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13-year-old To Meet Wife of Soviet Leader During Summit

November 30, 1987

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) _ A 13-year-old girl will meet with Raisa Gorbachev next month to talk about a pen-pal program while President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev discuss nuclear weapons, her father said.

″I’ll tell Mrs. Gorbachev ... ’I’m glad to see you and ... I hope you can start a pen-pal thing in Russia,‴ Laura Weneck said. ″I’m excited about it.″

Miss Weneck wants to establish a pen-pal program for U.S. and Soviet children. She also plans to ask Mrs. Gorbachev if two letters she sent to a 13-year-old Kiev girl, by way of a Soviet Jewry activist group, were received. The letters were sent in April and July, she said Saturday.

Miss Weneck’s family hasn’t been told details of the Washington, D.C., meeting, said her father, Robert L. Weneck, a former White House official in the Ford administration. The meeting would come during the Dec. 8-10 U.S.-Soviet summit.

″We were invited. But the schedule isn’t out yet, so it’s not confirmed as to when or what or how. They’ve asked, she’s accepted,″ Weneck said. The invitation was extended by Vitaly Gan, a U.S. correspondent for Pravda, a Soviet newspaper, he said.

″They are the voice and the ears and if you want something you go through them,″ the father said of the Soviet media. ″I feel that they’re sincere.″

Weneck said he pulled some strings to arrange the visit.

″I had several phone conversations with Russian journalists in Washington,″ he said. ″I had to assure them that I wasn’t an activist and was very neutral and had no ties to any other agencies. I told them, ’Let’s talk about how we can take the fear out of the children on your side and ours.‴