Secretary of State Edmund S. Muskie says President Carter will raise the question of SALT treaty ratification with the US Senate leadership when the Senate reconvenes in midNovember, Monitor correspondent Daniel Southerland reports.
But Senate staff specialists doubt there will be either the time or the inclination available in the Senate for consideration of the treaty next month. For one thing, the Senate agenda is crowded. And it now appears likely that at least a few key supporters of the treaty with the Soviet Union will be defeated in early November elections. A two-thirds Senate vote is required for ratification of the treaty.
But President Carter has both practical and political reasons for pushing for ratification at this time. On the practical side, treaty timetables are involved. A key protocol, for example, expires in 1981. And the Soviets must dismantle some missile systems that would place them above new limits. If the deadlines expire, much if not all of the treaty will have to be renegotiated.
On the political side, President Carter is eager to dramatize the difference between his desire for arms control and presidential contender Ronald Reagan's desire to withdraw the SALT treaty and increase weapons production before resuming arms control talks.