Excerpts from the translation of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's remarks welcoming a group of prominent Americans to the Soviet Embassy:

Now I feel that something very serious is afoot, something very profound, something that embraces broad sections of the people both in the United States and in the Soviet Union, an awareness that we cannot go on as we are, we cannot leave our relations as they are, the relations between our peoples, between our two nations.

And you know what I thought, that any time there is this kind of a movement in the minds of men, it begins with the intellectuals, in the minds of the intellectuals. Those are the yeast of society as it were. It is they who trigger off these various new processes in the whole of society.

But, at the same time, I pose myself the question, and I pose it to -- I'm asking myself and you, are we not perhaps lagging behind? We the representatives of political and intellectual circles, are we not lagging behind what the people have come to realize?

I wouldn't want either for the representatives of our intellectuals or the American intellectuals, and you represent them today.

You are all well-known in your own country and in the world, and your voice is heeded.

I feel we should really ponder whether we might not be lagging behind the sentiments, the feelings of our peoples, because those sentiments are certainly in favor of the two countries and peoples drawing closer together . . . .

You know, I'm really thrilled by the fact that our kids . . . how profoundly, how deeply aware they are that something needs to be done. And they certainly have many complaints of which they address to us.

. . . I think that the main trouble mainly lies with the fact that it is the political circles that have not come to a deep awareness of these profound sentiments among the peoples, sentiments in favor of a rapprochement between our two countries in favor of an improvement in relations.

In Moscow, I met with the participants in the Moscow forum.

Then I also met with a group including Mr. {Cyrus} Vance, Dr. {Henry} Kissinger, Mrs. {Jeane J.} Kirkpatrick and others and Mr. {Peter G.} Peterson. And we . . . said to each other that you can't build a realistic policy nowadays unless you synthesize, there is a synthesis, a fusion of politicians, scientists, scholars, our intellectuals, artistic people.

What we need now is a policy which could express the mood, the sentiments of the people . . . .

The only thing we were thinking about is how to uphold our own interests, and whoever did it badly was replaced. But it turns out that the whole thing should be posed in a different manner.

Today, you can only uphold, usefully uphold, your interests if you heed other people's interests, if there is a balance of interests . . . .

So what I want to say, and this is the main theme that I would like to emphasize, we are living at a time of new reality, and those realities have dictated their new imperatives.

We call them the challenges of the time. We, all of us, are children of our time.

And that is our wealth, our treasure, if, of course, we dispose of that wealth properly, if we don't just lump it all together, but if we try to get some use out of it, put it to good use and to compare how we act it and in what situation, what the situation was in the past.

And whether we can, in today's world, with its new realities -- whether we can still act as we did 10 or 20 or 30 years ago.

I see here representatives of very many theories which were advanced, starting from the -- balancing on the brink of war or the policy of rolling back. But this has all become a thing of the past.

And unless we understand, unless we realize -- we, you the United States -- unless we realize all this, it'll be hard indeed for the world to switch to another track, to take a new path, the path of improving international relations, of cooperating . . . .

I said to the president today, "We have begun a very big thing. We are doing a very big thing." And it's not a question of the percentages that we're -- of weapons that we'll be destroying.

It's not just the percentage by which we will be reducing nuclear arms. It is a totally new situation -- that is important. It is the first step towards the elimination of nuclear weapons . . . .

But today, we have begun the process, we are beginning the process of eliminating, of scrapping nuclear arms. How many years has it taken us for this to become a reality?

. . . In this act, there is more of a political symbol, more of a psychological turn. I would call this really a turning point.

So let's think about how we should act from now on, where do we go from here. We are by no means in favor of any adventurism.

We are against exploiting international relations or the international economic ties, but you have to agree that there are so many problems that have arisen today that they cannot be put off for any longer . . . .

So if, in the past, we emphasized only the fact that we are different, and we are different, it is true, but we must not dramatize that difference.

But today, we no less emphatically state that we are . . . all part of one and the same civilization, we are interconnected.

Through science and technology, through the environment, through the challenges that are growing, all this prompts us and dictates that we should be united in our thoughts and actions . . . .

Now I cannot comprehend those who have taken up the cudgels against the newly found elements of mutual understanding and cooperation that appeared in preparation for the signing of the treaty on intermediate- and shorter-range missiles.

I fail to understand how anybody could be objecting to that but, of course, I understand that even here it all boils down to the selfish interests of certain groups of people.

But if we take the supreme interest of both nations and surely the task, the supreme task of the intellectuals is to give expression to the supreme interests of our peoples, not to their own selfish interests.

So, we might think together. We're not laying claim to the possessors of the truth in the last, in the highest degree. But we are prepared to make our contribution.

And we do have intellect enough to join in this process of proceeding the world, the process of building up a new relationship.

I believe the opportunities at hand, that both of our countries have, are immense . . . .