President Reagan announced Tuesday that he will meet Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland, October 11-12 to prepare for a summit conference in Washington.
Secretary of State George Shultz, who appeared with Reagan for the White House announcement, said that, as in all meetings with the Soviet Union, human rights will be discussed along with arms control, bilateral problems and regional issues. “You can be sure we are going to keep the subject of human rights on the agenda,” Shultz said.
The announcement came as Nicholas Daniloff, the U.S. News and World Report correspondent arrested in Moscow on charges of spying August 30, was en route to Washington after being allowed to leave the USSR Monday.
The White House statement also was made shortly after Gennadi Zakharov, a Soviet employee of the United Nations, pleaded no contest to three charges of spying in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y. Shultz said that Zakharov would leave the United States for the Soviet Union Tuesday afternoon.
ORLOV TO BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE USSR
He also announced that Yuri Orlov, the 62-year-old founder of the Moscow Helsinki Watch whom he called “a giant of the Soviet human rights movement,” would be allowed to depart the Soviet Union for the U.S. with his wife, Irina, by October 7. Orlov, a physicist, had been a close associate of Anatoly Shcharansky until his arrest for “anti-Soviet activities” in October 1977.
U.S. officials had charged that Daniloff’s arrest a week after Zakharov’s was a “frameup” aimed at taking a hostage to obtain Zakharov’s release. But Reagan denied this Tuesday, saying there was “no connection between: the two releases.” However, he noted that “the release of Daniloff made the meeting ( in Iceland ) possible. I could not have accepted that meeting if he was still being held.”
Shultz said that Gorbachev requested the meeting in a letter delivered by Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze at the White House September 19. Shevardnadze held a press conference in New York Tuesday at the same time as Reagan and Shultz were meeting with reporters in Washington.
SPECULATION ABOUT JEWISH REFUSENIKS
There had been speculation that along with Orlov the Soviets would allow two Soviet Jewish refuseniks to leave, Vladimir Slepak, who has been seeking to emigrate since 1970, and David Goldfarb, a refusenik since 1979 whose exit visa was taken away after he refused to help frame Daniloff.
Other speculation had centered on three Jewish refuseniks suffering from advanced cancer. They are: Inna Meiman and her husband, Naum; Tanye Bogomolny and her husband Benjamin Benjamin, and Benjamin Charney.
Neither Reagan nor Shultz would comment about the possibility of others being allowed to emigrate. “We have a continuing dialogue with the Soviet Union about a large number of dissidents, about divided families, about emigration generally,” Shultz said. “So there is an ongoing urging of them to take action in those areas. So we’ll continue that now.”
REACTIONS TO ORLOV’S RELEASE
The National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ) welcomed Orlov’s release, calling him “a long-time advocate of human rights,” who “has suffered greatly in prison, labor camps and Siberian exile.”
“We are greatly disappointed, however, that the Soviet Union has refused to make any significant gestures to ease the plight of Soviet Jews,” an NCSJ spokesman said.” Hundreds of refuseniks continue to live in limbo while others unjustifiably suffer in labor camps.
“We hope, therefore, that progress toward a real summit will be made during the pre-summit meeting in Iceland and that all the brush will be cleared away. We have confidence that the Administration is proceeding on its promise to press the issue of Jewish rights and emigration at the summit and to help secure the immediate transit of those hundreds of thousands of Jews who wish to be repatriated to Israel and to join their families.”
The Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry (UCSJ), whose board was meeting in Washington Tuesday, sent a telegram to Reagan, urging him to seek a full settlement of the Soviet Jewry problem when he meets with Gorbachev.
“We have confidence in President Reagan’s concern for Soviet Jewry and we trust that this issue will be on the table at the summit,” said Pamela Cohen, of Chicago, the UCSJ’s newly elected president.
The telegram expressed appreciation for the Administration’s efforts to obtain exit visas for specific Jewish families. “New is the time to negotiate full freedom of emigration for all who wish to leave in accordance with the Helsinki Final Act which was signed by the Soviet Union,” the UCSJ stressed.
The site of the meeting in the capital of Iceland may make it more difficult for Jewish and other groups to be on hand to publicize their issues as they did when Reagan and Gorbachev held their first summit in Geneva in November, 1985. In addition, the first day of the meeting is a Saturday and the second is the eve of Yom Kippur.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.