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Reagan to Let Tower Quit Arms Talks Post

March 12, 1986|From a Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — White House spokesman Larry Speakes said Tuesday that President Reagan would accept the resignation of former Sen. John Tower as a member of the U.S. negotiating team at the Geneva arms talks with the Soviet Union.

"I feel certain that the President would abide by Sen. Tower's wishes to leave his position," Speakes said, confirming that Tower had cited "personal reasons" in his letter of resignation.

Although Tower had been known to be dissatisfied with the lack of progress in the Geneva talks, Speakes said that his departure did not result from any policy differences.

"There's been no disagreement with Sen. Tower," Speakes said. "He has performed ably there, and the arms control team has been totally in sync amongst themselves and with the President."

The White House has not named anyone to succeed Tower on the three-member team, but speculation centers on Ronald F. Lehman, 39, Tower's deputy in Geneva before recently becoming deputy assistant to the President for national security affairs.

In Geneva, Tower oversaw the talks involving strategic weapons, serving under chief U.S. negotiator Max M. Kampelman.

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