Washington — Jonas M. Savimbi, the leader of Angola's chief insurgent group, is getting the red-carpet treatment in Washington - but he may get little else - Monitor correspondent Daniel Southerland reports.
Liberal groups opposed to Mr. Savimbi's visit here contend that the guerrilla leader's visit to the United States is a sign the US might once again intervene in Angola. Under the Ford administration, the US had secretly aided Savimbi's military forces through the CIA and the government of Zaire. Congress cut that aid when the extent of American involvement became publicly known. The Carter administration declined to give Savimbi access to high officials when the African leader came here two years ago.
This time around, Savimbi is getting a top-level reception, including a talk with Undersecretary of State Walter Stoessel. But State Department officials say the US has no plans to provide military aid to Savimbi, whose forces are reported to get arms from several sources, including South Africa. President Reagan said during his election campaign that he thought the US ought to renew aid to Savimbi. But once in office, the President appeared to grow more cautious. Administration policy is to try to include Savimbi in an eventual settlement of the Angola and Namibia conflicts.
He saves most of his fire for Governor Brown, whom he considers ''overrated, never really challenged by a tough opponent and a well-mounted campaign.'' If Goldwater wins the GOP primary next June, he would like to face Brown in the November final. But he now says he's sure he can win.
Goldwater characterizes Brown as inconsistent, says he ''flip-flops'' a lot on his positions and tends not to take positions on controversial issues until he sees which way the wind blows. He also accuses Brown of being out of step with the majority of voters in California on several major issues on the ballot there: Reagan's efforts to stabilize the economy, emphasis on a foreign policy based on military strength, reinstatement of the death penalty, emphasis on ongoing freeway projects, and support of nuclear power for energy.
What is it like growing up in the shadow of a famous father? The elder Goldwater, author of ''The Conscience of a Conservative,'' is the longtime Republican senator from Arizona, beloved ultrafrank four-star general of the right wing of his party, former candidate for president.''
It's a certain burden that you carry having this name,'' Barry Jr. admits. ''But at the same time it can be an asset. I look at it as an asset. I have a tremendous respect and love for that man. (But) it is also a burden. I think I manage it well and don't have any problems with it.
''The only way I knew how to deal with it was to prove to myself that I could on my own do things well outside the influence of my father. . . . This was demonstrated to me when I moved to California (from Arizona) in 1962 and -became a stockbroker. . . . When you're dealing with somebody else's money, the name of the game is performance, and not what your name is. I was very successful as a stockbroker. . . . And I think as a politician I've overcome any sort of obstacles that might be presented because of this phenomenon. . . . I've gone from 51 percent in 1969 to over 80 percent (of the vote) in getting reelected year after year every two years. I feel I've worked very hard at my job and I think I'm fairly well liked and respected in my district, not because my name is Barry Goldwater but because I'm attentive to my job and to my constituents, and always available, and show up for important events and am back (in California) every weekend.''
Leon Hauck, who's known Representative Goldwater since they went to college together at Arizona State University, says being the senator's son has been tough for him. ''His dad didn't make it easy for him.
He had to pull it himself. . . .''I've never known him to use his power or influence as a Goldwater. It goes the other way. Some of his friends lean on him for special favors, but he's just as quick to turn them down.''
t was through working on his father's 1964 campaign for the presidency that Barry learned just how brutal politics can be. He talks about the so-called ''daisy'' television commercial President Johnson's campaign ran: the image of a child playing in a field of daisies is blotted out by a nuclear blast, implying that electing Goldwater would bring on thermonuclear war.
His son says of that and some other incidents: ''I couldn't believe people could be that low, that dirty, stooping to that kind of tactic to win an election. I had my baptism into realistic political life and saw just how tough politics can be, how personal politics can get. That depressed me to a certain degree. Yes, that was a frustrating, significant experience for someone as young as I was just getting into politics.''
But it didn't stop him from jumping into the ring in 1968 when Richard Nixon, then president-elect, named Robert Finch as secretary of health, education, and welfare, and Ed Reinecke (congressman from what was then the 27th district) was named to take Finch's place as California lieutenant governor by Gov. Ronald Reagan. Goldwater ran against 12 candidates in the primary and said goodbye to his stockbrokerage partnership when he won the election.
As a congressman he's put his own inimitable stamp on his office. During the first interview, there was a large wooden packing crate sitting like a coffee table in the center of his office. It was open, and inside was nestled the huge, blue-green transmission from his 1960 Austin-Healey, one of three vintage cars he owns and loves. (''He likes to get under cars,'' his sister Peggy Goldwater says.) Covering half the walls, above a blue and tan Spanish tile wallpaper, are masses of oak-pegged flooring, hardwood planks which he hammered into place one weekend along with a wall of decorative panels masking file cabinets. ''I'm good with my hands - woodworking, metalworking, working with cars, building things,'' he says. ''I have good perspective on shapes and sizes and how things fit together. I'm mechanically minded.
''Paradoxically, this man with the macho, cowboy ambiance describes himself as sensitive and caring - as well as tenacious. There was a tidy little stack of gold poplar leaves on the extreme right-hand corner of his Sheraton desk. Is Barry Goldwater a leaf freak, I wondered idly, as we sat talking about his fierce views on personal privacy. It wasn't until a few days later that I inadvertently learned what the leaves were for. In a conversation with Peggy Goldwater she mentioned his empathy for people, and gave as an example the letter she had just received from him, stuffed with autumn leaves because he knew how much she missed fall -foliage living in California.
''Barry is very humble,'' she says. ''He's not your white-bucked extrovert, he's more the Bass Weejuns button-down crew-neck sweater type. He's a quiet person, basically, very sincere. . . . When he says something, he's not masking any feelings, that's the real Barry. I've never heard him say anything bad about anybody.''
She goes on to suggest, however, that her brother is sometimes the subject of political gossip and innuendo. Because he is divorced and is now an eligible bachelor, Barry is often linked with various women, his sister says. However, she points out that he still has a good friendship with his ex-wife, Susan Gregory, an anchor woman at the NBC affiliate in Sacramento. ''She had a career she wanted to pursue,'' she explains. Susan and Barry have a good rapport and see each other frequently when he visits his six-year-old son, Barry Goldwater III, in central California, Peggy adds.
Why does he describe himself in his official biography as the author of the Right to Privacy Act of 1974, but not as an author of Barry Goldwater III? Why is there no mention of his marriage? Goldwater is not alone on Capitol Hill in this phenomenon: Political biographies sometimes ignore family life, omitting wives, children, names, ages, as though they were irrelevant. In his case, the reason is a unique one: He figures it's really nobody's business.
''I guess it's an effort on my part to keep my political and personal life separated,'' he says. ''No use calling more attention than necessary to my son, for his own well-being and his own personal security. I don't talk a great deal about him. It's done in a purposeful way, and not by neglect.'' Goldwater is also on the record as saying that there have been threats made on his life and those of his family as often as once a month, adding that the FBI has arrested at least two people for such threats.
But his fierce concern for personal privacy is also reflected in the bill of which he's most proud to be the author: the Privacy Act of 1974. That bill gives private citizens access to government files about them. (He is also the force behind several other privacy protection bills, as well as legislation on energy and aviation.)
It was not an invasion of his own privacy but someone else's that goaded Barry Goldwater into writing the Privacy Act with Edward I. Koch, the mayor of New York, who was then a liberal Democratic member of Congress.''
The actual event that got me into it,'' he remembers, ''was the fact that one of my assistants in California and I visited the FBI building and they demonstrated their information retrieval capabilities to my assistant. I think they fed his driver's license number into their computer and out came a ream of paper with all this personal information on it. He had never broken a law. The only thing I could think of was that they had this information in there from the standpoint of a security clearance form. But that raised a lot of questions about how we handle information in this country, and it just started from there.''
Paradoxically, this conservative from California suggests that his fellow conservatives ''are the greatest violators of concepts that protect privacy.'' Why? ''Conservatives tend to be greater advocates of tougher laws against crime, tougher penalties, tougher enforcement, and they sometimes tend not to be as concerned about (civil) liberties as, say, a liberal might be. . . .''
Barry Jr. is said to be a millionaire. ''Millionaire? No. No way. I think if I'd stayed a stockbroker you could say that. But since I've been elected to Congress there's been a net drain on my assets. I live off my paycheck, plus a little bit of my savings. So it's dwindled down. My net worth is probably in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million dollars. It's basically composed of my two homes (in Alexandria, Va., and Studio City in L.A.) and my automobiles.''
Another persistent rumor sometimes reported in the press is that Barry Goldwater Jr. is not as bright as he might be. In fact his enemies suggest that he's dumb. There is no evidence of that in his articulate, although very candid , answers. His old friend Leon Hauck suggests that people who question Goldwater's intelligence ''confuse Barry's simple approach to things'' with a lack of intellect. ''He can see through tough situations, gets to the root of the matter, goes to the heart of what's going on. . . . He has a knack for getting down to the ultimate consequences of an act, and he's darn near always right.'' Hauck, a former hospital administrator who now owns an auto repair shop , says those stories about Goldwater ''have always puzzled me, because Barry's not dumb.''
Have those stories bothered Goldwater? ''It bothers me only from the standpoint that it's so general. It's general and nonfactual with any specificity. My only reply is, that's like saying you're ugly or you're beautiful. It's strictly an individual interpretation. It disturbs me because it does leave an impression that is negative and not accurate. . . . Suspiciously, the only person or persons that ever bring it up are the press. I don't hear it in the distance from some of my potential enemies, I don't hear it from people I work with. I don't hear it from anyone who'd (be expected) to make that kind of statement. Now maybe that's the role of the press, to go snoop around to somebody who had some problem with me, who doesn't like me. . . . I think the bottom line is, the proof is in the pudding. I have had no problem in functioning here in Congress for 12 years. I've been returned to my job seven times. And you know I happen to think the best judge in a political situation are the constituents.''
It was a difficult question to ask him, and a difficult one for him to answer , but Goldwater didn't duck it and didn't lose his temper. He spoke thoughtfully , earnestly, and seemed to search for an explanation of the sniping that has dogged his career. He also seemed relieved to be able to answer his critics on the record.
What does he think is the most important thing he can teach his son, the third Barry Goldwater? ''I think honesty with himself and those he deals with. It's all you have in life, your own character, your own self-respect, your own worth. You can't fool yourself. . . . Honesty tends to be a much easier solution to problems than running away from them.''