Soviet Envoy Assails Harsh Past Policies : Ambassador to U.N. Indirectly Condemns Conduct of Gromyko

From Reuters

The Soviet ambassador to the United Nations today denounced Moscow's confrontational foreign policy under past leaders in an effective repudiation of Andrei A. Gromyko, who left the Kremlin scene last week.

In an interview with the Communist Party newspaper Pravda, Alexander Belonogov did not name Gromyko but strongly condemned the way he conducted policy as foreign minister for 28 years.

Gromyko, 79, was removed from the ruling Politburo on Friday as Kremlin leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev reinforced his team of reformers. On Saturday, Gorbachev succeeded Gromyko in the post of president he had held since 1985.

1950s Policy Described

"I remember well the situation at the U.N. in the late 1950s, when I first took part in the work of the General Assembly," Belonogov said. Gromyko was then foreign minister.

"What was demanded at that time from us--the young members of the Soviet delegation? How were we judged?" Belonogov asked.

Answering his own question, he went on:

"On our ability to use strong language in addressing our political opponents, on our readiness and ability to discredit whenever possible not only the ideas they promoted, but also the bearers of the ideas as personalities. . . . "

Belonogov said the speeches of almost all Soviet envoys to the United Nations for many years hence had followed a set pattern and were permeated with "a spirit of intolerance and confrontation."

Policy Hurt Kremlin

He said ideological excesses in foreign policy had at times strongly hindered the Kremlin from seeing where its own interests lay, notably when world economic and financial organizations were being formed and Moscow did not take part.

The interview with Belonogov was clearly intended as yet another rebuff of Gromyko and the hard-line posture he maintained from the time he entered high-profile diplomacy as Moscow's first ambassador to the United Nations in 1946.

It also signaled Gorbachev's intention to pursue a non-confrontational foreign policy line in what some analysts see as an effort to reduce tensions and devote Soviet resources to domestic problems.

Arguments on Foreign Policy

During the two months which preceded last week's Kremlin reshuffle, top Soviet officials sparred with one another in speeches on the direction foreign policy should take.

Yegor Ligachev, the former chief ideologist who was shifted to agricultural affairs on Friday, had challenged Gorbachev's line by saying that renouncing class struggle as the primary force of international relations would confuse Moscow's allies.

Belonogov, a 57-year-old "new thinker" who has represented Moscow at the United Nations for two years, expounded the Gorbachev view by saying Soviet state founder Vladimir I. Lenin had supported peaceful coexistence in world relations.

Effort to Close Gaps

He said the basic task of Gorbachev's perestroika reform drive in foreign diplomacy was to seek points of contact among differing positions "in order to move these positions as close as possible to each other, raising the general level of trust."

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