Protests by Lloyd N. Cutler, White House counsel in the Carter administration, over the fact that U.S. athletes will be participating in a Soviet-sponsored track meet this week in Leningrad, met with a somewhat mystified response yesterday from track and government officials.
Earlier this week, Cutler said that President Carter's 1980 Olympic boycott was meant to extend to all Soviet cultural and athletic events until troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan. He said the policy should preclude a delegation of American track stars from competing in a two-day meet scheduled Friday and Saturday.
State Department officials said yesterday they were unsure if the Carter policy on boycotting Soviet events was still in effect.
"Up until Jan. 20, the (Carter) administration was still making a concerted effort to keep athletes from going over there. I don't think anyone has recently taken a look at the policy . . . it probably got lost by the wayside," said a State Department spokesman, who said the boycott issue had been briefly discussed at the department's daily briefing yesterday.
White House officials said they, too, were not certain of the status of the athletic boycott of the Soviet Union.
Officials with the Indianspolis-based The Athletics Congress, which is the U.S. track and field authority, said they were surprised to find last-minute opposition to a meet that has been scheduled for more than six months.
"To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time the subject's come up," said Martin Weiss, directory of communications.