Baker Outlines US Soviet Policy Secretary of State Will Visit Moscow Next Week to Discuss Human Rights, Borders. THE NEW SOVIET UNION

Article excerpt

ONLY five weeks ago, President Bush was in the Soviet Ukraine, warning against "suicidal nationalism" and applauding Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's plan to revitalize the Soviet Union.

Today, one political earthquake later, the United States is seeking to inject a sense of order into its dealings with what is now sometimes called "the former Soviet Union."

Though the Bush administration maintains a special admiration for President Gorbachev, the recent upheaval has forced an acceleration of the administration's year-long strategy of diversifying its relations with pro-reform leaders in a variety of Soviet republics. And it has forced a flexibility in dealing with the fluid situation.

Secretary of State James Baker III will travel to Moscow next week to attend a long-scheduled international human-rights conference. The trip also gives him an opportunity to assess the scene himself as well as explain in person the five principles that will guide the US approach to the dissolution of the USSR - and to recommend that the Soviet republics (excluding the Baltics) follow the same guidelines as they re-configure their relationships with one another and with the central authority.

In a press conference Wednesday, Mr. Baker said that "if the developments in the Soviet Union proceed in accordance with the five principles ... we will continue to work toward cooperation with the Soviet Union and with the republics thereof."

In making that statement, Baker is dangling a carrot in front of the Soviets: emergency humanitarian aid if needed, longer-term economic assistance, and technical aid in setting up long-term restructuring. Conditions for aid

The five principles Baker outlined are:

1. That the future of the Soviet Union is for the Soviet peoples to determine themselves peacefully and democratically, and in accordance with the principles of the Helsinki Final Act.

2. That existing Soviet borders within the union and with other countries be respected. "Any change of borders should occur only legitimately by peaceful and consensual means," Baker said.

Though some Soviet borders were arbitrarily determined and artificially divide certain ethnic groups, US analysts agree that for the sake of stability all borders should be treated as inviolate at least for now.

3. Support for democracy, the rule of law and "peaceful change only through orderly democratic processes, especially the processes of elections. …