News In Brief
President Reagan said yesterday he would deploy his ``star wars'' missile shield unilaterally if he could not get other world leaders to agree on a system to defend against nuclear attack. Mr. Reagan said his comments last week to Soviet journalists, in which he appeared to make deployment of a star-wars system contingent on dismantling offensive weapons, were misinterpreted.Skip to next paragraph
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In a wide-ranging interview yesterday with correspondents of Western news agencies, the President also said:
He believes it is possible the Soviets orchestrated three recent incidents in which Soviet citizens including Vitaly Yurchenko, tried to defect to the US, then said they wanted to return home.
There is ``every indication'' that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is ``a reasonable man''; that gives Reagan hope he can convince the Communist Party chief at their summit meeting that the US is not expansionist.
He welcomes word from Moscow that Yelena Bonner, wife of Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, will be permitted to leave the country for medical treatment, saying that an exit visa is ``long overdue.'' But he said that won't prevent the US from raising human rights at the summit.
He would not comment when asked if the US wanted to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Qadaffi. In an about-face on the issue of his Strategic Defense Initiative, Reagan said that ``if and when we finally achieve our goal, and that is a weapon that is effective against incoming missiles . . . then, rather than add to the distrust in the world and appear to be seeking the potential for a first strike by rushing to implement, my concept has always been that we sit down with the other nuclear powers, our allies and our adversaries, and see if we cannot use that weapon to bring about . . . the elimination of nuclear weapons.''
If the summit failed to gain an agreement for mutual use of the defensive system, he added, ``we would go ahead with deployment.''
US arms officials see give in superpowers' positions
Chief US arms control negotiator Max H. Kampelman said yesterday he saw ``some narrowing'' of the gap between US and Soviet positions at the Geneva talks as a result of both sides' recent proposals. Speaking just one day before the end of the third round of talks -- the final round before the US-Soviet summit -- Mr. Kampelman characterized the mood of the talks as ``serious and constructive.''
In Brussels, chief US arms control adviser Paul H. Nitze said the Soviet Union has formally proposed an agreement limiting US and Soviet medium-range nuclear weapons.
Mr. Nitze said the Soviets were willing to consider such an agreement separately from the two other arms control issues being negotiated in Geneva: long-range nuclear missiles and space weapons.
At a news conference at NATO headquarters, Nitze said this was an important departure from past Soviet policy, which had insisted that any US-Soviet agreement in Geneva cover all three issues.
Marcos says he'll select his January running mate
President Ferdinand E. Marcos said yesterday he will select a running mate for January's special election who could govern well ``if anything happens to the President.'' His wife Imelda denied speculation she would be his running mate. He said he will ask the ruling New Society Movement to let him make the choice when it holds a special meeting tomorrow to discuss the election he has pledged to hold Jan. 17.
Government offices in Bogot'a invaded by band of gunmen