"Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev today suggested a summit meeting with President Reagan to try to restore "normal relations" between the two superpowers and to deal with "acute" international problems "requiring a solution."
Brezhnev also took a tough line on Poland, declaring that "outside forces" are stirring up anarchy so that "the pillars of the socialist state are in jeopardy." He made clear the threat of Soviet intervention under the so-called Brezhnev Doctrine if the party's power there continues to deteriorate.
The communist Party leader, 74, spoke at the opening session of the 26th Congress of the Soviet party, the first since 1976. The week-long gathering traditionally formalizes major party decisions and charts the country's development for the coming five years.
His report included a new arms limitation proposal -- mutual suspension of construction of huge new missile-firing submarines -- and mentioned possible reductions in nuclear warheads, a goal of the Reagan administration, which so far has made little serious move to reopen contacts with Moscow since Reagan came to office last month.
In an unusual move, Soviet television did not broadcast Brezhnev's entire speech live, switching away from him in midsentence after seven minutes and picking him up again four minutes from the end of his three-hour, 40-minute speech.
A studio news announcer read most of the report to the nation, in what some observers saw as an indication that the leadership feared the Brezhnev might make an embarrassing slip as he read a shortened version to 5,000 Soviet delegates and delegations from 109 foreign countries gathered in the Kremlin Palace of Congresses for the start of the session.
Without formally proposing a summit, Brezhnev declared:
"It is universally recognized that in many ways the international situation depends on the policy of the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. As we see it, the state of relations between them at present and the acuteness of the international problems requiring a solution necessitate a dialogue, and an active dialogue, at all levels. We are prepared to have this dialogue.
"Experience shows that the crucial link here is meetings at the summit level. This was true yesterday, and is still true today.The U.S.S.R. wants normal relations with the U.S. There is simply no other sensible way from the point of view of the interests of both our nations and humanity as a whole."
[Reagan has expressed little interest in the past in an early summit meeting with Brezhnev. Officials in Washington said today that they were "studying" Brezhnev's speech.]
Brezhnev's suggestion reverses longstanding Soviet preference for private exploration of such major proposals as a summit meeting and was greeted with skepticism by Western sources today. Brezhnev blamed former president Jimmy Carter for disrupting relations, stalling the SALT II treaty and breaking off major arms reduction talks.
"Unfortunately," Brezhnev said, Reagan, since taking office, has made "bellicose calls specially designed to poison the atmosphere. We would like to hope, however, that those who shape U.S. policy today will ultimately manage to see things in a more realistic light."
Although the official Soviet news media have excoriated Reagan for charging that Moscow supports international terrorism, Brezhnev did not attack him personally.
In his proposals for improving the world situation, Brezhnev:
Proposed talks to limit deployment of U.S. Ohio-class Trident missile submarines and the new Soviet Typhoon submarine, which he called "an analogous system."
Said the Kremlin is "prepared to continue without delay" all arms limitation talks, "preserving all the positive elements achieved so far." This appears to rule out renegotiation of the SALT II treaty, which Reagan wants. Both countries also could mutually renounce the neutron warhead, which U.S. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger wants built.
Proposed extending the "confidence building zone" to include all of Russia west of the Urals "provided the West [also] extends the zone accordingly." This could mean including some of the United States in the zone in which advance notice of major troop maneuvers is required and foreign military are allowed to obseerve them. The Kremlin, he said, is also ready for "concrete" talks with Japan, China and the United States for creating a similar zone in the Far East.
Said Moscow is prepared to participate in a separate settlement of Afghanistan, where about 85,000 Soviet troops support the Marxist government of Babrak Karmal, installed after a Soviet invasion in 1979, but would "not object" to including the question in a general Persian Gulf security conference. He said, however, that Soviet troops would stay in Afghanistan as long as Kabul wanted them and would never leave as long as there were attacks from outside against the Marxists.
Renewed Soviet calls for a freeze on deployment of new medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe pending talks on a permanent moratorium that "naturally" would have to include U.S. forward based systems. NATO backs putting advanced Pershing rockets in Europe to offset growing Soviet SS20 missile forces.
Proposed a special U.S. Security Council session "to look for keys to improving the international situation" and a new world scientific group to "demonstrate the vital necessity of preventing a nuclear catastrophe."
On other foreign topics, Brezhnev said the Polish crisis was the result of "imperialist subversive activity compounded with mistakes and miscalculations in home policy." Without mentioning him, Brezhnev chided Edward Gierek, the deposed Polish leader, saying, "The events [there] show anew how important it is for the party to pay close heed to the voice of the masses . . . to conduct a considered and realistic policy in foreign economic relations."
He indicated that Moscow is satisfied for now with the performance of Poland's new party leader, Stanislaw Kania, and pledged: "We will not abandon fraternal, socialist Poland in its hour of need. We will stick up for it."
Brezhnev renewed Kremlin charges that China colludes with Japan and the United States against the Soviet Union and said Moscow awaits Peking policy changes that will bring better mutual ties.
He strongly renewed Soviet backing for national liberation movements, saying, "The mounting intensity of the liberation struggle in Namibia and also in South Africa is graphic evidence that the rule of classic colonialists and racists is approaching its end."
He hailed the six new friendship treaties signed since the 1976 party congress -- with Angola, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Yemen and Syria -- as evidence of the advance of socialism.
Ignoring bitter anti-Soviet attacks from revolutionary neighbor Iran, Brezhnev said the kremin wants better ties there and said Communists have "every respect" for Moslems and want good ties with them. He made no mention of the nearly unanimous Islamic condemnation last month of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
He called for Iran and Iraq to end their war, which he said only plays into the hands of imperialists and Western capitalists seeking to exploit Persian Gulf oil.
Little more than a third of the 120-page speech dealt with foreign policy. The bulk of it laid out party economic goals through 1985. It calls for strict conservation of energy and raw materials to prevent shortages, a new special program to increase meat and fresh food supplies, new investment in the nation's beleaguered transport system, improved quality for consumer goods and altered incentives to stem the flight of people from rural Russia and Siberia to the Soviet sun belt in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
This is the fourth party congress Brezhnev has presided over since coming to power in 1964, and in the brief live broadcast that cut him off in midsentence, he looked alert and spoke strongly, if with his usual slowness.
His health is not good and his stamina drains quickly, Western sources say, and this is believed to be the reason his entire presentation, unlike previous congress appearances, was not broadcast.
He reiterated Kremlin wishes for better political and trade ties with Western Europe, saying relations with France and West Germany were on the whole satisfactory.
Reflecting Soviet attempts to exploit the worries of Western Europeans over NATO's 1979 Pershing missile decision, he said, "It must be clear [that] deployment . . . is bound to affect our relations" with these countries "to say nothing of how this will prejudice their own security. So their governments and parliaments have reason to weigh the whole thing again and again. The vital interests of the European nations require [them] to follow a different path --the path blazed in Helsinki."
The 1975 European security agreement signed there, which recognized Soviet postwar hegemony over Eastern Europe, is one of Brezhnev's major achievements.
It was not thought beforehand that he would offer any major new foreign or domestic initiatives. Apart from the proposal of a sumit meeting, which might be unlikely in view of Reagan's avowed disinterest in any quick face-to-face meeting with the Soviets, the address confirmed that opinion.
The Soviet position on virtually every matter Brezhnev spoke of has not varied much in the last five years even though the invasion of Afghanistan and Moscow's continued massive military buildup has badly disrupted Soviet external relations.
Flanked on the broad, red-draped stage of the meeting hall by his aging colleagues and cronies of decades' standing, Brezhnev offered no sign at all that the future as seen from the Kremlin offers much real prospect for change. He gave the appearance of a man who intends to be around to see to that for some time to come.