Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Soviet Premier Nikolai Ryzhkov met today in the first high-level assessment of U.S.-Soviet relations since the Geneva summit meeting and expressed disappointment with the lack of progress in fulfilling the agenda outlined there four months ago.
The two met after the funeral of Olof Palme, the Swedish prime minister killed Feb. 28 by an unknown assassin. He was buried today in ceremonies attended by leaders and dignitaries from more than 100 countries.
The assembly of world leaders provided a forum for diplomatic consultations. Sweden, in extending invitations to the funeral, had encouraged rival parties to discuss their differences here today as a gesture of esteem for Palme's devotion to world peace.
Ryzhkov, making his first trip to the West since his promotion last year, received Shultz at the Soviet Embassy for a meeting that lasted 1 3/4 hours. Afterward, Shultz described the session as a "very frank" review of the relationship since the Geneva talks between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev last November.
Shultz said that while Moscow and Washington had believed the outcome of the summit formed a good basis for progress in several negotiating forums, "neither of us has been satisfied with developments since that time." He said they discussed a second summit meeting this year in Washington but no conclusions were reached and he expected talks on setting a date to continue.
Shultz noted that "we spent more time on nuclear tests than on any other subject." He said he handed Ryzhkov the letter Reagan addressed to Gorbachev yesterday inviting the Soviets to send a team of experts to observe a nuclear test in the United States that would be monitored by newly developed systems of verification.
The official Soviet news agency Tass today criticized Reagan's offer as "a political maneuver."
Ryzhkov said the Soviets urged the Americans to study more carefully Thursday's proposal by Gorbachev, which calls for an immediate nuclear test ban and prolongs Moscow's self-imposed moratorium on nuclear explosions until the United States carries out its next test.
Senior U.S. officials later explained that the United States was more interested in using the meeting for "stock-taking rather than negotiation." They said while Washington welcomes recent movement at the Geneva arms talks in the area of limiting medium-range missiles in Europe, it is still awaiting more positive responses from Moscow to U.S. proposals on intercontinental nuclear missiles and space-based defenses.
The officials said the United States is also disappointed that not much progress has been achieved since Geneva at the East-West troop reduction talks in Vienna and the Stockholm conference on European security, which seeks agreement on measures to reduce risks of accidental war.
Before returning to Washington, Shultz also met with Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, who said he intended to press the case of African front-line states for more stringent economic sanctions against South Africa to undermine its system of apartheid.
Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres held brief talks with Shultz, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French President Francois Mitterrand.
Kohl and East German leader Erich Honecker also used the occasion for their first meeting in more than a year. West German officials said Kohl wanted to discuss prospects for improved East-West relations and a possible visit by Honecker to West Germany this summer.
Honecker is said to be eager to visit West Germany, where he hopes to be received officially in Bonn and to make a tour of his native Saarland. Horst Sindermann, president of East Germany's parliament, indicated during a trip to Bonn last month that Honecker was prepared to come after the East German Communist Party congress in April.
The funeral for the 59-year-old Palme, who was renowned for his crusades against nuclear weapons, Third World poverty and the superpower rivalry, was shielded by a massive security operation .
On Wednesday, police arrested a suspect in the killing, a Swede described as a virulent anti-Communist who despised Palme's political views. He is being questioned but has not been charged.
Various radical groups, including the neo-Nazi European National Socialist Union and West Germany's left-wing Red Army Faction, have claimed in letters and telephone calls to news organizations that they killed Palme. But police have uncovered no hard evidence linking them to his death.
The two-hour ceremony in Stockholm's city hall featured jazz music and solemn speeches that paid tribute to Palme's devotion to causes designed to bridge the gap between rich and poor nations and the East and West military blocs.
Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi spoke of close bonds between Palme and his mother, Indira, who also was assassinated. Gandhi urged the audience to enact a comprehensive nuclear test ban that would be monitored by neutral countries on different continents, an initiative that he described as "perhaps the last political testament of Olof Palme's lifelong dedication to disarmament."
Ingvar Carlsson, Sweden's new prime minister and leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party, said his predecessor's work was motivated by his conviction that the nuclear arms race threatened the survival of humanity.
"In a world that lives under the constant threat of destruction, where there are great conflicts, and demands for increasingly advanced weapons are growing, Palme spoke with the voice of sense and reason," Carlsson said.
Palme's body was interred in a small churchyard near the site outside the movie theater where he was gunned down. The blood-spattered pavement is still covered with flowers brought by mourners.