Due to a transmission error, a sentence was inadvertently dropped today from the published text of Soviet President Konstantin Chernenko's interview with The Washington Post.
Soviet officials said today that the omission seriously distorted Chernenko's remarks dealing with his view of the prospects for future Soviet-American relations.
The omitted sentence quoted Chernenko as unequivocally asserting that an improvement in relations was possible. It read, "Is it possible? I shall give an unequivocal answer to this question -- yes it is possible." This sentence was, however, included in the main news story about Chernenko's interview also published in today's editions.
Here is the text of Chernenko's written reply to the question dealing with his views about a widely held view that a shift in Soviet-American relations recently had become discernible.
"Indeed, sentiments in favor of a shift for the better in Soviet-American relations are widely spread in the world. This, in our view, reflects the growing understanding of the importance of these relations, particularly in the current international situation.
"Unfortunately, so far there has been no ground to speak of such a shift in Soviet-American relations as a fact of life. Is it possible? I shall give an unequivocal answer to this question -- yes it is possible. The resolution of the problems to which I referred earlier would help to bring it about.
"I am convinced that there is no sound alternative at all to a constructive development of Soviet-American relations. At the same time we do not overlook the fact that we have different social systems and world outlooks. But if the responsibility which rests with our two countries is constantly kept in mind, if policy is oriented toward peace and not war, these differences not only do not exclude the search for mutual understanding but call for it.
"I have already said in the past and I wish to stress it once again: we stand for good relations with the United States and experience shows that they can be such. This requires a mutual desire to build relations as equals, to mutual benefit and for the good of the cause of peace."