Shultz, Shevardnadze Meet Almost 8 Hours

Times Staff Writer

Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze met for almost eight hours Monday to pave the way for the U.S.-Soviet summit meeting just two weeks away.

The Soviet news agency Tass said that the two men and their aides discussed security issues, “above all” nuclear and space arms issues, in sessions that began just after noon and continued until 7:50 p.m.

Shultz and Shevardnadze exchanged smiles and pleasant chatter as they sat down for the talks at the ornate mansion used as a guest house by the Soviet Foreign Ministry.


“You must have a lot of clout to have a place like this,” Shultz joked with Shevardnadze. When the Soviet’s interpreter appeared to be puzzled by the reference to “clout,” Shultz’s interpreter explained the American term.

The Soviets gave their response to the most recent U.S. arms offer, it was understood, as part of the discussion on nuclear weapons. Regional issues, human rights and bilateral matters were also discussed.

Assistant Secretary of State Rozanne Ridgway said that although the session was long, half of the time was taken up in translation. She refused to characterize the pace or tone of the talks.

Preparations for Summit

On his arrival, Shultz said the aim of his two-day visit--the first by a U.S. secretary of state for substantive talks in seven years--was to prepare “thoughtfully and carefully” for the Nov. 19-20 meeting in Geneva of President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

Shultz is due to meet with Gorbachev today, then hold a press conference before leaving Moscow tonight.

He and Shevardnadze have had “candid and productive” discussions in the past, Shultz said, and he expected the same this time.


The friendly climate of Shultz’s reception, which coincided with publication in Izvestia of a full-page account of the interview with President Reagan by four Soviet correspondents, suggested that events are proceeding on schedule toward the summit conference.

All signs suggest that neither side wants surprises at the brief Reagan-Gorbachev meeting and that both intend to work out contentious issues here, including even the precise language of a final communique, if possible.

The stonewalling by Soviet diplomats on bilateral issues, such as restoring commercial airline service between the two countries, ended several days before Shultz left Washington, according to U.S. officials.

Both Endorse 50% Arms Cut

These officials cautioned that considerable distance still separates the superpowers on arms issues. But the two sides have agreed in the last week on one key issue, both endorsing a 50% cut in their nuclear offensive arsenals. That figure will undoubtedly become the keystone in any agreement in principle on arms control that could emerge from the summit talks and provide new momentum for negotiators of both sides.

Similarly, differences on the crucial issue of space defense--the Strategic Defense Initiative, or “Star Wars”--seem to be narrowing to a dispute on whether the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty permits only “research” on exotic weapons like lasers, as the Soviets say, or allows “research and testing,” as the Reagan Administration maintains.

The two sides now appear to be separated by a seemingly small but highly significant problem of defining the “research” and “testing” in ways that will be acceptable to both and will then permit negotiations on reducing offensive weapons.


Two of the three other summit agenda topics--bilateral issues and human rights--may be more amenable to improvement than the third, which deals with U.S.-Soviet differences on regional, or Third World, matters.