VIENNA (May. 19)
Secretary of State Henry A, Kissinger has informed Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A, Gromyko that American Middle East policy will be established only after President Ford has held his meetings with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt in Salzburg June 1-2 and with Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin in Washington June 11-12, American sources here said today.
Kissinger and Gromyko held the first of three meetings scheduled during the two diplomats’ 16-hour sojourn in Vienna. It took place at the Imperial Hotel where Kissinger is staying. The second meeting will be at the Soviet Embassy.
The meetings are the first between Kissinger and Gromyko since the end of the Vietnam war. American sources said that the Soviet Foreign Minister sought to probe Kissinger on the U.S. Middle East position and especially the early resumption of the Geneva peace conference, but Kissinger remained non-committal pending the outcome of the Ford meetings with Sadat and Rabin.
Nevertheless, sources here noted, the U.S. is not disposed toward an early reopening of the Geneva conference and Kissinger will try to persuade his Soviet counterpart that such a multinational conference would have difficulties making progress. Kissinger told reporters that he and Gromyko “would discuss problems which would secure peace for all people.”
A subject high on the agenda of their meeting is the American initiative for a U.S. -Soviet treaty limiting offensive nuclear weapons. The sources said Kissinger and Gromyko may prepare the ground-work for the signing of an arms pact when Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid I, Brezhnev visits Ford in Washington later this year.