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Reagan Reports Kremlin Reply on Daniloff

September 11, 1986|From Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — President Reagan said Wednesday night that he has received a reply from Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to the U.S. request for the release of journalist Nicholas Daniloff, who is being held by the Soviets on spy charges.

But Reagan gave no details of Gorbachev's response, saying, "I don't want to rock the boat."

Reagan spoke briefly to reporters after a state dinner at the White House held in honor of Brazilian President Jose Sarney.

Reagan's remarks left the impression that an intense diplomatic effort is under way for securing Daniloff's release, but he said it is "not safe to comment."

He also declined to predict when the issue might be resolved.

In asking Gorbachev for Daniloff's release, Reagan asserted that the U.S. New & World Report correspondent was not a spy.

The State Department said that Soviet Ambassador Yuri V. Dubinin met with Secretary of State George P. Shultz late Wednesday. The department declined to comment on the discussions, but a senior department official, referring to efforts to win Daniloff's release, said, "The diplomatic momentum is continuing."

Meanwhile, a private group planning U.S.-Soviet cultural exchanges said a meeting with the Soviets will be canceled if Daniloff is kept in prison.

Daniel Bratton, president of the Chautauqua Institution, sponsor of the scheduled meeting in Riga, Latvia, said the full 270-member American delegation will cancel the session if Daniloff remains in custody.

Earlier, State Department spokesman Bernard Kalb said no decision has been made on U.S. government participation in the Riga meeting. He added, "The objective here is to win the release of Nick Daniloff rather than engage in retaliatory actions."

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