WASHINGTON (Jan. 16)
The White House said today that President Ford “is determined to continue his pursuit of a policy of relaxing tensions with the Soviet Union.” The affirmation that detente goes on despite Moscow’s repudiation of the 1972 U.S.-Soviet trade pact on grounds of interference in Soviet internal affairs on the emigration issue, was made by White House Press Secretary Ron Nessen.
“The President believes that improved U.S.-Soviet relations are important to world peace and international stability,” Nessen said. He stated that the President agreed fully with Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s assessment that the U.S.-Soviet trade problem would not harm other aspects of detente.
Asked how the Secretary could hold that belief when he stated in 1972 that the key to detente was trade, Nessen cited “significant agreements in improving our relations with the Russians in other areas” since 1972. He was apparently referring to the new nuclear arms limitation understanding reached between President Ford and Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev at their Vladivostok meeting last November and to overall cooperation between the two countries.