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Reagan to Nominate Army Officer To Arms Post, Times Reports

December 14, 1987

NEW YORK (AP) _ President Reagan has decided to nominate as director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency an Army officer who helped negotiate the treaty banning intermediate-range nuclear weapons, The New York Times reported Monday.

Maj. Gen. William Burns, 55, would succeed Kenneth L. Adelman, the Times reported, citing administration officials it did not identify. Adelman announced his resignation July 30 and officially left his post Saturday.

White House and State Department officials said Sunday night that they had not heard of the appointment.

″I don’t know anything about it,″ said Liz Murphy, a White House spokeswoman. ″This is the first I’ve heard of it.″

Sigmund Cohen, a spokesman for the State Department, said he had no information on an appointment.

Burns was the top military adviser to American negotiators working on the INF treaty and is the No. 2 man in the State Department’s office of politico- military affairs, where he has worked for the last year.

Burns will retire from the military to assume the post, the newspaper said. He was described by administration officials as a non-ideological military officer with strong experience on arms control issues, the Times said.

The selection of Burns confirms the administration’s team of ranking arms control officials will have a decidedly pragmatic cast as the United States and the Soviet Union work toward a treaty reducing long-range arms, the newspaper said.

The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

A short list of candidates included Paul H. Nitze, arms control adviser to Secretary of State George Shultz; Edward L. Rowny, a conservative adviser to Reagan, and Ronald F. Lehman II, the senior negotiator on long-range arms, the newspaper said.

Shultz pressed for the appointment of Nitze, but then-Secretary of State Caspar Weinberger and other conservatives strongly opposed him, the Times said. Rowny was regarded as too conservative by State Department officials, the newspaper said.

Because of the deadlock, the White House began looking for new candidates, approaching Burns and William Cockell Jr, a retired admiral on the National Security Council Staff, the Times said.

Cockell was said by the Times to have expressed reluctance about taking the job for personal reasons.

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