YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Leaders to Wrap Up Summit With a Joint Ceremony : Reagan, Gorbachev Will Tell World Today the Results of Their Efforts

November 21, 1985|JACK NELSON and ELEANOR CLIFT | Times Staff Writers

GENEVA — After negotiations that lasted through their final private dinner Wednesday night, President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev decided over coffee to end the first U.S.-Soviet summit in six years with a joint ceremony this morning to report the results of their labors to the world.

Yet despite indications that the final agreement would include a call for future summits and an exchange of invitations for state visits, the "good atmosphere" proclaimed by both sides apparently was not translated into immediate breakthroughs on the major problems troubling the two superpowers.

Throughout the two days of meetings, both sides suggested repeatedly that Reagan and Gorbachev were getting along exceptionally well. At a concluding reception Wednesday night, Reagan cheerfully waved aside questions from reporters, saying, "The news is so good, we're going to hold it until tomorrow."

Exchange of Visits Seen

As to concrete achievements, however, barring a last-minute breakthrough, they appeared likely to be limited to peripheral issues--among them, a call for additional superpower summits and an exchange of good-will visits between Reagan and Gorbachev. Neither has ever visited the other's country.

White House sources said late Wednesday that Gorbachev will visit the United States next year and that Reagan will go to the Soviet Union in 1987. The Soviet leader, asked about the invitation, acknowledged that it had been extended but would not confirm that he had accepted. Asked directly if he would go to the United States next year, he said only, "We'll see."

The reception was followed by the dinner for 12 that the President and Mrs. Reagan gave at their summit residence, the Maison de Saussure, overlooking Lake Geneva.

Session to Be Brief

At this morning's ceremony, which White House spokesman Larry Speakes said would be brief, the two leaders were also expected to sign a cultural agreement that would, among other things, lead to the people-to-people exchanges that Reagan called for in a nationwide address last week before leaving for Geneva.

In a late-night briefing for reporters, Speakes suggested that negotiations between the U.S. and Soviet teams were still continuing in an effort to reach agreement in other areas.

Gorbachev announced plans to hold a news conference in Geneva today--less than an hour after his public appearance with Reagan--to present his view of the talks. Reagan announced no change in his original schedule, which calls for him to fly to Brussels this afternoon to brief the Western allies, then continue to Washington to address a joint session of Congress this evening.

"It will be close to a 24-hour day before his head touches the pillow," Speakes said of the President, who has moved through the rigors of the summit with a briskness that belies his 74 years.

The decision to hold the joint ceremony here this morning was agreed upon in the library of the Soviet Mission, with Reagan and Gorbachev shaking hands across a couch while their wives and top aides looked on.

"The President's frame of mind is very good," Speakes said after the ceremony was announced. "He will sleep well tonight."

Although Gorbachev had insisted that progress on arms control should be a paramount goal, Soviet spokesmen here said they would consider the summit a success regardless of whether any substantive arms accord was reached. In their press briefings, they made it clear that they agreed with statements by some American officials that the summit had already helped improve relations between the superpowers.

Four Problem Areas

The Americans had planned to talk about four problem areas: arms control, regional conflicts, human rights and bilateral issues. They had expected no major breakthroughs, but had hoped to get a commitment from the Soviets for a second summit and a statement on arms control that would spur arms negotiators in Geneva.

In the weeks preceding the summit, Administration officials sought to lower expectations that there would be dramatic results. But with more than 3,000 journalists gathering in Geneva and both sides enthusiastic about the apparently good chemistry between Reagan and Gorbachev, expectations were inevitably raised that something substantive would be produced.

The two leaders met alone with only interpreters present for four hours and 51 minutes during the two-day summit, which is longer than they spent in the plenary sessions with their advisers.

Asked about the extraordinary sessions, Speakes said, "I can only interpret that as (meaning that) the two men communicate well with each other. They outlined their views very effectively to each other. The two obviously feel comfortable with each other in discussing the issues."

Los Angeles Times Articles