President Reagan has called U.S. chief negotiator Max M. Kampelman back from arms control talks in Geneva to help him persuade wavering congressmen to vote for continued funding of the MX missile, the White House announced Friday.
"The President and the ambassador will talk to members of the House of Representatives on the relationship of the MX program to progress in arms control," White House spokesman Larry Speakes said in a brief written announcement.
House to Vote Twice
The House is scheduled to vote twice next week on the release of $1.5 billion to fund 21 of the giant 10-warhead missiles. The Senate approved the plan this week, and the House votes will complete congressional action on the measure.
Speakes said Kampelman will brief Reagan on the progress of the talks Monday morning and meet with lawmakers in the afternoon. A spokesman for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency said Kampelman will return to Geneva on Monday night in time for the next session of the talks, which are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Reagan consistently has maintained that defeat of the MX funding would severely weaken the U.S. position in the negotiations with the Soviet Union, which began on March 12.
Kampelman is chief of the U.S. delegation and head of the working group on defensive and space weapons. Other working groups are discussing long-range offensive weapons and intermediate-range missiles.
After two weeks of preliminary meetings attended by each nation's full delegations, the U.S. and Soviet negotiators decided Thursday to break up into the three working groups starting Tuesday.
At his press conference Thursday, Reagan said: "Now is the testing time for the House of Representatives. The votes there will answer the question of whether we stand united at Geneva or whether America will face the Soviet Union as a nation divided over the most fundamental questions of national security.
Points to Historic Tradition
"No request by an American President for a major strategic system deemed vital to national security has ever been denied by an American Congress," he said. "It is that tradition of bipartisan unity on national defense that brought the Soviets back to Geneva.
"Unless that tradition is maintained next week in the House, there is little prospect of success at Geneva," Reagan said.
Congress earlier approved production of 21 missiles. The Administration's request for a second set of 21 was handled last year under a parliamentary procedure requiring separate votes this year to release the money.
Reagan is requesting an additional $4 billion for 48 more missiles in his budget for the 1986 fiscal year beginning next Oct. 1. Congress has not yet started work on that request.