Paul C. Warnke, who resigned October 1 as chief negotiator in the second round of strategic arms limitations talks (SALT II), told a capacity crowd at the Kennedy School Arco Forum last night, "We're living on borrowed time."
"We cannot expect the other nations of the world to continue to eschew the acquisition of nuclear weapons if the U.S. and the USSR cannot even stop their own accumulation of more weapons," Warnke said.
Warnke has been criticized by many senators, including Sen. Robert W. Packwood (R-Ore.) at the Kennedy School yesterday, for his eagerness to secure a SALT II agreement even at the cost of sacrificing U.S. military security.
Warnke defended his position as strongly last night as he has publicly at any time since he became chief SALT negotiator and director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency last year.
Some of his voracity may stem from his resignation. "Since I've resigned, I no longer have to keep my pledge to stay out of [Defense Secretary] Harold Brown's business," Warnke said.
Give and Take
He went on to criticize opponents of compromise in the negotiation process and to question the effectiveness of several weapons systems which the Pentagon is fighting to retain.
"We have to sacrifice certain military options to get desirable concessions from the other side," Warnke said. "Military options about to be sacrificed are always over-glorified."
"The B-1 bomber costs too much and isn't worth much," Warnke said, adding that large nuclear-powered aircraft-carriers are also not "cost-effective."
The risk that the U.S. may make unwise concessions or disarm unilaterally is "non-existent," Warnke said. In past arms control negotiations, "rather than going too far or too fast, we have not gone far enough or fast enough," he added.
The real danger is that "the agreements might be insufficiently comprehensive, making ground forces in the European theater a new area of competition," Warnke said.
"There can be and should be no linkage" between SALT and other in- ternational issues. Warnke said. "It should not be used as either a carrot or a stick" to try to induce the Soviets to act as we would like' towards "Africa, covert agents, or internal dissidents," he added.
The SALT II agreement is now "more than 95 per cent complete" Warnke said, but he warned that "some American politicians may attempt to secure the passage of their favorite programs as the price for their support" of the accord, and the recent Soviet dispatch of 16 Mig-23 aircraft to Cuba indicates "there are also some in the Politburo who want to be bought-off as a precondition" to accepting the agreement, Warnke said.
"The best possible result of the negotiations is a draw," Warnke said, adding that he believes the SALT II agreement comes close to that goal by setting equal limits of 2400 intercontinental ballistic missile silos, submarine launchers, and intercontinental jet bombers for the U.S. and the USSR