Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci flew to the Crimea Wednesday to visit the Black Sea fleet and have lunch with Soviet President Andrei Gromyko at the site of the historic Yalta Conference.
Carlucci began the third day of his unprecedented visit by departing Moscow on an American Boeing jet for Simferopol. From there he will travel by car to Yalta and Livadia Palace to meet Gromyko for lunch.Gromyko, 78, was the young Soviet ambassador to the United States when Soviet leader Josef Stalin met President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at Yalta in February 1945 to discuss a postwar settlement.
After Yalta, Carlucci will travel to Sevastapol, site of a major naval base, to be received by the commander of the Black Sea fleet in another example of the military "glasnost," or openness, that Carlucci has praised.
On Tuesday, Carlucci was allowed to sit at the controls of the secret Blackjack bomber, the largest and most modern Soviet aircraft that can strike deep into the American heartland. He also visited the Taman Division army base for a military exercise.
"No information was withheld from us," he said Tuesday. "Indeed as I sat in the cockpit of the Blackjack bomber with my military aide and Soviet pilot, both of us asked questions of the Soviet pilot. He answered all our questions correctly and promptly."
Ending the second day of an unprecedented four-day official visit, Carlucci announced Tuesday he had invited his counterpart, Soviet Defense Minister Dmitri Yazov, to the United States. He said the Soviet general had accepted.
Carlucci also said Soviet staff chief Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev and Adm. William Crowe Jr., chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, have agreed to set up a working group to avoid dangerous incidents such as the recent bumping of American and Soviet ships in the Black Sea.