U.S. Has Second Thoughts on Killing SALT--Soviets

Associated Press

A top Soviet diplomat said today that American policy-makers were having second thoughts about abandoning the SALT II arms control treaty and that keeping it alive would enhance prospects for a summit meeting between General Secretary Mikhail S. Gorbachev and President Reagan.

But Oleg M. Sokolov, the deputy Soviet ambassador, said at a news conference that if the United States ends its "technical" compliance with the 1979 accord, "the Soviet Union is not going to be a passive onlooker."

Sokolov said the Soviets would take "corresponding measures," making decisions on which provisions to exceed according to security needs.

"So our response would be proportionate," he said in response to questions.

He stressed, however, the treaty should be preserved as a "base" for further agreements to curb the buildup of nuclear weapons and prevent the militarization of outer space. Unfortunately, Sokolov said, "no progress has yet emerged" in the ongoing U.S.-Soviet negotiations in Geneva.

Earlier today, Secretary of State George P. Shultz disputed reports that the White House had declared the SALT II treaty dead.

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