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THE WASHINGTON SUMMIT : Points of Contention

December 06, 1987|NORMAN KEMPSTER | Times Staff Writer and

Although the high point of President Reagan's third summit meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev will be the signing of a treaty banning medium-range nuclear missiles, many other issues--some of them hotly controversial--will also be discussed.

The United States and the Soviet Union have agreed on an agenda divided into four parts: arms control, human rights, regional conflicts and bilateral matters. The most important unresolved issues include:


Long-range nuclear weapons: Reagan and Gorbachev agreed a year ago at Reykjavik on a goal of cutting in half the superpower arsenals of strategic weapons--those with ranges of more than 3,000 miles. But the two sides remain far apart on the details of a strategic arms reduction treaty, which could become the most significant superpower agreement of the post-World War II era.

Max M. Kampelman, chief American negotiator at the Geneva arms control talks, says the two sides have already agreed to a joint draft treaty, although significant differences remain on many of the most important issues. He says he believes some of these matters will be resolved at the summit, although there is no possibility that a final agreement can be reached there. The disputes include ways to prevent cheating and the limits on specific weapons.

Strategic defenses: Ever since Reagan announced his goal of a Strategic Defense Initiative that could defend against incoming ballistic missiles, the Soviets have sought to restrict the program, which is popularly known as "Star Wars." The Reykjavik summit broke down over Gorbachev's demands for curbs on the program. Gorbachev now says the Soviets have no objection to basic research on strategic defenses, a scientific effort he said Moscow is also engaged in, but he objects to any anti-ballistic missile program that would violate the 1972 ABM treaty.

Both sides agree that the treaty bars deployment of the system envisioned by the U.S. effort, although the Soviets insist that it also bars testing of anti-missile components and the Administration maintains that it does not. The treaty permits either side to pull out after giving six months' notice. Moscow wants the two countries to agree not to withdraw for 10 years, in effect preventing strategic defense deployment for that long. Washington is prepared to agree to remain in the treaty until at least 1994.

Conventional arms: U.S. officials say the most destabilizing element of the military balance in Europe is the substantial superiority of the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies in conventional weapons, especially tanks and other armored vehicles. The United States and its NATO allies hope to negotiate substantial cuts in conventional and chemical arsenals in Europe.

Kampelman says the United States is prepared to discuss the matter at the summit, although Washington believes the matter must be settled between NATO and the Warsaw Pact as blocs rather than by the United States and the Soviet Union acting alone.


Cultural Exchanges: U.S. officials say Reagan and Gorbachev may agree to increase people-to-people and scientific exchanges. There has already been lower-level discussion of cooperation in basic science and in development of improved methods of transportation. Exchanges of art exhibits, symphony orchestras, pop stars and ballet troupes are also under consideration.

Embassies: The United States accuses the Soviet secret police of honeycombing the new U.S. Embassy in Moscow with listening devices. Washington is considering a plan to virtually rebuild the top floors of the new embassy to ensure security and plans to demand that the Soviet Union pay at least a substantial part of the bill for the repairs.

Until the U.S. Embassy is considered to be ready for occupation, the United States is refusing to allow the Soviet Union to occupy the new Soviet Embassy compound in Washington. Construction of the Soviet complex is complete, and the Soviets want to move in.


Emigration: The United States insists that the Soviet Union should live up to the human rights provisions of the Helsinki accords of 1975, including the right of any person to leave any country, including his own. U.S. concern is concentrated in three categories: Jews who want to go either to Israel or some other country; Soviet citizens married to or engaged to Americans, and Soviet citizens who want to join family members in the United States.

Jewish emigration is up sharply from last year, but the pace of 700 to 900 a month is far below 1979, when 51,000 Soviet Jews were allowed to leave. U.S. officials estimate that as many as 350,000 Jewish citizens want to emigrate.

Nine Soviet citizens married or engaged to Americans have been permitted to emigrate this year, but nine similar cases remain unresolved. More than half of the 125 cases on the divided families list have been resolved this year, and Reagan plans to press Gorbachev to settle the rest of them.

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