Soviets Request Meeting on Reagan SALT Decision
The Soviet Union has called for special arms talks in July to discuss President Reagan’s decision to scrap the SALT II agreement, an Administration official said today.
White House spokesman Albert Brashear confirmed that the Soviets have asked for an extraordinary meeting in Geneva to discuss Reagan’s announcement that the United States is no longer bound by the treaty.
“We are looking at it,” Brashear said. He did not say when the proposal was made.
Reagan, boarding Air Force 1 today at Point Mugu Naval Air Station to return to Washington, was asked about the issue and told reporters: “Too much SALT isn’t good for you.”
The New York Times, citing anonymous Administration sources, reported today that disagreement within the Administration on the Soviet offer’s significance would prompt discussions this week before any response is made.
The newspaper said some senior officials favor a positive response and others, notably in the Pentagon, are critical of holding such a meeting.
With the latest round of arms talks in Geneva recessed until later this year, the Soviets asked for a special July 22 session of the Standing Consultative Commission to discuss the 1979 strategic arms limitation talks accord, which was not ratified by the United States but has been informally adhered to.
The request is the first by Soviets for a special meeting of the commission, which is composed of U.S. and Soviet government experts. It meets twice a year and is not scheduled to meet again until late September.