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Defense Official Says US Should Abandon SALT II Treaty

May 7, 1985

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Pentagon official Richard Perle, declaring the Soviets are violating the SALT II strategic arms limitation treaty, said Tuesday he believes it would ″very unwise″ for the United States to continue to observe it.

Perle, assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, said the administration has not reached any conclusions on whether to keep observing the unratified agreement after it expires at the end of 1985.

But he said his personal view is that the SALT II limits should not be extended.

″For the United States to adhere to a treaty the Soviets are violating would create a double standard which I think would be unwise,″ Perle said in testimony before a Senate Armed Services subcommittee.

The Soviets wouldn’t do ″much more than they are already doing″ if they were no longer bound to observe the treaty’s terms, he said.

Perle also proposed that Congress establish a permanent $5 billion trust fund to repair military damage that might be caused if the Soviets violate the terms of any future arms control accords.

The existence of such a ready-for-use fund might give the Soviets incentive not to violate arms agreements, he said.

In addition, Perle said there is ″little to be gained″ by embracing a Soviet hint that the United States might be able to inspect a controversial advanced radar installation in the interior of the Soviet Union which Perle said violates the Anti-Ballistic Missle Treaty of 1972.

The Defense official said the phased-array radar being deployed near the Soviet community of Krasnoyarsk is the most serious Soviet treaty violation to date and arouses real concern that the Soviets might be in the process of ″breaking out″ of the ABM treaty.

He said the United States rejects the Soviet ″cover story″ that the radar is a space tracking station because of strong evidence that it is intended to be integrated into a nationwide territorial defense system.

Therefore, Perle said, ″this proposal (to visit the site) would be of little interest to us even if it were to be granted.″

The SALT II treaty will be tested with sea trials late this year for a new Trident submarine, an event that would place the United States over the treaty limit on ballistic missiles unless existing Poseidon submarines or Minuteman missiles are dismantled.

Perle maintained that if the United States were to continue the Salt II limits beyond 1985, ″we would be forced to dismantle more weapons than the Soviets would be required to dismantle.″

″It seems to me that on both military and political grounds it would be very unwise to continue these limits beyond the date that they were scheduled to expire,″ he said. ″We would be dismantling weapons to comply with a treaty the Soviets are violating.″

Perle also said that it is ″inconceivable to me″ that the United States would sign any new arms treaty that did not guarantee compliance with existing treaties.

Perle, who has the reputation of being the administration’s most hardline critic of the arms control process, made his comments after reciting a list of Soviet treaty violations that he said date from the beginning of attempts to forge arms control agreements with the Soviet Union in the 1960s.

″What we have been objecting against from the beginning is an expanding pattern of violations which began early in the process with a cynical exploitation of loopholes and ambiguities, and then crossed the line ... to out and out violations,″ Perle said.

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