Shultz Confers With Dobrynin on ’86 Summit
Anatoly F. Dobrynin, winding up his 24-year career as Soviet ambassador to the United States, conferred Monday with Secretary of State George P. Shultz about plans and timing for the next U.S.-Soviet summit meeting.
It was the clearest signal yet that Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev intends to keep his commitment to visit the United States this year.
A U.S. official said that the focus of the 90-minute meeting, also attended by John M. Poindexter, President Reagan’s national security adviser, was almost entirely on the next summit between Reagan and Gorbachev.
“It was a major substantive notice by the Soviets that they are ready to talk about a summit date,” the official said, declining to be identified by name. “It is virtually certain that this is the signal he (Gorbachev) is coming. After that, it is down to mechanics.”
Date Being Sought
Dobrynin, promoted March 6 to a major foreign policy post in the Communist Party, meets today with Reagan at the White House. The U.S. official said that a firm date for the next summit may be set during that meeting. If the two sides cannot agree on specific timing, he added, they probably will set an approximate date that would permit preliminary work to get started.
The U.S. official said that the most likely date for the summit is sometime in November.
He said that June and July, once Washington’s preferred months, now appear very unlikely because there just is not enough time to prepare. August has been ruled out because it is a vacation month both in the United States and the Soviet Union, and Reagan has said that he does not want the meeting in September or October because it might interfere with the congressional election campaign.
The official described Dobrynin’s session with Shultz and Poindexter as “a preparatory meeting, groundwork meeting” for today’s talks with Reagan.
Reagan and Gorbachev agreed at their summit last November in Geneva to meet again this year in the United States and next year in the Soviet Union. But Moscow has been reluctant to agree to a date for this year’s meeting, and Gorbachev has hinted several times that he might not come to the United States until some progress is achieved in nuclear arms control negotiations that are being conducted in Geneva.
But in recent days, Moscow has softened its stand. Rep. Dante B. Fascell (D-Fla.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Friday after meeting with Gorbachev in Moscow that the Soviet leader seemed confident that another summit could be arranged.
Moscow has made clear that it wants the next summit to concentrate on arms control issues, possibly to the exclusion of everything else. The U.S. official said that Washington considers arms control to be just one of four topics, along with bilateral issues, regional disputes and human rights.
Before last year’s summit, Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze met five times, the last time only two weeks before the Reagan-Gorbachev meeting, to refine the agenda and make detailed plans.
Invitation to Washington
Several weeks ago, the United States invited Shevardnadze to come to Washington to begin the preparatory talks for the 1986 summit, but the Soviets had not replied before Dobrynin’s return to Washington. The U.S. official said it is assumed that Dobrynin has been authorized to agree to a date for the Shultz-Shevardnadze talks.
Dobrynin’s meeting with Reagan will mark the highest level U.S.-Soviet contact since the President and Gorbachev had their “fireside summit” in Geneva last November. Shultz met Soviet Premier Nikolai I. Ryzhkov last month, but Ryzhkov is not a foreign policy specialist.
In his new party post, Dobrynin rivals Shevardnadze in influence on matters of Soviet foreign policy. But Shevardnadze and Shultz have responsibility for negotiating detailed preparations for the summit.