When President Ford fired Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, many people said he fired the wrong Secretary meaning, of course, that Secretary of State Kissinger should have been the one to go. Now President Ford has made another mistake in choosing which of Kissinger’s several important jobs to take away from him. Ford fired Kissinger as chairman of the powerful Forty Committee, but retained him as chairman of the even more important SALT Verification Panel.
The Forty Committee has control over our Government’s secret overseas operations. The mistakes of this Committee are already being sensationally exposed by Congressional committees. The SALT Verification Panel, however, remains Dr. Kissinger’s private enclave, although the harm he can do there to American security is vastly greater.
The kingpin of Dr. Kissinger’s policy of detente with the Soviet Union — the essential factor on which his entire strategy and repu tation depend — is the SALT Agreements of 1972. His power and prestige depend on perpetuating those Agreements, in spite of their built-in advantages to the Soviets.
He has a personal vested interest in concealing Soviet violations which would cause Americans to terminate SALT I or to reject SALT II, which Dr. Kissinger just went to Moscow to negotiate. His chairman ship of the SALT Verification Panel provides the administrative power to suppress the evidence of Soviet treachery and of Kissinger mistakes in negotiating SALT I.
Independent sources such as Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, former Defense Secretary Melvin Laird, and the leading journal AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY have provided abundant evidence of Soviet violations of the 1972 SALT Agreements.
These violations include the building of 150 new missile launc ers, a giant multi-billion ruble program to replace old, light missiles with new, heavy missiles, attempts to “blind” our reconnaissance and early-warning satellites with laser beams, the construction and operation of another giant phased-array ABM-type radar in Kamchatka, and more than 60 tests of SA-5 radar, key component in the Soviet ABM system.
In May 1972, when Nixon and Kissinger returned from their cham pagne celebration in Moscow, the SALT I Agreements were almost uni versally hailed as great achievements by scholars, newsmen, and politicians alike. In the general euphoria of the summer of ’72, most metropolitan dailies and newsmagazines failed to print the texts of the Agreements. Congress never cross-examined Kissinger about the terms, but voted overwhelmingly for them anyway.
A quiet revolution has taken place during the last year among knowledgeable experts. Today the experts will no longer defend the SALT Agreements because they are afraid that would cost them their professional reputations. The case against SALT and Kissinger is so comprehensive and totally documented.
Good business and political practice always requires that the auditor be someone different from those who make the decisions. It is imperative that President Ford appoint a new chairman of the SALT Verification Panel wholly independent of Dr. Kissinger.