President Reagan says that despite the new tensions in East-West relations caused by the Polish crisis, he is likely to hold a summit in a year-end interview with reporters from seven newspaper groups last Wednesday andd released simultaneously today with a presidential statement marking the second anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
The interview took place shortly before the president's nationally televised address Wednesday night when he accused the Soviet Union of complicity in the military takeover of Poland and warned of possible U.S. sanctions against Moscow if the repression is not eased. There was no sign today, however, that Reagan has changed his mind about the desirability of a meeting with Brezhnev.
The president flew to California today for a week of rest and partying in Los Angeles, Palm Springs and Santa Barbara.
The juxtaposition of Reagan's statements on a summit and on Afghanistan dramatized the president's willingness to talk with Moscow while not missing a chance to publicly criticize Soviet actions.
In his interview, Reagan rejected the suggestion that he has softened his longtime hard-line attitude toward the Soviet Union, but added: "I think we're in the world together and it doesn't mean that you can't talk and try to resolve your differences, but I thhink you go at it with soome realism. So, I have no objection to talking."
Brezhnev has proposed a summit meeting, but Reagan held off on a summit during 1981.
The president said a summit must be properly prepared for and "I still feel that some time in the coming year . . . a meeting is likely."
Aboard Air Force One, Reagan was asked about the letter he received Friday from Brezhnev.
He refused to discuss its contents but when asked whether it was positive or negative, he replied: "With them it's always negative."
The letter is Brezhnev's response to a letter Reagan sent the Soviet leader last week demanding the restoration of basic freedoms in Poland and warning that he is prepared to take political and economic measures against the Soviet Union if the repression in Poland continues.
United Nations Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, interviewed on "This Week with David Brinkley" (ABC, WJLA), said it was not "quite accurate" to characterize the Brezhnev letter as telling the United States not to interfere in Poland. She added that the letter is under study and that a public U.S. reply probably will be made Monday.
Kirkpatrick and Undersecretary of State Walter J. Stoessel Jr., who was interviewed on "Face the Nation" (CBS, WDVM), said the United States is in close contact with its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies trying to coordinate a joint response to the Polish situation.
Stoessel referred to a meeting of European leaders, and although he did not elaborate, he was believed to be talking about a tentatively planned session of the 10-nation European Economic Community, possibly this week. In addition, talks are understood to be going on about the possibility of convening a special meeting of NATO foreign ministers to discuss Poland sometime in January.
Stoessel also reiterated that the Geneva talks between the United States and the Soviets over limiting medium-range missiles in Europe could be affected by Moscow's role in the Polish situation.
"At the present time, we plan to go through with them," Stoessel said. "But we will have to reassess this in the light of developments in Poland."
In the interview, Reagan also said the crackdown headed by Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski probably had been "precipitated by the proposal of Solidarity to let the Polish people vote on whether they wanted the kind of government they have."
His remarks also hinted at a feeling that the labor union might have pushed Poland's communist authorities too far. While saying "I would defend the right of the people to vote," Reagan added, "I am going to say that maybe they should have realized that they were asking the one thing that a communist government cannot allow."
His comments on Solidarity appeared to diverge somewhat from the view expressed by Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. in an interview published Saturday.
Haig, discussing allegations that the martial-law decrees were printed in Moscow during September, said: "The implications of it are that one must not give unusual weight to the theory that it was the excesses of Solidarity during the months of September and December which triggered the clampdown."
In his statement on Afghanistan, Reagan said:
"Our current concern regarding Poland should not cause us to forget that two years ago today massive Soviet military forces invaded the sovereign country of Afghanistan and began an attempt to subjugate one of the most fiercely independent peoples of the world."
Reagan also said that the strategic agreement with Israel suspended because of Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights will be reinstated "I hope sooner rather than later." He said, "I don't believe it's canceled. We don't consider it so." Kirkpatrick said it was "inconceivable" to her that the United States would support any U.N. Security Council attempt to impose sanctions against Israel for its Golan action.