Gorbachev Says He’ll Present New Ideas on Germany : Canada: He ends two days of talks in Ottawa. Mulroney says his government will urge NATO to seek compromises that will meet Moscow’s security needs.
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, again stressing the sensitivity of German reunification for Moscow, said Wednesday that he is bringing new ideas to discuss with President Bush this week on the future political and military status of a united Germany.
“I will have some new thoughts by the time I am in Washington,” Gorbachev said as he left for Washington after two days of talks, largely focused on the German issue, with Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
But Gorbachev also challenged the West to come up with new proposals itself on the future of Germany, warning again that the West’s insistence that Germany be a full member of NATO now overshadows all aspects of East-West relations and could jeopardize further improvements.
“This must be a course that we find together,” Gorbachev said after a two-hour meeting with Mulroney in his office in the Canadian Parliament. “Right now, it seems like an old gramophone record playing the same notes. I want to find a new melody.”
Mulroney, speaking later at a press conference with Gorbachev, said that Canada will press other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization at an upcoming summit of the alliance to search for compromises that will meet Soviet security needs.
“The unpredictable velocity of change with respect to the unification of Germany has resulted in a degree of inadvertent insensitivity with regard to the legitimate security apprehensions of the Soviet Union,” Mulroney said, reiterating Canadian support for the inclusion of a united Germany in a restructured NATO.
“There are ways and a manner in which this might be done that will be more accommodating of the realities that President Gorbachev has spoken of so eloquently.”
Canada is also determined, Mulroney said, that the current impasse over the future of Germany not undermine East-West relations, particularly U.S.-Soviet negotiations on reducing nuclear arsenals and the talks between members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact on cutting the conventional forces deployed in Europe.
Mulroney said that Canada would like to see a restructured NATO, one that would seek to play primarily a political role and to minimize its functions as a military alliance. He also suggested that the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe be transformed from a series of occasional conferences into a permanent structure in a way that would bridge the Cold War differences between East and West.
Gorbachev last week had warned that any Western effort to force Soviet acceptance of German membership in NATO could bring a total review of Moscow’s foreign policy, including participation in the all-European forums for security and cooperation.
“The most important thing is to deal with this in a way that will allow us to continue on and strengthen these positive processes,” Gorbachev said again on Wednesday. “We should never adopt a scenario that would jeopardize what we have achieved up to now.”
But after his discussions with Mulroney, described as a prelude to his meetings with Bush this week in Washington, the Soviet leader appeared to hold out greater possibilities of compromise.
“We do have some leeway to find an accommodation,” Gorbachev told the press conference. “There are different possibilities, different scenarios that might not be exactly what the West would propose, but there should be no attempt to dictate the outcome.”
Although Gorbachev gave no indication of the character of the compromises he now has in mind, Canadian officials said Wednesday that they had been encouraged by “new flexibility . . . and a willingness to explore and discuss all types of ideas.”
Senior Soviet officials have talked about the possibility of political membership in NATO for Germany along with the reduction of German armed forces negotiated in the context of overall military cutbacks in Central Europe. But other Soviet officials have discussed the possibility of a new security organization supplanting both NATO and the Warsaw Pact and including most of the present members of both alliances.
Mulroney was to telephone Bush on Wednesday evening to discuss his talks with Gorbachev, Canadian officials said.
Everywhere he went in the Canadian capital, the Soviet leader was met by Canadians eager either to welcome him to their city, or to shout their objections to his political and economic policies. There were sightseers leaning out of office windows, surging up to police barricades and climbing into trees in hopes of catching a glimpse of him. One householder put up a large banner inviting Gorbachev inside for a beer.
There were also about 2,000 demonstrators bused in from various points in southern Ontario to protest the Soviet economic blockade of Lithuania. They gathered on a large lawn in front of Parliament while Gorbachev and Mulroney met inside, waving the colorful flags of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the Ukraine.
Vietnamese-Canadians turned out to show their solidarity with the Baltic states, and Armenians came to call for the liberation of Azerbaijani-controlled territory in the southwestern Soviet Union. A small contingent of Canadian Communists turned out to complain about Gorbachev’s diversions from orthodoxy, and about superpower conspiracies.
The pro-Baltic protesters, most of whom were Canadians of Ukrainian or Baltic descent, called for Mulroney to impose economic sanctions on the Soviet Union in response to the blockade of Lithuania. No such sanctions were forthcoming by the end of the day, however. Mulroney’s government, like Bush’s, has held back from doing anything that might threaten Gorbachev’s position at home--or that might encourage secessionists in the French-speaking province of Quebec.
The Soviet leader was in Canada at a time when Quebec separatist feelings are on the rise after a 10-year decline. In the days before Gorbachev’s visit, Mulroney had been holding intense negotiations with the country’s 10 provincial premiers, trying to bridge differences between English and French Canada, and to reduce the risk that a restive Quebec may try to break away from the country.
While Mulroney looked tired during his appearances with Gorbachev, he may have benefited in public opinion polls by showing his ability to host a superpower leader in ceremonies that went off without a hitch.
Although Mulroney didn’t have time to deal with the Quebec nationalist problem during the day--he had delegated it to an envoy--there was talk by early evening that enough common ground had been found to make it worthwhile for him to bring all 10 provincial premiers together this weekend, to try and solve Canada’s linguistic problems once and for all.
When a reporter asked the two leaders how they viewed each other’s nationalist problems, Mulroney said the situation in Canada couldn’t be compared to that of the Soviet Union.
“There is no parallel to be drawn between the situation in Canada and any situation which might prevail anywhere else in the world,” he said, pointing out that Quebec “was a founding architect of Canada” that had freely entered into “a willing partnership,” and not a grudging republic that had been brought into a union by force, as the Baltic republics has been in 1940.
In response to the same question, Gorbachev said in a long-winded answer that if Lithuania would only play by the legal rules he had established, he would give the republic the sovereignty it seeks.
“Our federation requires very fundamental constitutional changes,” Gorbachev said. “Some republics do require national sovereignty, economic and political sovereignty and the broadest possible opportunities to develop their respective cultures, languages and traditions. On this we intend to proceed.”
TODAY’S SCHEDULE 10 a.m.--President and Raisa Gorbachev arrive at White House, greeted by President and Barbara Bush on South Lawn. 10:30 a.m.-noon--Bush and Gorbachev hold first meeting in Oval Office. 11-11:45 a.m--Barbara Bush hosts tea for Raisa Gorbachev on State Floor of White House. Noon--President and Raisa Gorbachev host luncheon at Soviet Embassy. 3 p.m.--Gorbachev receives two awards from U.S. organizations at Soviet Embassy. Raisa Gorbachev tours Russian documents exhibit at Library of Congress. 4 p.m.--Raisa Gorbachev visits Capitol Children’s Museum. 4-5:30 p.m.--Bush and Gorbachev hold second meeting in Oval Office. 7:15 p.m.--President and Barbara Bush host President and Raisa Gorbachev at White House state dinner.