President Reagan said in a worldwide radio broadcast yesterday directed at the Russian people that he hopes to set up future meetings with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and proposed in a separate interview that the superpowers hold annual summits in the United States and the Soviet Union.
In an address from the Voice of America studios here, broadcast in Russian and 41 other languages to an estimated 120 million listeners, Reagan told the Soviets they have been given "distortions" in their press about "America's hostile intentions toward you."
"Americans are a peace-loving people," he said. "We do not threaten your nation and never will."
Presidential spokesman Larry Speakes said afterward that the Soviets did not jam two or three frequencies in Moscow and one in Leningrad on which the Russian translation of Reagan's remarks was "clearly audible." A Lithuanian translation was also clearly monitored in Leningrad, he said, but 15 other Soviet frequencies were jammed to varying degrees.
In an interview with U.S. News & World Report magazine published yesterday, Reagan said he will discuss with Gorbachev at the Nov. 19-20 summit in Geneva continued U.S. adherence to the unratified strategic arms limitation treaty, SALT II, which expires in December.
Reagan, who is due to receive a Defense Department report on alleged Soviet violationsL- accords, but yesterday he omitted direct criticism of Moscow. "America asks the world's leaders to abide by what they have agreed to," he said. White House officials said Reagan has decided to mute public criticism on human rights and raise his complaints with the Soviets privately instead.
In the magazine interview, Reagan was asked whether he still holds the view that the Soviet Union is "an evil empire that reserves the right to lie, cheat and steal."
"Well, it really wasn't my view," he said, asserting that he was citing the statements of Soviet leaders "over the years saying there is no immorality in anything that furthers the progress of the world's socialist revolution. So we seem to be the only ones that in our philosophy are bound by morality."
On annual summits, Reagan endorsed an idea that Secretary of State George P. Shultz broached to the Soviets last week in Moscow, without getting a response. Reagan, who originally invited Gorbachev to Washington, said he would propose annual summits in each country rather than a neutral nation. Former president Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev agreed in 1979 to hold regular summits, but the plan was never carried out.