The Soviet Union charged today that President Reagan "made a number of deliberate distortions" in accusing the Soviet Union at his first press conference yesterday of aiming to set up a world communist state.
The official news agency, Tass, said in a commentary that Reagan's sharp denunciations of Moscow were an "unworthy maneuver." It said Reagan "spoke in an unseemly manner" about some "insidiousness" of the Soviet Union's policy, which supposedly aims to create a "one-world socialist or communist state."
Tass complained that "such words can only mean that the people in Washington apparently cannot understand the meaning of the changes taking place in the world [that] are not dependent on either the United States or the Soviet Union."
Reagan also was mistaken in declaring that the Soviet Union used detente as a one-way street, Tass said. "The president made a number of deliberate distortions in the valuation of the aims and character of the Soviet Union's international activities."
Reagan's blunt comments were being discreetly applauded in the Western diplomatic community here. Several sources said with satisfaction that he had taken the right tack in dealing with the Soviets.
But Tass said, "The president obviously distorted the essence of the matter when he touched one of the most important problems, the SALT II treaty." Reagan was mistaken, the agency said, to assert that the treaty "in its present form allegedly leads not to a limitation of strategic arms, but to their growth."
The Tass commentary, transmitted in both Russian and English versions over its wire service, was devoid of the emotional denunciatory words the Soviet press heaped on President Carter through more than the last year of his term. Party officials and senior Soviet journalists have suggested informally since Reagan's election victory that despite his tough campaign talk, he would turn out to be similar to Richard Nixon once he took office and become a leader Moscow could deal with.
The influential weekly Literary Gazette has also recently said U.S. presidents in recent decades have been disappointingly lacking in abilities.
Tass, while not specifically rejecting Reagan's press conference remark that strategic arms matters must be linked to other issues, said Reagan's view would result in "linking this problem with other unrelated issues."