Secretary of State Edmund Muskie met here yesterday with Soviet Ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin, the second time within a week that top U.S. officials have met with the veteran Soviet diplomat.
The meeting was requested by Dobrynin and it came just four days after Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher met here with the ambassador to seek clarification of new Soviet proposals for limiting nuclear-tipped missiles based in Europe.
While State Department spokesman John Trattner described yesterday's Muskie-Dobrynin meeting as routine, it nevertheless appeared to reflect a stepped-up pace of U.S.-Soviet contacts.
The Carter administration has been giving Moscow the diplomatic cold shoulder since Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan late last December. The only previous exceptions were the meeting between Muskie and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in Vienna in May and a follow-up session June 16 here with Dobrynin.
As the U.S. and Soviet officials met here, Christopher was in West Germany meeting with his counterpart in Bonn and presumbably filling in the government there on further details on the Soviet missile proposals.
The new Soviet position on negotiations was first made in a meeting in Moscow between West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev about two weeks ago, and the Carter administration is anxious to maintain close consultations with the allies on the potentially controversial question of new missile negotiations.
The NATO alliance is planning to install some 572 new U.S.-built, medium-range missiles in Europe to balance Soviet missiles already deployed there.
Trattner said the main discussion here of the Soviet proposals came last week during the Christopher-Dobrynin meeting and that the subject was only briefly touched on yesterday with Muskie. Dobrynin is going back to Moscow soon on his regular summer leave and Trattner said his pre-vacation visit with the U.S. secretary of state is customary.
Trattner said the administration now has a clearer picture than it had before of the Soviet stance but, he added, "I wouldn't say that we have enough clarification. We are now in one of those middle phases when nothing much can be said."