Bush Presses Soviets on Arms Talks
President Bush has written to Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev urging a renewed effort to break a deadlock in nuclear arms negotiations, officials said Monday.
White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater said Bush’s letter was delivered to Gorbachev by U.S. Ambassador Jack F. Matlock Jr. on Monday, “urging him to make progress” in negotiations to slash long-range nuclear weapons.
Another official said the letter was a follow-up to Secretary of State James A. Baker III’s talks with Gorbachev in Moscow this month. Returning from Moscow, Baker had said he’d made no headway on implementation of a treaty cutting troops, tanks and other non-nuclear weapons in Europe and on concluding a second accord to reduce long-range nuclear missile arsenals by about 30%.
U.S. officials suggest that Gorbachev is hamstrung by the Soviet military. But a commentary distributed by the state news agency Tass after Baker’s visit blamed the Bush Administration for the deadlock.
The nuclear arms pact was to have been signed last month by Bush and Gorbachev at a Moscow summit. With the talks stalled, the summit is on hold.
Tass said Matlock held a “brief, important conversation” Monday with Gorbachev and delivered a letter from Bush “in the usual friendly spirit.” It said the letter referred to “some urgent aspects of Soviet-U.S. relations.”