Secretary of State George P. Shultz spent most of the day yesterday in a wide-ranging review of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union with 10 government insiders and seven outside experts, including two former secretaries of defense.
Among the insiders attending the meeting, which began about 8 a.m. and lasted through the lunch hour, was Shultz' Cabinet colleague and former Bechtel Corp. associate, Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger.
The meeting was the second such lengthy review involving outsiders arranged by Shultz since he became secretary of state five weeks ago. On July 17, his first Saturday in office, Shultz convened a similar session, involving former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger and two other outsiders as well as government officials, on the subject of U.S. policy in the Middle East.
State Department officials said Shultz, who had a long academic career including a part-time professorship at Stanford University while heading Bechtel, appeared to be particularly at home with airing of views in a seminar-like session in which he himself does little talking. It is likely that additional meetings of this kind will be held in the future to assess other international problems and areas, officials said.
The holding of the meeting yesterday seemed to indicate that Shultz is emerging from an overwhelming concentration on the Middle East, which has been in a state of crisis since he was sworn in, and is turning his attention to Soviet issues, another high priority.
The list of participants, as disclosed by the State Department, suggests that on Soviet policy Shultz initially is seeking advice primarily from establishment conservatives with major governmental experience. The only exception on the list was Norman Podhoretz, the neoconservative editor of Commentary magazine, who has been outside the government and, at times, outside the government or shadow government consensus.
The other outside participants, according to the list, were former secretaries of defense Harold Brown and Donald Rumsfeld, former commerce secretary Peter Peterson, former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, former State Department and National Security Council expert William Hyland and former State Department counselor Helmut Sonnenfeldt.
The governmental participants listed by the State Department were, in addition to Weinberger, State Department counselor James Buckley, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Richard Burt, Deputy Secretary of State-designate Kenneth Dam, State Department director of politio-military affairs Jonathan Howe, deputy national security adviser Robert McFarlane, Central Intelligence Agency official Henry S. Rowen, outgoing Deputy Secretary of State Walter Stoessel, Undersecretary of State-designate for Economic Affairs Allen Wallis, and State Department policy planning director Paul Wolfowitz.