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Reagan to Make Appeal to Soviets in L.A. Speech

August 26, 1987|MICHAEL WINES | Times Staff Writer

President Reagan will make another plea for U.S.-Soviet cooperation in a speech here today and suggest new steps that the Soviets could take to signal a genuine willingness to ease world tensions, a senior White House official said Tuesday.

Reagan's speech to the Town Hall of California, billed as a major foreign policy address, will stress the President's well-known aim to eliminate two primary threats to world order, nuclear weapons and totalitarian regimes.

The senior U.S. official, who asked not to be identified by name, would not describe the new tension-reducing measures that Reagan is expected to outline to the Soviets. But the address, while conciliatory in its theme, appears unlikely to include any concessions by the White House as an inducement to the Soviets.

Support for 'Star Wars'

The official said that the 20-minute address also will restate past U.S. proposals that the Soviets prove their desire for peace by removing troops from Afghanistan, dismantling the Berlin Wall and granting Eastern European allies the right to choose other forms of government.

The President also will reiterate his backing for the development and deployment of his Strategic Defense Initiative, the space-based defense against nuclear missiles that is popularly called "Star Wars."

Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev has effectively demanded an end to the SDI program as a condition of any agreement on substantial reduction of long-range nuclear missile forces. Reagan has argued that the space defense is the only way to eliminate the nuclear threat.

The President will speak at 1 p.m. at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, where he is staying this week as part of his annual summer vacation in California. The address will be telecast by satellite to the Conference on East-West Relations, a major symposium on U.S.-Soviet affairs in Chautauqua, N.Y., where several thousand American and about 200 Soviet experts will be in attendance.

The speech also will be simultaneously broadcast over the Voice of America and Worldnet, VOA's television arm. White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said that the broadcast also was offered to the Soviet government but apparently was not accepted.

It "basically lays the foundation" for a broader September address to the U.N. General Assembly, in which the President will describe the foundations of U.S. foreign policy in the remainder of his term, the senior official said.

4 Days in L.A.

The President's speech is the highlight of a four-day stay in Los Angeles, during which Reagan and his wife, Nancy, will dine with friends and conduct personal business such as a regularly scheduled hearing check-up.

On Thursday, Reagan will meet with leaders of the Nicaraguan contras, and will receive a military briefing from the contras' general commander, Enrique Bermudez.

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