In what has been billed as a make-or-break round of meetings, the top U.S. and Soviet foreign policy officials met here Monday for five hours without resolving all the obstacles to a new missile treaty and a third summit meeting between their leaders.
Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze agreed that their talks were "constructive" and that they "had made progress on an agenda" for the prospective Dec. 7-10 summit in Washington, State Department spokesman Charles E. Redman said.
"Obviously there remain some things to be done," he added. But he said the U.S. delegation still expects a missile treaty and summit preparations to be completed today when the Shultz-Shevardnadze talks are scheduled to end.
The two men promised to provide more information on their deliberations when the talks are finished.
The chief obstacle to the agreement banning all ground-launched nuclear missiles with ranges of from 300 to 3,000 miles, a U.S. official said, is still the Soviet demand for on-site inspection of a U.S. missile facility "comparable" to the facility at which they have agreed to allow U.S. inspectors to maintain a permanent presence.
The Soviets accepted the U.S. demand for on-site inspection of the Soviet plant at which both SS-20 and SS-25 ballistic missiles are assembled. The medium-range SS-20 would be banned under the new treaty, but the intercontinental-range SS-25 will continue to be produced legally. The purpose of having U.S. inspectors on the site is to guard against clandestine production of the SS-20, which is similar to part of the SS-25.
In return, the Soviet propose stationing their inspectors at a San Diego plant where both sea- and ground-launched cruise missiles are produced. The ground-launched version of the cruise is to be banned but not the sea-launched type.
The United States rejected this idea, and Shultz told reporters en route here that he would propose an alternate facility for Soviet inspection which he believed would satisfy Moscow.
Indications were that the proffered site would be connected with ballistic missiles, such as the medium-range Pershing 2 ballistic missile that is also to be banned under the treaty.
Shultz and Shevardnadze did participate in one of the arms-control meetings, but spent most of their time trying to iron out details of the summit between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Redman said.