The United States and the Soviet Union held a fourth meeting on the troops in Cuba issue here yesterday amid intensified policymaking and hints of renewed concern in the top ranks of the Carter administration.
President Carter arrived at the White House by helicopter from Camp David several hours ahead of schedule to head a meeting of his senior foreign policy advisers on the issue. White House press secretary Jody Powell said "there were decisions made," but he refused to disclose their nature or substance.
Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance left the meeting to see Soviet Ambassador Anatolly F. Dobrynin for 27 minutes at the State Department just before noon.
Dobrynin then proceeded to New York to meet Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko, who was arriving from Moscow for several weeks at the United Nations.
The White House meeting, according to informed sources, addressed the specifics of U.S. requirements for a successful resolution of the dispute. Carter and Vance have declared that the "status quo" involving the presence in Cuba of a Soviet combat brigade is unacceptable, but they have not said publicly what the United States demands that the Soviet Union do about it.
The president is reported to have been irritated at news reports last week suggesting that the issue might be resolved by redefining the Soviet force as a training rather than an operational unit. White House officials said Carter is determined to reject any "cosmetic solution" to the problem.
Reporters have been told there is agreement within the administration's top ranks on "general notions" of a negotiated settlement of the dispute. One of the aims of yesterday's White House meeting was to refine those general ideas.
Another topic of the meeting reportedly was contingency planning for countermoves if the troops issue cannot be settled through negotiations. Echoing a U.S. warning made known late last week by an administration official in a briefing for reporters, press secretary Powell said: "We have a right to expect the Soviet Union to respect our concerns (in Cuba) if they are to expect us to respect their concerns."
No details of possible U.S. counteractions were made public. Reporters were told late last week, without elaboration, that failure to resolve the troops issue would bring "certain negative consequences not of our desire" in U.S-Soviet relations.
Administration sources did not discourage speculation that a Vance- Gromyko meeting within the next few days might be the next step, but said that no such meeting is now scheduled.
With ratification of the strategic diplomatic negotiations. Nonetheless, there was a strong hint of growing concern about the talks in the personal participation by Carter in yes-been unusually secretive about the arms limitation treaty and much else in U.S-Soviet relations possible hinging on the outcome, both the White House and State Department have terday's policy review, a type of meeting he does not usually attend.
The Soviet Union, in its only authoritative public statement on the issue, said its troops have been in Cuba for 17 years to man "a training center," and that their functions have not changed.
After the United States made a public issue of the matter about two weeks ago, government researchers found several public statements by President John F. Kennedy referring to the presence of Soviet ground forces in Cuba after Soviet missiles and related technicians were withdrawn in settlement of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.
On Jan. 24, 1963, for example, Kennedy said "some organized units" of Soviet military remain in Cuba "exercising" and "building some barracks." It has not been established whether these organized units of nearly two decades ago are the Soviet combat brigade of the present dispute.