Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev congratulated President Bush and told him renewed efforts could bring them closer to "the solution to the most painful problems of the present time," it was disclosed Saturday.
Bush aides said Gorbachev made the remarks in a letter hand-delivered by Soviet Ambassador Yuri Dubinin to the new president's designated national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, Friday afternoon.Bush told reporters at the White House Saturday morning that he would respond promptly and personally to the "nice, very generous letter, a letter pledging, you know, to work for world peace."
Bush has stressed recently he will not be rushed into deeper negotiations toward a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty until his own administration can review the record compiled under President Reagan. He struck a similarly cautious tone toward U.S.-Soviet relations throughout his 1988 campaign.
**** Text of Gorbachev's letter to President Bush
Esteemed Mr. George Bush: Please accept congratulations on the occasion of your inauguration as president of the United States of America.
You are taking over leadership of the United States in an atmosphere of improved Soviet-American relations which contributes to bettering substantially the international climate on the whole. Further joint efforts by the Soviet Union and the United States will make it possible substantially to bring closer the solution to the most painful problems of the present time, above all, those connected with the need to eliminate the threat of war.
I express the hope that the years of your high tenure as president of the United States will be marked by the stable and diverse development of relations between our countries, so important for peace throughout the world. The Soviet Union, for its part, is prepared to work in this direction."