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Trudeau says Chernenko open to renewing detente

Canadian Prime Minister Peirre Trudeau says Konstantin Chernenko, the new Soviet leader, expressed a wish to return to the spirit of detente between East and West, Monitor correspondent Gary Thatcher reports.

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Mr. Trudeau said that during a 30-minute meeting with the new Soviet leader, "there was not a return to the stridency of the past."

Trudeau said Mr. Chernenko did not repeat earlier Soviet conditions on returning to negotiations with the United States over nuclear weapons.

[But in a Wednesday meeting with Cuba's Fidel Castro and Nicaraguan leftist leader Daniel Ortega Saavedra, Chernenko attacked US policy in Central America and what he called the "aggressive intrigues of US imperialism."]

Trudeau say the change of leadership in the Soviet Union may offer the Soviets an aooportunity to return to the bargaining table without appearing to lose face.

Some Kremlin-watchers recall that during the last transition, similarly optimistic statements were made about the possibility of new openings with the Soviet Union under Yuri Andropov. For the most part, they note, those prospects were never realized.

Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, who sat in on the meeting, pressed the West for specific proposals for bettering relations, Trudeau said. He said Gromyko did most of the give-and-take during the discussions.

Trudeau said the new Soviet leader stuck fairly closely to a written agenda.

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Trudeau was indefinite on whether or not he would continue his efforts to bring the world's superpowers together for a conference on nuclear disarmament. "Certainly," he said, his meeting here in Moscow -- the latest of 17 visits to world capitals -- "completes one cycle" of the effort.

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