Officials of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). annoyed that they were not consulted before Carter administration officials called for America to pull out of the 1980 summer Olympics in Moscow if Soviet troops remain in Afghanistan, will meet today with White House aides to discuss a possible boycott.
Robert J. Kane, the USOC president, who called the boycott proposal "inappropriate and gauche," and Col. F. Don Miller, executive director of the private organization that oversees American participation in the Olympics and amateur sports in the United States, will meet this afternoon with Joseph Onek, deputy counsel to the president, and other members of the White House staff working on the administration's Olympics policy.
Public and congressional support of the movement to shift the Olympics to another site, boycott them, or counter them with an alternative "Free World Games" swelled yesterday in the United States, but failed to generate any substantial movement aborad.
Three Republican members of the House -- Robert E. Bauman of Maryland, Don Ritter of Pennsylvania and John H. Buchanan Jr. of Alabama -- introduced resolutions urging that the Summer Games be moved from Moscow. -
The AFL-CIO was wrong the growing number of public and private voices calling for Americans to participate only if the games can be relocated.
Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister, reiterated that she favors asking the international Olympic Committee to move the games, which the IOC has insisted it will not do. Otherwise, little support was forthcoming from European allies and Third World nations for the U.S. boycott invitiatives that have received strong public support in radio, television and newspaper surveys.
Meanwhile, USOC officials were invited to present their arguments against a boycott to the administration for the first time.
"They have lived on the front lines of some of these issues, and they want to make sure that their position is understood by us," said a White House official, who indicated that the administration is trying to make thorough study of four U.S. options. They include moving the games from Moscow, participating in Moscow, boycotting Moscow with or without the support of other nations, and leading the effort to organize alternative games, most likely in Montreal, Mexico City or Los Angeles.
"This first thing on the agenda is to hear the USOC's views, which are very strongly felt. That's the most important thing. And then we may have some questions for them," said the White House officials. He said that no policy decisions were expected before late Saturday, but said President Carter would likely have "a more definite position" before he appears on NBC"s "Meet the Press" program Sunday and certainly before Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday.
In recent days, Vice President Mondale, Rosalynn Carter, Vance and White House spokesman Jody Powell, on behalf of the president, have said the United States should not participate in Moscow unless Soviet troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan. Vance set "mid-February" -- presumably, shortly after Carter opens the Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, N.Y. on Feb. 13 -- as the point at which the United States will have to make a decision.
Kane and Miller have been critical of what they see as the administration's interference in a matter that should be handled by the IOC and its American affiliate, the USOC. United Press International yesterday quoted Miller as saying that the president has no legal authority to order a boycott, and Lloyd Cutler, counsel to the president, reportedly had told Carter the same thing.
In accordance with IOC regulations, the USOC has a charter which states that it, and not U.S. government, is responsible for decisions concerning U.S. participation in the Olympics.
Kane and members of the 86-person USOC Executive Board, which would have to vote for a boycott, have said that they would comply with a presidential request that Americans not participate. But it was learned from Olympic sources that they will try to persuade presidential aides that a U.S. boycott of Moscow would kill the Olympic Games as we now know them, guarantee future control of of international amateur sports by the Soviet bloc by eliminating the United States as a force in the IOC, and fail to be as severe a reprisal against the Soviets as has been assumed.
"I would hope that prior to any final decision we would be given an opportunity to inform the decision-makers of the short-and long-range implications," Miller said yesterday. "If the U.S. boycotts the games and that is supported by the Western world, I share the feeling that it will be the demise of the current Olympic movement."
The USOC's presentation, according to sources, will be presentation philosophical, arguing that the ideals of individual freedom embodied in the Olympic Code should not be sacrificed to political expediency.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press quoting White House sources, said the Carter administration is considering trying to set up rival Olympic Games in some city other than Moscow, possibly in a Third World country.