Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin said in a Kremlin meeting today with U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell that the Senate should "promptly ratify" the new Soviet-American strategic arms limitation treaty (SALT II), Bell told reporters.
While Kosygin did not say what would happen if the Senate failed to ratify the treaty signed June 18 in Vienna by President Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, his remarks continue the tough Kremlin line on the ratifiction question that has emerged since the summit.
Bell, in a press conference at the U.S. Embassy afterward, described his 75-minutes meeting as a "courtesy call," and indicated that there was virtually no substaintive exchange of views between the two.
He said Kosygin, 75, who last year lost his temper during a meeting with a Senate delegation, was "courteous throughout. He feels strongly about SALT and that it should be promptly ratified by the Senate," the attorney general reported.
"I counseled some understanding of our system," Bell said, telling Kosygin that the forthcoming Senate debate "doesn't mean the Senate won't ratify the treaty, but they want answers on verification and to be assured that this is a fair treaty to both sides."
Bell, who has been leading an American Bar Assocation delegation on a two-week tour of the Soviet Union, said he told Kosygin that no one should try to lecture or pressure the Senate in such matters."He receive my explanation in seemingly good humor," Bell said.
Both Brezhnev and Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko have warned that the Kremlin will not accept any changes in the treaty. Gromyko on Monday specifically ruled out reopening negotiations if the treaty is amended or rejected by the Senate.
Bell also said he had raised the fate of jailed Jewish dissident Anatoli Scharansky with Soviet Interior Minister Nikolai Schelokov, but had gotten no response.
In other matters, Bell said he discussed the problem of Indochinese refugees with Kosygin, calling it a "world problem," but Kosygin made no offer of help.
"We're doing all we can," Bell said he told Kosygin, "and any help we could get would be appreciated. [Kosygin] didn't promise to do anything at all." Bell gave the Soviet prime minister a copy of the Tokyo summit leaders' pledge to aid the thousands of refugees from Vietnam and China. The Soviet so far have turned their backs on the problem.
The attorney general did not give the Soviets a list of jailed or exiled "prisoners of conscience," as has been past practice of visiting high-level U.S. delegations. He and his group leave the Soviet Union Saturday for the United States.