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Gorbachev Arrives in U.S.; Summit Fever Grips Capital : Shultz at Airport for Welcoming

December 07, 1987|Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev arrived in the United States today for a third summit with President Reagan as the American side talked cautiously of the outcome and the Soviets raised "great expectations."

An air of excitement and drama filled the capital. Red Soviet flags with the hammer and sickle were posted beside the Stars and Stripes along Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House for the first time since June, 1973, when Leonid I. Brezhnev met with Richard M. Nixon.

Accompanied by his wife, Raisa, Gorbachev flew to Washington aboard a blue-and-white Aeroflot jetliner from London after brief talks with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

He was greeted at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington by Secretary of State George P. Shultz and his wife, Helena--a simple welcome with no ruffles or flourishes--with a formal arrival ceremony set for Tuesday at the White House.

Will of the World

In arrival remarks, Gorbachev said he was searching for "better relations between our two peoples. . . . I wish peace and well-being to all Americans." He also said he hoped for "new words" from the American side on arms reduction.

During his stopover in Britain, Gorbachev told Thatcher the intermediate-range missile (INF) treaty expresses the will of "all the countries of the world, of the people who want to have peace who are striving for disarmament, for a better world, for a non-nuclear world."

Reagan and Gorbachev will begin three days of talks at the White House on Tuesday and sign the treaty to abolish intermediate-range missiles from the superpowers' arsenals.

A huge security force was in place to protect the leaders.

Early in the morning, police cordoned off the block of 16th Street in front of the Soviet Embassy, four blocks from the White House--the most visible of the intense security measures.

The Secret Service, Washington municipal police and other federal authorities joined forces with the KGB to provide security and escort service for Gorbachev and his entourage. The Soviets transported a fleet of Zil limousines to Washington for use during the visit.

'Crucial Importance'

With the INF treaty nailed down, there were hopes for progress for a more important agreement to cut strategic nuclear missiles, the most deadly weapons, by half.

"We think this summit is of crucial importance. We think we can begin on the road to nuclear disarmament," said Gennady Gerasimov, the Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman. He added, "We have great expectations and we think it will be a success."

Reagan, during a picture-taking session as he was commencing a meeting at the White House with his military Joint Chiefs of Staff, talked in glowing terms of the INF treaty.

"I've always said I'd rather have no treaty than one that doesn't add to our security and that of our allies," he said. "The INF treaty meets that test; it's a solid accomplishment for the United States and our allies."

Reagan said that in addition to signing a treaty "that will eliminate an entire class of offensive nuclear missiles, I want to use the summit to move forward in other areas." And he specifically mentioned the START issue.

Wants Verifiable Treaty

The President said he wants an agreement on long-range weapons, "but only if it's a good one, one we can verify, which enhances our security."

His spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater, stressed that there are many obstacles standing in the way of a strategic arms agreement.

"We certainly are not in a hurry to negotiate any agreement that isn't sound, that isn't verifiable, that isn't in the best interest of the United States," Fitzwater said.

"We'll have to work very hard. We'll be busy little beavers, no doubt about it," Fitzwater said.

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