Given the deep Russian despair over the lack of concrete results from the Iceland summit, many here ask: Will Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev make a trip to Washington in 1987?
Clearly, the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Gorbachev will be a major social event in Washington, but the Soviets don't put much stock in that sort of thing.Still, the mood in Moscow is on the side of optimism.
Official Soviet sources say Mr. Gorbachev has not departed from his desire to journey to the U.S. capital next year, that in fact - assuming the invitation still holds - this realization is more likely now than before the Reykjavik meeting.
The Soviets see rays of hope emanating from Reykjavik. But the Soviets add a proviso. They say the Reagan administration should reconsider the Gorbachev proposals on nuclear disarmament, on the anti-ballistic missile treaty, and what Moscow calls the infamous star wars program.
Otherwise a new summit may be out, with the possibility of an ugly, hard- to-break, lengthy deadlock in superpower relations.
Western observers here, looking at the pluses of Reykjavik, believe that never before have the leaders of the two superpowers been able to examine each other so candidly, so nakedly, as it were, and never before perhaps has the Soviet public been given such an opportunity to look inside a summit and be told the intimate details of what the Soviet leadership says went wrong.
Soviet television actually showed Mr. Gorbachev's Reykjavik press conference twice. From letters to Soviet newspapers and interviews with citizens, there seems to be all-out backing of the Kremlin position and thorough distrust of the Reagan administration. Many U.S.S.R. citizens agreed with the Gorbachev remark belittling President Reagan's offer to share star wars technology with Moscow.
On Soviet television, Mr. Gorbachev said he told President Reagan, You do not want to share with us even oil equipment and equipment for dairy factories, and still you expect us to believe your promise to share SDI developments with us.
SDI stands for the official name of the "star wars" program: strategic defense initiative.
Of course, in the U.S.S.R., all the blame for lack of written agreements at Reykjavik on such matters as nuclear disarmament and testing of nuclear weapons has been laid at the U.S. door. This was to be expected.
Many Soviet statements, official and otherwise, are highly critical of Reagan administration inflexibility.
In post-Iceland remarks, U.S.S.R. officials apparently see the Soviet- U.S. dialogue closely linked to the next summit. The Soviets say they want to
break down what they insist is U.S. ignorance, hostility and misunderstanding. Western sources say the problem is mutual.
My guess is that Mikhail Gorbachev will go to Washington with or without a Reagan compromise on star wars or a nuclear-test ban.
My reasoning is simple. Despite the disappointment, even despair in Moscow over failure to secure any hard agreements at Reykjavik, the Soviets nevertheless see the meeting as a major happening with a number of positive features. They are pro-summit.
General Secretary Gorbachev himself called the Iceland summit useful and of major importance. He said in his Oct. 14 televised speech that the consequences of the meeting in Iceland, we are convinced, will be making themselves felt in international relations for a long time to come.
Mr. Gorbachev added: The meeting was a major event. A reappraisal took place. A qualitatively new situation developed. No one can act any longer as he acted before. And: it prepared a possible step forward, toward a real shift for the better, should the U.S. adopt, finally, realistic positions and give up delusions in appraisals.
Apparently the Kremlin feels the U.S. public will see the reasonableness of the Soviet Union's position and, perhaps, be won over by Soviet logic and the realization that the nuclear danger still hangs over the earth, requiring concerted efforts to improve the international political climate.