The Soviet Prime Minister, Mr. Alexei Kosygin, told a visiting party of United States senators?
The Soviet Prime Minister, Mr. Alexei Kosygin, told a visiting party of United States senators in Moscow on Thursday (16 November) they would not be able to see his President, Mr. Leonid Brezhnev. But Reuters news agency reported that Mr. Brezhnev met them the following day, and that he appealed to them to support a new Strategic Arms Limitation Agreement (SALT). Mr. Brezhnev was reported to have warned them the Soviet Union could destroy the United States in a nuclear conflict.
SYNOPSIS: The initial cordiality when Mr Kosygin greeted the senators was said not to have lasted long. According to U.S. sources, there was heated clash when they raised the issue of Soviet supplies of Mig-23 warplanes to Cuba.
The previous day, the United States State Department had described the presence of the aircraft on Cuba as a matter of concern.' U.S. sources said that, last summer, a Soviet freighter delivered the aircraft, which were now being unpacked in Cuba. Reuters said Mr. Brezhnev was rumoured to have scheduled his later meeting with the senators to try to smooth over the prickly atmosphere generated when Mr. Kosygin spoke with them. Mr. Kosygin had reportedly rejected the senators' complaints about the delivery of the warplanes, having wrongly assumed the Soviet Union was being ordered to remove them.