American industrialist Armand Hammer came out Friday in support of a Soviet-American summit conference in July.
He made his position known at the Moscow opening of an exhibit of paintings from the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
The exhibit, at the Pushkin Museum, is part of the first major program under a cultural agreement signed at last November's meeting in Geneva of President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
Paintings from the Hermitage and Pushkin Museum collections will be sent to the United States for showing at the National Gallery starting May 1. Later, they will be exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Hammer, who is chairman of the board of Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum Corp., will have a showing in the Soviet Union this year from his private collection of paintings. The industrialist said Friday that such cultural exchanges are not the only result of the summit meeting in Geneva.
No Date for Meeting
No date has been set for a second summit meeting, but Hammer told reporters he believes that Gorbachev will come to the United States this year as planned.
"I hope it will be in July and they spend at least a week together at Camp David," Hammer said, "and I hope they hasten the arms control negotiations at Geneva."
Later, he was given a preview of the exhibit of works by Monet, Renoir, Gauguin, Manet, Van Gogh, Picasso and other artists.
"Beautiful, beautiful," said Irina Antonova, the director of the Pushkin Museum and Hammer's guide. She said that about 200,000 people will view the paintings from the United States while they are in Moscow.
J. Carter Brown, director of the National Gallery, said the exchange of paintings represents the highest level of culture.
"The opportunity to come into contact with these masterpieces will change people's lives," Brown said. The works on display, he added, are among the most popular in the National Gallery collection.
Hammer plans to fly to Leningrad on Tuesday to preside over the opening of the exhibit of his paintings, entitled "Five Centuries of Masterpieces." Later, the exhibit will be seen at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow and in several other cities as well.