Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev must have gotten a big laugh about President Ford’s speech to the American Legion in which he warned that, if Brezhnev doesn’t hurry up and sign a SALT II arms agreement, the Ford Administration will request a $3 billion in crease in spending on strategic nuclear weapons.
We will actually be worse off if we sign a SALT II Agreement than if we don’t, because the terms agreed on at Vladivostok set the limits so high on missiles and MIRVs that the Soviets will be authorized to build all the nuclear weapons they need to carry out a first-strike against the United States. We will have no comparable capability because our missiles are only a small fraction as powerful as those of the Soviets.
President Ford’s Legion speech chose to ignore the sensational evidence presented by our immediate past Secretary of Defense, Melvin Laird, and by our immediate past Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, that the Soviets are blatantly and deliberately violating the SALT I Agreements. The Soviet violations include deploy ing SS-19nmLssiles, increasing missile silo dimensions by 50 percent instead of the allowed 15 percent, constructing new missile silos, and testing unauthorized radars. The Soviets ignore our protests, deny the facts until confronted by proof from our satellite reconnaissance, or claim that whatever they are doing is allowed by loopholes in the SALT I Agreement.
The shift in the strategic balance from the United States to the Soviet Union since Henry Kissinger has been masterminding our policies is so dramatic and so ominous that many people other than Laird and Zumwalt have become alarmed.
A recent report by the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy de scribes how the Soviet Union is overtaking the United States in the quality of its nuclear weapons, is ahead of the United States in quantity, payload and throw-weight, is developing a first-strike capability so total that it could destroy most of our missiles and deter use of the remaining ones, is conducting “a massive research and development effort” on new nuclear weapons, and is rapidly coming to the point that the Soviets may be able to “maximize their political advantage” (that is, to use nuclear blackmail to impose their will on the world).
The most interesting part about this report is that it was con curred in unanimously by a committee which includes liberal Senators Stuart Symington, Joseph Montoya, John Tunney, and Clifford Case, as well as Chairman John Pastore.
Also coming in from the left side is the “Coalition for a Democratic Majority,” led by Eugene Rostow and other prominent Democratic liberal intellectuals. They, too, are warning of the hoax of detente and of the threat posed by the growing Soviet military power.
These leaders who are at odds on most political and ideological issues speak with one voice on the overriding issue that must unite us all — the survival of the United States. Their warnings cry out for Congress and the press to start a prompt and full investigation with the same diligence and perseverance expended last year on Watergate. Of all the investigations undertaken by Congress, none could be so important as finding out if our independence and freedom are threatened by Soviet cheating on SALT.