In Brief : Shultz Urges Easing of Sanctions

From Times staff and wire service reports

Secretary of State George P. Shultz, before leaving office, suggested that the Bush Administration consider easing trade controls on the Soviet Union if it meets the Feb. 15 deadline for withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan, a U.S. official said today.

Shultz, who stepped down last week to be succeeded by James A. Baker III, made the suggestion in a letter to Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci, who also resigned with the advent of the Bush Administration.

Carlucci, in a reply letter to Shultz, did not commit himself to a position to be passed on to his designated successor, John G. Tower, and suggested that the trade issue be handled without a recommendation by the new Administration, the official said.

“The allies are interested in easing the sanctions, but I do not know if it’s a top agenda item for the Bush Administration,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.


The Soviet Union moved its troops into Afghanistan in December, 1979, to support a Marxist government in Kabul against U.S.-armed rebels. In 1980, in a punitive gesture, the Carter Administration imposed a ban on trade in sensitive equipment with Moscow.