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11 Ex-Officials Urge Push for A-Arms Cuts

June 26, 1989|From Associated Press

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."

And yet, the report urged the Administration to move boldly and quickly to complete the treaty to reduce long-range bombers, missiles and submarines by 30% to 50%. After a seven-month recess, the Bush Administration resumed negotiations last week in Geneva.

'Asymmetrical Reductions'

The report said completion of a strategic arms reduction treaty "will make it easier for the United States and its allies to obtain large and asymmetrical reductions in conventional arms, and should not wait on success in the latter."

Schlesinger was joined in the report by former defense secretaries Harold Brown and former secretaries of state Cyrus R. Vance and Edmund S. Muskie.

On space-based defenses, they said the United States should be willing to recommit itself for 10 years to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and discuss with the Soviets what kind of tests for a space-based defense are permitted.

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