Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, reporting on his recent trip to Moscow, told President Bush Saturday the Kremlin understands the foreign policy review under way in Washington and believes it will provide "a good basis for a long-term relationship."
Kissinger met with Bush for 45 minutes in the Oval Office to discuss talks he and other members of the bipartisan Trilateral Commission, which advises presidents on trade and foreign policy issues, had with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and other Kremlin leaders.Kissinger, who has cautioned the new administration to go slow in taking the next step in superpower negotiations, delivered a message to Gorbachev from Bush during his trip to the Soviet Union and told reporters that he brought back a "friendly reply."
White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater, who declined to give details of the message Bush sent to the Soviet leader, described Gorbachev's response as a "greeting, general in nature . . . very warm and friendly."
Vice President Dan Quayle, Secretary of State James Baker, national security adviser Brent Scowcroft and chief of staff John Sununu attended the meeting between Bush and Kissinger.
Fitzwater said the president was "very interested" in Kissinger's views.
After the meeting, Kissinger visited with Scowcroft, his protege who served in the same post when Kissinger was secretary of state in the Nixon and Ford administrations.
"I think the Soviet leaders understand the review that is under way will provide a good basis for a long-term relationship," Kissinger said.
He said he thought the Reagan administration had "made a major contribution" to improved relations and "it is now time to put it in a larger context."
"I can only repeat I had no impression of impatience" on the part of Soviet leaders for a quick summit," Kissinger said. But he predicted there would be a meeting within 12 months while at the same time saying he had no tangible basis for the forecast.
Chiding reporters for questioning the go-slow approach, Kissinger said, "My frank opinion is that you people are a lot more anxious than the Soviets are. They seem more relaxed.
As for the perestroika reforms in the Soviet Union, Kissinger said it was his view that "we should concentrate on foreign policy and we should let them deal with domestic policy."