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Gorbachev Invites 9 Congress Leaders to Talks

December 03, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev has invited leaders of Congress to meet with him at the Soviet Embassy, in a forum far smaller than the joint meeting of Congress sought by the White House but blocked by conservative Republicans.

Nine lawmakers--five from the House, four from the Senate--will meet with Gorbachev, House Republican leader Robert H. Michel of Illinois said Wednesday.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee also is trying to arrange an informal session with the Soviet leader at the Capitol during his three-day summit with President Reagan, which begins next week.

Plans for Gorbachev to address the full House and Senate in the House chamber were scrapped after a vigorous protest by conservative members of Congress, some of whom vowed to demonstrate during such an address or even to walk out.

During Gorbachev's stay here, time has been set aside for the Soviet leader to meet with corporate executives, academicians, scientists and reporters.

Charmayne Marsh, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Jim Wright (D-Tex.), said the five House leaders invited to the embassy are Wright, Michel, House Majority Leader Thomas S. Foley (D-Wash.), House Majority Whip Tony Coelho (D-Calif.) and House Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.).

An aide to Sen. Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) said the senators invited are Byrd, Majority Whip Alan Cranston (D-Calif.), Minority Leader Robert Dole (R-Kan.) and Minority Whip Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.).

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