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Soviets Jam Reagan's Talk but Broadcast Report on It

January 02, 1987|From Reuters

MOSCOW — President Reagan's New Year radio address to the Soviet people was heavily jammed, the U.S. Embassy said Thursday, but official Moscow radio broadcast an edited report of it Thursday morning.

The address, which stressed the importance of human rights and assessed superpower relations more optimistically than did Kremlin leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev in a New Year interview, was broadcast in full on Voice of America radio Wednesday night.

"It was pretty heavily jammed," U.S. Embassy spokesman Jaroslav Verner said.

But he added that Reagan was faintly heard on some frequencies in Moscow and more clearly in Leningrad.

The seven-minute Moscow radio report in Russian ran as the eighth item on only one morning news bulletin.

Remarks on Human Rights

It included several directly-translated excerpts and some of Reagan's remarks on human rights but omitted, among other things, his comment that not a single American soldier was currently engaged in combat and his expression of regret that an official exchange of New Year messages was not possible.

In the euphoria that followed Reagan's 1985 Geneva summit with Gorbachev, the two leaders broadcast New Year greetings to each other's peoples.

But after last October's summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, which deeply disappointed Moscow, Soviet officials said an exchange of messages would be inappropriate.

Gorbachev's gloomy judgment on arms control progress came in an interview with veteran U.S. journalist Kingsbury Smith, published by the Tass news agency Wednesday.

Reagan said there have been developments at U.S.-Soviet talks in Geneva on nuclear and space weapons but that an enduring peace depends on respect for human rights.

Foundation for Peace

The radio quoted Reagan as saying "respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual is the foundation on which a genuine and reliable peace" between the Soviet Union and United States should be built.

But it cut his other remarks on the subject.

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