Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev tonight blamed the United States again for delaying talks on limiting nuclear arms in Europe and told former West German chancellor Willy Brandt that Washington wants "a fresh edition of the cold war."
Brandt, chairman of the ruling Social Democratic Party, backed a summit between Brezhnev and President Reagan, declaring that "the world should not be made to wait for it too long." The NATO decision in December 1979 to deploy new U.S. rockets in West Germany has come under increasingly bitter debate in Brandt's party and from its opposition.
Brandt and Brezhnev met for three hours today in what the official press agency Tass described as "candid" discussions, meaning there has been little agreement on any issue. Tass reported that in his toast at a Kremlin dinner in his honor, Brandt said he regretted that the political detente of the past decade between East and West has not yet been matched by military detente.
The former chancellor is making his first visit here in six years, and he was greeted yesterday on arrival by a Soviet delegation headed by Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko.
Brezhnev, in February, proposed a summit with Reagan. The administration has expressed little interest in the idea, but U.S. officials have pledged to be ready for arms limitation talks by the end of the year.
Brezhnev reiterated that the Kremlin is "ready to sit down on that issue even tomorrow, if you like," and said the Soviet Union is "ready to suspend deployment of its medium-range missiles in the European part of the country on the day talks open" on substantive reduction issues. However, he said, this would happen only "if the U.S.A. tells us that during the talks it will not build up its medium-range nuclear means in Europe either."
The NATO decision for missile deployment, which would begin in 1983, was made to overcome what the West says is Soviet theater nuclear superiority gained from deploying about 200 SS20 missiles in the Warsaw Pack nations and the western part of the Soviet Union. But Brezhnev again asserted that "rough military parity" exists between the Warsaw Pact and NATO and added, "The striving of U.S. for military supremacy . . . undermines international stability and makes shaky its own security."