Soviets Not Planning to Join Satellite Consortium
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Soviet Union is not planning to join Intelsat at the present time, a spokesman for the international satellite consortium said Friday.
A proposed memorandum of understanding that Intelsat and the Soviet Union are now discussing contains ″no talk about membership,″ Jose Luis Alegrett, Intelsat deputy director, told reporters.
″We do hope″ the agreement will eventually lead to Soviet membership but that decision is up to the Soviets, Alegrett said. The consortium’s charter permits the Soviets to join at any time.
When news of the proposed agreement between Intelsat leaked out earlier this week, it had raised speculation that the Soviets were preparing to join.
Intelsat, based here, is a non-profit cooperative of 109 countries that owns and operates the global satellite system used for international communications. It carries two-thirds of the Earth’s telephone traffic and virtually all intercontinental television.
Members of the Soviet bloc operate Intersputnik, a smaller satellite network.
Alegrett said the memorandum grew out of Intelsat-Soviet talks that began in 1979, but it will mostly contain technical information formalizing links between the two.
Although the Soviets are not an Intelsat member, they are hooked into the network, Alegrett noted. The U.S.-Soviet ″hotline″ used for crisis communications between the superpowers’ leaders is carried by Intelsat.