Kremlin leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev told the Soviet people today that if necessary, the country will respond to the U.S. "Star Wars" program that President Reagan refused during the Iceland summit conference to curtail.
"Soviet people know this, and all people around the world should know this as well," Gorbachev said in a rare nationally televised address to the nation. "But we are opposed to a power play. This is an extremely dangerous undertaking in the nuclear missile age."
Gorbachev, looking relaxed and fresh in a dark suit and seated at a desk in a plush Kremlin office, said he wanted to tell the truth about his meetings with Reagan, which he claimed had been distorted in the West, and to lay out Kremlin plans for the future.
He rebutted Western claims that the Soviet Union needed an arms control accord because of internal problems, saying the Soviet Union is getting stronger.
Other Obstacles Hinted
The Soviet leader indicated in his speech that more than the "Star Wars" program was an obstacle to at least part of the arms control measures they discussed. Gorbachev said the Soviets accepted Reagan's proposal that both sides eliminate all medium-range nuclear missiles from Europe, the so-called "zero-zero" option.
"And still, we felt the intention of the Americans to disrupt the agreement under the guise of their special concern for their allies in Asia," he said without elaboration.
Gorbachev said Reagan had not been "prepared to solve fundamental questions in a big way, to cover his part of the road so as to really give an impulse to resultful and encouraging talks," according to excerpts of his address transmitted by Tass, the Soviet press agency.
"But it is to this that I called the President in my letter inviting him to the meeting, to give an impulse to the talks on nuclear and space arms," he said.
He described the proposals he presented to Reagan on medium-range missiles in Europe, strategic and space weapons and the proposed nuclear test ban, saying, "As you see here, too, our proposals were large-scale and earnest, holding out the possibility of a cardinal solution to these problems.
'Not Entirely Negative'
"The President made comments, asked for clarification here and there and firmly raised the question of verification," Gorbachev said.
"I told him that if our countries embarked on the path of nuclear disarmament, the Soviet Union would toughen its stand on verification," he said. "The reaction of the U.S. President was not entirely negative."
Gorbachev said that he discussed the weekend talks with other members of the ruling Politburo and that their decision on the results of the meeting will be published Wednesday by the national press.
The rare address to the Soviet people came one day after Reagan turned to the American people to explain why he rejected a surprise Soviet nuclear arms reduction offer in order to protect his "Star Wars" project.
The address was considered rare even for Gorbachev who is more likely to reveal his thoughts than previous Soviet leaders.