Former Soviet Minister Plans U.S. Visit
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Former Soviet Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze plans to visit the United States in May, his first visit since he resigned last December, according to documents obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
Shevardnadze plans to arrive on May 4 and visit Washington, Chicago, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Miami and Minneapolis, according to a memo prepared by Nancy Soderberg, the chief foreign policy adviser to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.
Kennedy earlier this week invited Shevardnadze to a formal dinner at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston on May 10. According to the memo by Soderberg, Shevardnadze is to deliver the commencement address at Boston University on Sunday, May 12.
University spokesman Kevin Carleton would neither confirm nor deny that Shevardnadze will be the speaker. He said the university would announce its choice Monday.
Kennedy’s press secretary, Paul Donovan, said, ″We don’t discuss private correspondence.″
An official with the U.S. Information Agency, which handles foreign visits by important Soviet citizens, said she was aware that Shevardnadze planned to visit next month but had no further details. ″It’s probably still a maybe until he gets off the plane,″ said the official, Liza Malott.
Soviet Embassy Spokesman George Oganov said he had no information on the Shevardnadze trip. ″It doesn’t come through official channels,″ because Shevardnadze is no longer a government official, he said.
But Sergei Tarasenko, a Soviet ambassador-at-large, is arranging Shevardnadze’s schedule in the United States, according to Soderberg.
In his letter of invitation, Kennedy wrote, ″My brother dedicated his life to making the world safe for diversity and your presence at his library would be a fitting tribute to the goals you both share. The evening would include other members of my family and other individuals from around the nation who follow events in the Soviet Union.″
Kennedy also invited Shevardnadze to the family compound in the Hyannisport section of Barnstable, Mass., on Cape Cod. Shevardnadze and his wife would stay in President Kennedy’s home on the compound grounds.
Washington’s George F. Kennan Institute for Soviet Studies has also invited Shevardnadze to speak.
Shevardnadze stunned the Soviet government and his longtime friend, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, on Dec. 20, when he told the Soviet Congress that he was quitting because hard-liners were pushing the country toward dictatorship.
In a recent interview, Shevardnadze reiterated the point.
″Everybody agrees the country is in a crisis - chaos and anarchy are coming,″ Shevardnadze said. ″At the same time, many people deny the possibility of a dictatorship.″