President Bush said yesterday he was "very pleased with the results" of his summit meeting with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, but the administration drew criticism for not being tougher with Gorbachev over Lithuania and Bush acknowledged that differences over German unification will continue for some time.
"There are some problems," the president said. "We never said there wouldn't be."
Bush briefed his Cabinet yesterday morning on his talks with Gorbachev and also told reporters that on Sunday he had telephoned West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to report on the summit.
"I'm very pleased with the results of the summit," he said, "and I think the American people are."
He also described the response of U.S. allies as "very, very positive."
Bush will continue his follow-up discussions on the summit this week and next. On Friday he will have a dinner meeting with Kohl and next Monday he will meet with East German Prime Minister Lothar de Maiziere, the first meeting ever between an American president and an East German prime minister, according to the White House.
Secretary of State James A. Baker III left Washington yesterday for further discussions on unification and the future of Europe at meetings this week in Copenhagen and Turnberry, Scotland.
White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater acknowledged that the United States and the Soviet Union are far from agreement on the status of a unified Germany. "The German question is clearly going to be resolved over a period of time in an incremental kind of debate and consideration," he said. "It's not going to be resolved in any dramatic announcement either from us or from the Soviet Union unilaterally."
On trade, Fitzwater said the administration was concerned by Gorbachev's statement Sunday indicating that he might slow down Jewish emigration to protest the growth of Israeli settlements in Israeli occupied territories. But he stopped short of saying the administration would prevent the new trade agreement from being sent to Congress because of the Gorbachev statement. The administration has said it won't send the agreement to Congress until the Soviets pass an emigration bill. "We want open emigration," Fitzwater said.
The administration's decision to go ahead with the trade agreement -- and the eventual promise of favorable tariff treatment -- despite the Soviet economic blockade of Lithuania drew sharp criticism yesterday from Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell (D-Maine).
Charging the administration with "effectively abandoning the Lithuanians" by failing to tie most favored nation status for the Soviet Union to lifting the blockade, Mitchell said, "That can only be interpreted by Mr. Gorbachev and the Soviet leadership as at least a condoning of what has occurred until now and a free hand to do whatever they wish to do in that regard in the future."
A senior White House official said the administration had heard no criticism yesterday from conservatives over Lithuania or the trade agreement.
Also yesterday the White House released the texts of a number of other joint statements on which the two countries agreed during the four-day Washington summit.
They include statements on nuclear non-proliferation, the peaceful use of the atom, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, technical economic cooperation and measures to prevent overfishing in the Bering Sea.
Staff writer Helen Dewar contributed to this report.