A high-ranking U.S. State Department official, speaking to a breakfast meeting of the South Bay Assn. of Chambers of Commerce in Torrance on Tuesday, reviewed the Reagan Administration's arguments for continued production of the MX missile from a national and global perspective.
But on the eve of a congressional vote that may decide the fate of the $16.5-billion project, it was clear that the chambers' members were interested in more than theories on nuclear deterrence. They said that up to 30,000 South Bay jobs--the number supported directly or indirectly by work on the MX at Northrop Corp. in Hawthorne, TRW in El Segundo and Logicon in San Pedro--will be lost if Congress decides next week not to release funding for the construction of 21 more missiles.
A "fact sheet" handed out by chamber members at the meeting also pointed to "significant local procurements" by MX contractors and suggested that a negative vote on the missile would have a "major impact on the local and state tax base."
"A lot of phones are going to be ringing (in Washington) and we're going to be writing letters too," one chamber member told Robert Dean, deputy assistant secretary of state.