Former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger called on his successor to make clear to the Soviet Union that "another move of the kind we have seen in Angola and Ethiopia" would be fatal to a new arms limitation agreement and to detente.
"Under those circumstances I do not see how any agreement could possibly be ratified and how detente could possibly survive," said Kissinger in an appearance before the International Radio and Television Society on Wednesday.
Kissinger said he hopes that Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance will be successful in his current Moscow negotiations on a strategic arms treaty and that such an agreement "should not be lightly linked" with other issues. But he said additional Soviet moves - presumably including intervention in southern Africa, which he discussed as a reported threat - would raise "the presumption that we are facing a global geopolitical challenge incompatible with any definition of detente."
In January 1976, Kissinger, as secretary of state, sought to link Soviet-Cuban intervention in Angola with the strategic arms agreement then under negotiation. In a much publicized incident, Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev ruled Angola off the agenda of Moscow meetings with Kissinger.
In his speech to the broadcasters, Kissinger charged that the Soviet purpose in Ethiopia is "to outflank the Middle East, to demostrate that the U.S. cannot protect its friends, to raise doubts in Saudi Arabi . . . Egypt, in the Sudan and in Iran."
He also declared that the United States cannot conduct its foreign policy "under the threat of possible intervention of Cuban troops." He said "the ridiculous myth of the invincible Cubans" is a sign of a declining U.S. world position "inflicted on ourselves" through Vietnam, Watergate and internal disputes.
In a related development, the State Department made public a new estimate that 38,000 to 39,000 Cuban troops are now in Africa. The department said 19,000 to 20,000 Cuban troops are in Angola; 16,000 or 17,000 in Ethiopia, and smaller numbers in 11 other countries. The figures released yesterday diftered little from previous estimates.