The jostling is on for an invitation to a dinner even more exclusive than the state dinner held last night at the White House for Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. This one will be at Camp David.
Administration officials said the White House has been pushing, and Gorbachev has agreed to extend his stay at the presidential retreat into a Saturday night dinner. He had been scheduled to leave Camp David at about 7:30 p.m.
Officials said as many as 20 to 30 U.S. and Soviet officials will come from Washington to Camp David for the meal. The Camp David day is billed as essentially one-on-one between the two presidents and part of President Bush's efforts to build a relationship with Gorbachev outside the formal settings of Oval Office meetings and White House dinners. The White House has suggested the most contentious issues -- the shape of a reunited Germany and the Baltics -- are to be discussed there.
The original word was that Secretary of State James A. Baker III and national security adviser Brent Scowcroft would be the only Bush advisers at the retreat during the day, most certainly part of a presidential effort to keep the number of people -- and thus the number of leaks -- to a bare minimum. Each of the two may now take an additional aide and assuming the dinner goes through, the aides who aren't there for the talking will get to show up for the dining.