groups write those parts of the documents that intimately concern them.
Thus the Africans, who care more strongly about condemnations of Southern Africa's minority government than anything else, are willing to let the Arabs condemn Egypt.
The Arabs, on the other hand, have given a free hand to Caribbean leaders, such as Jamaica's Michael Manley and Guyana's Forbes Burnham, who have outlined a new economic accord under which oil-producing states would give special consideration to their energy-scarce brother within the movement.
At the same time, a Cuban source said, the draft document resembled the sort of labor proposal that asks for a three-day week in hopes of getting 4 1/2.
If Cuba loses part of what it asks for, the source said, it will still end up far beyond where the last summit in 1976 left off.At that time, Sri Lanka the host, wrote what many felt was a weak-kneed declaration.
According to Cuban sources, leaders such as Hussein see the writing on the wall and are seeking to join the vanguard before it leaves them behind.
Perhaps in reference to the belief of many observes that the nonaligned summit is a sort of Third World internal negotiating session to work out positions for the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly, Hussein warned the members that "our collective duty is to carry the just cause of the Palestinian people to all international levels."