The T-shirts are a big hit, especially with Soviet customers, according to one of the shops that sells them.
"Together At Last! The New KGB/CIA. Now We're Everywhere," they say.
The novelties, complete with a seal combining the CIA's eagle with a hammer and sickle, are somewhat ahead of reality, but there have been informal talks about active cooperation between the agencies in the realm of international terrorism.
A Soviet delegation led by two former high-ranking officials of the Soviet secret police agency met with retired CIA officials and other American experts at the Rand Corp. in Santa Monica, Calif., last fall to talk about the possibility of joint action by the superpowers against terrorism.
The group made more than 30 recommendations, including joint efforts to prevent portable weapons and munitions from falling into the hands of terrorist groups and regular exchange of information on Soviet and U.S. hostages, particularly those seized in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
"There is no doubt that active cooperation could start in the very near future in the area of prevention of terrorism," retired KGB lieutenant general Feodor Sherbak said at the time.
According to CIA Director William H. Webster, the Persian Gulf crisis has enhanced the prospects. "Our common interests in the gulf open up an opportunity to deal more frankly on terrorism," he said in an Oct. 17 interview with the Associated Press.
But direct CIA-KGB exchanges of intelligence apparently have not occurred yet. KGB chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov said in a recent AP interview that his agency is willing to share intelligence about Iraq, but had not offered to do so because the CIA has been cold to past efforts to cooperate.
For the CIA, the basic policy still hews to the line Webster laid down last Feb. 20 in an appearance before the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs when he asked the question himself. "Why doesn't the CIA and the KGB get together?" he volunteered to his audience. "Everybody else is getting together."
The short answer, Webster indicated, is that he isn't ready yet. He said it was "entirely appropriate" to tell Moscow of any threats against Soviet officials "and we do this." The Soviets have reciprocated. But Webster said it is best to use diplomatic channels.
The reason Webster gave last February was that it was too risky to share terrorist intelligence directly, possibly endangering the lives of CIA informants, as long as the Soviet Union has close ties with countries that use terrorism as a matter of policy, such as Libya and Iran. He told AP last month that Soviet support for such states seems to have declined, but U.S.-Soviet exchanges of terrorist information, officials say, are still limited to diplomatic channels.
At the same time, Webster has said he would be willing to have discussions with the Soviets about narcotics trafficking because in that field, "we do not have the same kind of problem of sharing information . . . "
Former CIA director William E. Colby, who was at the Santa Monica meeting, said in an interview that he thinks "there will be a limited exchange eventually, but it will take time."
That hasn't stopped T-shirt sales, according to Phil Walsh, owner-manager of the Fit-to-A-Tee novelty shop in Georgetown. He said they're "enormously popular. The Russians are roaring over them."
Designer Michael Folz of Sebastopol, Calif., said he was looking for "a funny angle" that would appeal to everyone. He described it as a form of "creative paranoia."
Staff researcher Ralph Gaillard Jr. contributed to this report.