Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance and Soviet Ambassador Anatoliy F. Dobrynin met for 84 minutes at the State Department yesterday amid final preparations for President Carter's address tonight on Soviet forces in Cuba.
The meeting was not announced in advance, but State Department officials said it was not a surprise.
There was no indication that the two diplomats made any breakthrough in the impasse between the United States and the Soviet Union over a disputed Soviet troop presence in the Caribbean island.
Vance and Dobrynin have met on the issue five times before, with most of these sessions centering on U.S. requests for information about Soviet troops in Cuba. The United States maintains that the Russians have secretly maintained a "combat brigade" on the island, while the Soviet maintain that their forces are a longstanding "training center" for the Cubans.
Two meetings last week in New York between Vance and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko failed to achieve a negotiated settlement of the problem or to set out a promising means for future settlement. After the failure of the New York talks, President Carter went into intensive discussions of U.S. counteractions with top foreign policy aides and 15 former high officials convened as a council of "wise men."
White House spokesman Dale Leibach, following the Vance-Dobrynin meeting, said there was no change in Carter's plan to address the nation at 9 p.m. Leibach said the president was spending Sunday working on his address at Camp David. He is due back at the White House at 9:45 a.m. today.
A meeting of high administration officials was convened at the White House late yesterday, apparently to work on Carter's speech explaining his actions and announcing his decisions about the troops-in-Cuba issue. The White House said Carter had not summoned any speech writers to Camp David, but indicated that the president was going over drafts of his address with his wife.
Those attending the White House session on the presidential speech, in addition to Vance, were Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, national security affairs adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, CIA Director Stansfield Turner, presidential counsel Lloyd Cutler, Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher and deputy national security affairs adviser David Aaron.
There was considerable suspense among usually well-informed administration officials and senior members of Congress about the measures Carter will anounce tonight. Speaking to the assembled "wise men" at a White House lunch Saturday, Carter gave a general idea of the direction of his thinking but did not spell out what he intended to do about the impasse with the Soviets, according to participants in the meeting.
Three former secretaries of state, Dean Rusk, William P. Rogers and Henry A. Kissinger, were among the 15 outside advisers consulted. Each gave his views at the lunch. While there was consensus on some points, there was no attempt to forge an overall agreement or write a common report.
The senior Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Jacob K. Javits (N.Y.), said yesterday that the Soviet troops issue had prompted an overreaction he described as "a political joy ride." On "Face the Nation" (CBS, WDVM), Javits said this was "a great mistake, because the United States cannot afford to have itself painted into a corner in this situation."
While saying he did not know what either the Soviet Union or the United States is going to do, Javits said one way out of the impasse would be for the Soviets to make a commitment that the disputed force in Cuba will not be a combat unit and to take measures to see that it has the equipment, headquarters and organization of a training unit.
Javits appealed for a solution "which will save their face and also save our face," rather than a growing confrontation.
If a negotiated solution cannot be found, Javits forecast, the United States will "step up our vigilance in Central America" and supply more aid to Caribbean countries, among other steps. He also said it would not be possible for the Soviet Union to be granted most-favored-nation trade status in current circumstances.
Javits said that "there are some wild people who want to play the China card" in response to the impasse with the Soviets. He expressed no sympathy with such a view or with those who wish to respond by rejecting the strategic arms limitation treaty (SALT II).