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Shultz Talks Tough About Soviets In Major Foreign Policy Address

February 6, 1988

SEATTLE (AP) _ Despite hopeful signs of new openness and restructuring in the Soviet Union, U.S.-Soviet relations probably will never be ″normal,″ Secretary of State George Shultz says.

Shultz, appearing at the University of Washington on Friday, advocated a continued ″robust″ U.S. military budget based on the concept of nuclear deterrence and ″vigorous″ pursuit of the Strategic Defense Initiative, also known as Star Wars.

″I find it difficult to believe that our relations with the Soviet Union will ever be normal in the sense we have normal relations with most other countries. ... It seems unlikely that the U.S.-Soviet relationship will ever lose what always has been and is today a strongly wary and at times adversarial element,″ Shultz said.

Yet Shultz acknowledged new openness in the Soviet Union and said Americans should welcome Soviet modernization to the extent it squares with U.S. interests for world peace.

He said the long-range U.S. goal is a Soviet Union that does not try to intimidate its own people or other countries.

A stable stable U.S.-Soviet relationship depends on the Soviet Union taking ″concrete steps to resolve critical problems,″ Shultz said. ″The Soviets seem increasingly to understand that reality.″

Still, he warned, ″We must deal with the Soviet Union as it is, not as we wish it to be. The Soviet system is just beginning an attempt at economic reform. It has barely scratched the surface at structural political reform.″

Shultz said it was up to the Soviets whether a treaty to cut strategic nuclear weapons in half would be ready for signing at the superpower summit meeting in Moscow in late May or June.

″Much remains to be done″ also on measures to guard against cheating should the two sides go ahead with a 50 percent reduction in their overall arsenals of long-range bombers, land-based missiles and missile-carrying submarines, he said.

SDI, or Star Wars, is aimed at erecting a defense against Soviet ballistic missiles in space with advanced technology and nuclear weapons. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has said it threatens to extend the arms race into space.

But Shultz said the program was ″essential both because of Soviet strategic defense programs, and because it may establish a basis in the future for a safer way to secure international peace.″

At one point during the speech, Shultz was interrupted by demonstrators who entered Meany Hall chanting, ″Free Palestine. End the occupation.″

Five people were arrested and relesed, and no charges were filed, said University of Washington Police Lt. Jon Brouelette.

About 200 demonstrators outside called for an end to U.S. aid for Israel, an end to support for the Contra rebels fighting Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government and stronger U.S. policy against apartheid in South Africa.

Some protesters carried signs with pictures of Ben Linder, a University of Washington engineering graduate killed by the U.S.-backed Contras in Nicaragua while he was working on a hydroelectric project.

Shultz did not comment on Central America during his speech, but during a brief question-and-answer session, he was asked about an alleged scheme between Lt. Col. Oliver North and Panamanian strongman Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega.

Shultz said he knew nothing about a scheme in which North and Noriega allegedly plotted to divert a shipload of East-bloc weapons to El Salvador and make it appear the weapons were sent by Nicaragua. The report on the purported scheme came from Jose Blandon, a former Panamanian consul general in New York.

Panama needs an elected civilian government, and Noriega, who was indicted in Miami on drug charges Friday, ″shouldn’t be there,″ Shultz said.

After his talk, Shultz met for several minutes with Mrs. Arkadi Beinus of Mercer Island, who has been trying for 12 years to gain permission for her daughter and son-in-law, Elena and Ilya Besprozvanny, to emigrate with their son from the Soviet Union. The meeting was arranged by Rep. John Miller, R- Wash.

Ilya Besprozvanny was a marine engineer, and the Soviet Union has cited national security as its reason for refusing the exit visas, Miller’s office said.