President Reagan may feel he can ignore the relatively small number of congressmen, about 50, who tried to forestall the nuclear test explosion at Yucca Flats in Nevada on March 22. These congressmen, however, were not speaking solely for themselves, but are elected officials representing larger constituencies in their home states. By conducting the test, the President chose to disregard the concerns over nuclear testing expressed by the millions of Americans those congressmen represent.
With the recent self-imposed Soviet moratorium on nuclear tests, many felt the time was prime for the Soviet and American governments to take concrete steps toward nuclear arms reductions. Since the Soviet moratorium was to remain in place until such time as the United States begins testing, our recent test opened the door for further expansion of the nuclear weapons arsenals of both countries.
On Feb. 26, Congress overwhelmingly passed a nuclear test resolution, H.J. Res. 3. While it is a non-binding resolution, it urges President Reagan to renew U.S.-Soviet negotiations of a treaty banning all nuclear test explosions. The President has chosen to ignore this resolution. The test in Nevada only flaunts his lack of responsiveness to the growing number of Americans who seek a bilateral test ban treaty as a means to an eventual secure peace.
Bruce is coordinator of the Orange County Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament.