WASHINGTON — Five former secretaries of state and defense urged the Bush Administration today to push hard for a nuclear weapons reduction treaty with the Soviet Union and to show restraint in developing space-based defenses.
A report signed by 11 ex-officials, including the five secretaries, concluded Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev is more inclined than any of his predecessors to reach accords with the United States that further Western interests.
But James Schlesinger, who was secretary of defense in the Richard M. Nixon Administration, criticized the Soviet leader for agreeing last week to resume arms aid to Iran. He said it shows Gorbachev still is seeking "marginal advantage" over the West and in that respect "failing the test."
In this vein, the report said U.S. knowledge about current and future Kremlin policy is "too problematical to justify extraordinary political or economic concessions which we would otherwise not consider."