Three Soviet students scheduled to arrive in Boston last night to kick off a tour of American college campuses have been forced to postpone their visit because of Soviet bureaucratic difficulties.
The delay "wasn't even for a big political issue," said MIT Professor Emeritus Lisa Peattie, a member of United Campuses Against Nuclear War (UCAN)--the group that planned the tour. "It's just the far-fetched Soviet bureaucratic process."
Although the students said they had yet to receive their passports, officials at the U.S. State Department said the three had been given permission for the visas, said UCAN Executive Director Sanford Gottlieb.
Gottlieb said that he assumes the students were delayed because the Moscow foreign ministry is busy processing travel plans for the upcoming Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Geneva.
"So many diplomats are preparing to leave the Soviet Union for the summit," Gottlieb said, "this is the third such hitch with an unofficial delegation."
Last year, an American delegation of winners of an UCAN essay contest travelled to the Soviet Union, where they spoke at Soviet campuses about the nuclear arms race, Peattie said.
"Our initial contact was to try and build an atmosphere of confidence," the MIT professor added.
The Soviet delegation, arranged by the Soviet Student Council in response to last year's UCAN visit, will talk to American college students about the Reagan-Gorbachev summit, the arms race, and nuclear war.
Arriving in America in the next week, the delegation will now end its visit in Boston on November 19 and 20. The Soviet group will travel to MIT, Boston College, and Brandeis, as well as schools in West Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana, Gottlieb said.
The group includes a staff member from the Soviet Student Council, a post-doctoral student from the Institute for U.S. Canadian Studies, and an undergraduate at the Institute of International Affairs in Moscow.
Originally intended for last spring, the Soviets' visit was postponed until the fall because of burearucratic difficulties, said Peattie.
But this time, she said, "I think they will really come. I only worry that by the time they get here, everyone will be too tired of hearing about it to care."