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Helped Shape Policy on Soviets : Arms Control Hard-Liner Perle Leaving Pentagon

March 13, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Richard N. Perle, an uncompromising hard-liner who helped shape the Reagan Administration's policies toward the Soviet Union for six years, announced Thursday he would resign his Pentagon post this spring.

"For personal and family reasons, I am herewith resigning my post as assistant secretary of defense, effective this spring after an orderly transition in my office," Perle wrote in a letter to President Reagan.

"For the opportunity to join in your program to rebuild our national strength, I shall always remain deeply grateful," he said.

Plans to Write Novel

Perle told reporters that Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger had asked him to continue serving as a part-time adviser. Perle said he intended to write a novel about Washington, write about arms control issues and make some speeches.

Perle, 45, is credited by detractors and admirers alike with possessing a sharp intellect and the savvy to wield influence within the government bureaucracy.

He used his appointment in 1981 to the third-level post of assistant defense secretary for international security policy to carve out a key role on arms control issues--frequently to the consternation of the State Department.

"I've not tried to do everything," Perle said Thursday. "I've concentrated on what seem to me the most important issues. And I think we've compiled, as an administration, a pretty good record.

NATO 'in Good Shape'

"The NATO alliance is in good shape, despite the occasional comments that one finds it necessary to make to keep it in good shape."

The remark about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization referred to the latest in a long line of controversies involving Perle, prompted by a speech he delivered last month in Munich, West Germany. He used the occasion to accuse allied leaders of being "mealy-mouthed" in expressing their opinions about the adequacy of Soviet arms proposals.

Perle, known for his unbending suspicion of the Soviet Union, has opposed any arms control proposal that did not call for deep reductions in nuclear forces and protect America's right to pursue research on a "Star Wars" missile defense system.

He has denigrated virtually every arms accord reached with the Soviets in the past, along with proposals by Moscow for controlling chemical weapons, nuclear tests and satellite-killing rockets.

Prodded American Allies

He has also played a key role in stiffening government regulations on the export of sensitive Western technologies and in prodding American allies to proceed with the deployment of intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe to counter a Soviet buildup.

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