Weary Gorbachev Will Rap with Private Americans as Well as Bush With PM-Summit Rdp, Bjt
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Mikhail S. Gorbachev, hosting a luncheon for American thinkers and performers, said today he needs time to accomplish radical economic reforms in the Soviet Union.
Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa, tossed a lunch party for some of America’s best-known personalities including actress and aerobics guru Jane Fonda, actor Gregory Peck, writer Ray Bradbury and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Jesse Jackson was the only politician on the guest list.
In his remarks, Gorbachev appealed for more cooperation between the Americans and the Soviets, and told his guests that, like a pregnant woman, his country needs at least nine months to give birth to economic reforms.
″We need time,″ he said to his guests who were seated at crystal-laden tables underneat chandeliers in an ornate reception room at the Soviet Embassy. The Gorbachevs are staying at the building about six blocks from the White House.
Others on the guest list included Robert Redford, Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Jack Lemmon, Dizzy Gillespie and Van Cliburn, J. Carter Brown, director of the National Gallery of Art and Derek C. Bok, outgoing president of Harvard University.
Before lunch, the Gorbachevs sped down to the White House in a motorcade for opening summit ceremonies on the South Lawn under the brilliantly sunny skies.
Dressed in a dark suit, Gorbachev talked of the ″serious work″ that he and Bush needed to do to reduce deadly nuclear weapons.
But he struck a conciliatory note as he stressed his desire for more contacts between Americans and Soviets. Gorbachev said he wants to see even more trade, people-to-people exchanges, cultural and scientific cooperation and information exchanges.
″This generation of people on earth may witness the advent of an irreversible period of peace in the history of civilization,″ he said. ″The walls ... are collapsing. The trenches of the Cold War are dissappearing. Mistrust and animostity is vanishing.″
While Bush and Gorbachev have their differences, they immediately agreed on one thing: Not to answer reporters’ questions in the Oval Office in advance of their 90-minute negotiations.
″I have been told by the president that the current policy is there are no questions during the photo opportunity,″ he said.
Gorbachev’s wife, dressed in a red suit, stood with First Lady Barbara Bush as their husbands’ opened the summit.
Gorbachev will meet twice with President Bush at the White House today and attend a state dinner in the evening. After more sessions Friday, the pair will relax at Camp David, Md., the presidential retreat in Maryland on Saturday.