IMF Chief Hopes Soviets Win Full Membership Soon

BANGKOK -- Michel Camdessus, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said he hopes the Soviet Union will quickly become a full borrowing member.

Mr. Camdessus, who signed an accord in Moscow on Saturday making the Soviet Union an associate member, told a news conference Thursday the fund's staff was already gathering the economic data needed for a membership application. "We don't want to lose time," he said.

The aim, he added, was to have the information on hand so the fund could act quickly once the Soviet Union meets the second main requirement for full membership -- resolution of its constitutional crisis.

"I hope this period won't be too long," Mr. Camdessus said.

No Cash

Associate membership in the IMF gives Moscow access to technical assistance but not to hard cash.

Although the shape of future economic and political relations among Moscow and the Soviet republics remains unclear, Mr. Camdessus said the Group of Seven industrial countries was right to be making plans to help the country get through the winter.

The Group of Seven will discuss Soviet aid in Bangkok today. Mr. Camdessus said he knew of no plan for the Group of Seven to consider a bridge loan to Moscow. Another senior IMF official, speaking later on condition he not be identified, went further, saying the idea had been virtually ruled out.

Soviet central bankers earlier this week had asked for a bridge loan of up to $3 billion to help cover late payments to Western suppliers. Mr. Camdessus side-stepped questions about the Soviet Union's financing needs and the level of its reserves, saying the fund needed to gather more data.

Turning to the subject of Eastern Europe, Mr. Camdessus called for a continuation of the high level of Western financial help over the next several years while the region makes the change from Communism to free markets.

The IMF, Mr. Camdessus said, has lent $5 billion to Eastern Europe, a sum that cleared the way for another $25 billion from other sources.

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