State Department Says Nyet to Soviet Consul With AM-Lithuania, Bjt
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. (AP) _ Soviet reaction to the unrest in Lithuania prompted the U.S. State Department to cancel a Soviet diplomat’s speech at a small college here, school officials said Friday.
Soviet General Consul Gennady Zolotov was scheduled to speak Friday evening on changing conditions in his country and improved relations with the United States, said Roz Parry, a spokeswoman for Sierra Nevada College.
Late Thursday, however, Parry said the State Department, which must approve any trip of more than 25 miles from the diplomat’s San Francisco base, told Zolotov to stay home. The order came after the Soviets refused to give an American consular official in Leningrad a travel permit to visit Lithuania.
Kim Lamberty of the State Department’s Soviet section said the policy between the two countries remains one of strict reciprocity: If one nation denies the request of another for an official visit, the rebuff draws an immediate rejection by the other, Parry said.
Zolotov was next on the list of Soviets scheduled for an appearance in the U.S., Parry said.
″It’s so terminally silly it’s almost difficult to take it seriously,″ said Mark Hurtubise, dean of the 165-student liberal arts college near Lake Tahoe.
″I would have liked to think that we (Americans) would be able to set an example for them in situations like this,″ he said. ″We should be playing the role model here, not just showing them that we can be as silly as they are.″
Evgueni Fokine, Soviet vice consul in San Francisco, was philosophical about the denial. ″It’s a matter of reciprocity,″ he said. ″It happens.
″Travel in Lithuania is being restricted because of the turmoil there,″ he said. ″Foreign diplomats have been ordered out because of the danger. Is there turmoil and danger in Incline Village?″