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Gorbachev Will Visit California, Officials Say

May 15, 1990|DAVID LAUTER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev will visit San Francisco next month after his summit with President Bush, White House officials said Monday.

Soviet planners have given the White House only sketchy information on Gorbachev's itinerary so far but officials said they expect the Soviet leader to arrive in California the evening of Sunday, June 3. He will stay overnight, then tour the Bay Area on June 4, visiting the Stanford University campus. He is expected to stay only one day before leaving for home.

There was no indication that Gorbachev plans to visit Southern California, officials said. Former President Ronald Reagan has invited the Soviet leader to visit him, but the Soviets have not contacted Reagan's office, a spokesman said.

Word of the Bay Area visit, still not officially announced, surprised city officials, Stanford professors and local promoters of such a trip.

"I've been hearing from everybody under the sun, but I, myself, know nothing yet," said Harry Orbelian of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, who has been working on a Gorbachev visit to the city. Last month, Orbelian took a team of Soviet advance men around San Francisco to study logistics for a possible visit. "They said we would hear around the middle of this month," he said.

At Stanford, officials rushed out a press release saying that they had "no official confirmation of Mr. Gorbachev's interest" but that the university had "indications from a number of unofficial sources" that a visit is likely.

Gorbachev is due to arrive in Washington on May 30 to begin his meetings with Bush. The meetings are slated to begin formally with a welcoming ceremony the next day and will wind up with a visit to Bush's Camp David retreat in the Maryland mountains on June 2.

White House officials had been expecting Gorbachev to stay overnight at Camp David but now say that he may leave Washington that night to fly to Minnesota, where he would meet with Midwestern leaders before flying on to California.

Gorbachev's advance team indicated that the Soviet leader wants to meet with "top people from the business community, bankers, investors" in an effort to increase business ties between the eastern part of the Soviet Union and the West Coast, Orbelian said. In addition, the advance team asked about large hotel ballrooms in the city, indicating that Gorbachev might be planning a public speech while in town.

At Stanford, officials said, the Soviet leader is likely to visit members of the university's economics department and the Center for Economic Policy Research as well as the conservative Hoover Institution.

The last major Russian official to spend time at Hoover was Alexander Kerensky, the country's last non-Communist leader who was overthrown by the Bolsheviks in 1917.

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