The State Department reiterated yesterday its opposition to the Union later this month, but said it would not try to prevent the trips by teams sponsored by the Amateur Athletic Union.
State Department spokesman Thomas Reston issued a statement saying that the Carter administration, which is considering requesting an American boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, will not interfere with Soviet participation in pre-Olympic sporting events in the United States.
A team of Soviet track and field athletes it expected in the U.S. on Tuesday, the same day the AAU-sponsored American boxers are scheduled to leave for Moscow. A U.S. wrestling team, also organized by the AAU, was scheduled to leave for a two-week tour of the Soviet Union last night.
State Department officials said the boxing and wrestling competitions in the Soviet Union are "the type of bilateral activity which we believe should be discouraged," but that the "final decision was up to the AAU, which is a private organization."
Private citizens or organizations traveling to the Soviet Union do not have to clear their activities through the State Department, but officials said the sports competitions were the type of activity covered by the U.S.-Soviet cultural cooperation agreement which expired Dec. 31, four days after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.
An AAU spokesman said Friday that the teams would go to the Soviet Union unless expressly forbidden to do so by the State Department.
Olympic champion high jumper Dwight Stones, recently reinstated to amateur status, and several other world-class athletes signed a petition at the Philadelphia Track Classic calling for the 1980 Summer Olympics to be moved from Moscow.
Among the other Olympic-caliber athletes who signed the petition Friday were hurdler Renaldo Nehemiah of the University of Maryland, sprinter Steve Riddick, quarter-miler Herman Frazer, pole vaulter Earl Bell and half-miler Mark Enyeart. The petition is to be circulated among other athletes at upcoming meets.
Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark said Friday that his government would consider aid to any country asked to host this summer's Olympics if they are moved from Moscow.
Clark, an early advocate of stripping Moscow of the Games in protest of the invasion of Afghanistan, said last week that Montreal, which hosted the 1976 Olympics, would be ready to receive the 1980 Games on short notice.
Since that offer, a number of municipal officials have said it would be impossible to ready the 1976 Olympic complex in time for the Games this summer, especially since what was the Olympic Village in 1976 is now occupied.
Clark says he is still not convinced, however.
Montreal, Mexico City, and Los Angeles are considered the most likely sites for an alternative "free world games" to be organized if the United States, Canada and other nations decide to boycott the Olympics.
"We will continue to direct our efforts towards encouraging the International Olympic Committee to recognize that we have an extraordinary situation, where we would be inviting athletes of the world to come into a nation that has freshly sent its troops into a neighbor," Clark said.
The IOC insists it is impossible to move, cancel, or postpone the Moscow Games at this late date.