Gorbachev Plans Reply to Summit Bid : Won't Tip Hand on Response in Meeting With Finnish Leader

From Times Wire Services

Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, without tipping his hand on whether he favors a U.S.-Soviet summit soon, said today that he will respond directly to President Reagan on his suggestion that the two meet, Finland's Prime Minister Kalevi Sorsa said.

Sorsa said he urged the new Soviet leader, in an hourlong meeting, to hold talks with Reagan and was told "he's going to answer Mr. Reagan's letter in a good-mannered way."

"He who writes gets the answer first," Sorsa added.

Sorsa was referring to a letter brought to Moscow on March 13 by Vice President George Bush in which Reagan reportedly proposed a superpower summit without setting any conditions.

Chances Considered Good

Reagan told a news conference in Washington Thursday that chances were "good" for an early summit and said, "I think it's high time we did this." (Story on Page 14.)

Sorsa said he believes chances are good for a summit meeting next September.

He indicated that Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko will discuss the possibility of a summit with Secretary of State George P. Shultz in mid-May, when both are expected to be in Vienna to attend ceremonies marking the 30th anniversary of the Austrian state treaty.

The most likely venue for the superpower summit would be New York next September at the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, Sorsa said.

Talked With Gorbachev

Sorsa, in Moscow as head of a delegation from the disarmament committee of Socialist International, said he and other members of the delegation met with Gorbachev for an hour. The talks focused on the new arms negotiations in Geneva and other arms control issues, he said.

"We said that it would be useful if the top leaders of the two great powers would meet in order to give a political impulse to the negotiations," Sorsa said.

He said Gorbachev "supported many of the points we proposed in our statement," but when questioned further about the possibility of a summit, Gorbachev--named Soviet leader hours after the death March 10 of President Konstantin U. Chernenko--did not respond directly.

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