Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov will visit Washington during his first trip to the United States next month, and a meeting with President Reagan is "under discussion," an associate of Sakharov said Friday in Washington.
Brought back from exile by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev nearly two years ago, the physicist and Nobel Peace Prize winner said Friday in Moscow he has been granted permission to travel to the United States beginning Nov. 6.Sakharov, 68, told a news conference that he will travel abroad as a member of the International Foundation for the Survival and Development of Humanity.
Sakharov will be in Washington Nov. 13-16 and a meeting with Reagan at that time is "under discussion," said William Miller, president and board member ofthe foundation's U.S. office. "It would depend very much on the president's schedule."
Miller said that while Sakharov is in Washington he will participate in meetings of the board of the foundation "to consider and approve project proposals on various issues - international security, environment, health, energy and Third World projects. There also will be a meeting on human rights."
Besides a possible meeting with Reagan, Miller said Sakharov is "expected to have a meeting in the Library of Congress with other (U.S.) government officials."
Miller said Sakharov would be traveling to other parts of the United States, including the West Coast, during his visit, which he said is scheduled to last 10 days to two weeks.
"This is a very important milestone in the improvement of relations between the United States and the Soviet Union," said Miller.
"I think it's further evidence that the notion of `glasnost,' this openness, is something (Gorbachev) values very highly," Miller said.
Sakharov, father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, had never been permitted to leave the country. Soviet authorities had always cited his knowledge of state secrets as the reason for his refusal.
"We hope it will make it easier for other scientists who have been refused permission to travel abroad on secrecy grounds," said Jane Cave, a program associate for the Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, which has been lobbying the Kremlin for at least seven years to allow Sakharov to practice physics in the Soviet Union and be allowed to travel abroad.
"We're delighted, not only because he is a scientist, but he is a human rights activist," said Cave, whose committee is part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington. "It shows the Soviets are serious to improve their human rights performance."
Sakharov's wife, Yelena Bonner, will not be making the trip with him, the scientist said. Bonner has been in the United States previously for medical treatment.
Tatiana Yankelevich, Bonner's daughter, in Newton, Mass., said "yes, of course" they are delighted to learn Sakharov will be traveling to the United States and they look forward to a family meeting.