The Soviet Union's leading adviser on American affairs rejected the former Kissinger policy of "linkage" tonight but said the Carter human rights campaign may nonetheless bring back the "cold war."
Georgi A. Arbatov, director of the prestigious Institute of U.S. and Canadian Studies and close adviser to Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev, told an audience at Massachusetts Institute of Technonlogy that the human rights campaign has created an "atmosphere of hostility."
"You cannot make the solution of one problem dependent on the preliminary solution of another problem," he said, rejecting the policy of linking issues that former Secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger claimed to share with Soviet leaders.
"At the same time," Arbatov continued, "it would be naive to think you can make progress in the solution of difficult and important problems while charging the atmosphere with hostility and mistrust."
He said that the human rights campaign, as well as President Carter's support for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty the week before Secretary of State Cyrus Vance's recent arms negotiations in Moscow, raises "a lot of questions about American intentions" and undermines the "mutual confidence" that is fundamental to stable U.S.-Soviet relations.
Disregard for such confidence on the part of American officials, the press and individuals contributed to the failure of the Vance mission to make much progress in the negotiations, he claimed.
Arbatov scored the view expressed by many high American officials that the comprehensive U.S. proposal to reduce current missile levels was too much, too soon for the Soviet.
He said it was rejected "precisely because the package was understood too well - understood as violating the initial premise of equality and providing for U.S. one-sided advantage."
Carter has in recent days invited the Soviets to make specific suggestions and offered to change his reduction proposal. Arbatov, however, said "there just isn't and can hardly be another acceptable SALT II" other than the Vlalivostok accord reached between Brezhnev and former President Ford in 1974.
Arbatov, pessimistic about the future, said the "huge war machine" in both countries has become selfperpetuating. The escalation of nuclear weapons and their technology now threatens td destabilize relations between the two superpowers, he said.
He placed the blame on this country, citing American development of multiple, independently targeted warheads and cruise missile systems as "insurmountable obstacles" for Soviet verification.
This is the reverse of the U.S. contention that the Soviets' refusal to allow on-site inspections presents a verification problem.
Arbatov said there is a "gross" misunderstanding in this country about human rights in the Soviet Union.