Chancellor Bruno Kreisky of Austria believes that there is not likely to by any withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan until the Soviet Union has solved its problem of leadership, brought on by the infirmity of President Leonid I. Brezhnev.
Kreisky has invited Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance and the foreign ministers of Britain, France and the Soviet Union to come to Vienna in mid-May for celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Austrian State Treaty, under which the four allies of World War II recognized Austria as an independent neutral state.
The invitation for May 15 provides the first opportunity since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December for such a high-level diplomatic discussion on the prospects for detente.
Kreisky, who has been Austria's chancellor for 10 years, is the longest-serving head of government in Western Europe, in a wide-ranging interview in his office in the historic Ballhausplatz, he said he could not see the Soviets accepting a neutrality proposal for Afghanistan, under the present conditions, or withdrawing their troops in the face of internal Afghan resistance or outside diplomatic pressure.
"I think that there is no leader in the Soviet Union today who can take responsibility for a withdrawal from Afghanistan," Kreisky said. "As for neutrality -- not now. When we proposed neutrality for Austria, through Pandit (Jawaharlal) Nehru in New Delhi to (Vyacheslav) Molotov, who was then foreign minister in Moscow, Molotov first said no. That was in 1953. Then, in 1954, he said it was a useful declaration and finally, in 1955, we got the state treaty.
"Now if the Soviet Union could get a government in Afghanistan which they feel they could rely on, then maybe they would consider neutrality, but not now. But we have to press them. We have to ask them what they are going to contribute to detente, what guarantees for peace they are going to give, what results they want.
"If neutrality for Afghanistan were to be part of a new general Western policy toward the Soviet Union, I think it would be possible, but if it is only proposed by the West as a declaration by itself, an isolated political move, then not."
Kreisky said that the most curious aspect of the Soviet move into Afghanistan is that the Russians already had a position of predominance in the country, which was not contested, and that now they have got themselves into a major contest.
From this he deduces that the move was probably dictated by Red Army marshals who believed it would go like the occupation of Prague in 1968 and Budapest in 1956, and that it would all be over in a few days. He thinks it was a decision that reflects an absence of strong political leadership in the Kremlin rather than some major turn in policy.
He said that the Soviet actions in Afghanistan will increase tensions between Moslems and the Soviets -- "and this is very dangerous because the Soviets have 50 million (Moslems) in their own country."
With the attention of the Islamic world focused on the Afghan crisis, this is a good time to complete the Arab-Israeli peace process with a settlement of the Palestinian question, Kreisky said. But if that attention is diverted from the Afghan problem and focused on the Palestinian question, "the chance will them be lost, probably forever," he added.
For the long term, Kreisky sees a danger of the Soviet Union supporting creation of small independent states, such as Baluchistan, Jurdistan and Azerbaijan, being carved out of existing nations -- a Balkanization of the area.
"In Lenin's time the Soviets backed the independence of the little Baltic states until stalin finally took over, so it would not be new to Soviet policy to move in this fashion," he said.