The United States Senate Democratic leader Robert Byrd has told Soviet officials that the American debate over the SALT Two Arms Accord is not a challenge to the Soviet Union.
The United States Senate Democratic leader Robert Byrd has told Soviet officials that the American debate over the SALT Two Arms Accord is not a challenge to the Soviet Union. He was speaking from Moscow during a visit to discuss the treaty.
SYNOPSIS: Senator Byrd flew into Moscow's Sheremetjevo Airport on Tuesday (3 July) for what was described by some Western politicians as a 'sensitive' Soviet trip. Included on his agenda were talks with top Soviet officials, including President Leonid Brezhnev. The United States Senate opens its debate on the SALT accord next week, and must approve it by a two thirds majority for ratification.
At the Kremlin the chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Alexei Shitikov, welcomed Senator Byrd and other members of the large U.S. delegation. Speaking later at a luncheon given by the Soviet parliamentary group, Mr. Byrd said the Soviet Union must take into account the fact that the U.S. President and Senate were equal partners in the process of concluding international agreements.
The Senator said Moscow should not regard the Senate's conscientious application of its constitutional process as a challenge to the Soviet Union or its system of government.
The American visitors had time out some sight seeing at the Kremlin.
But the next day Senator Byrd was to fly to the Crimea to meet with President Brezhnev, a meeting which can't have been easy for him following tough Soviet warning for the Senate to ratify the SALT accord without amendments. Tass news agency said Mr. Brezhnev told Senator Byrd he regarded the accord as the biggest contribution to nuclear disarmament. He was also quoted as saying 'it is the duty of both countries to exert the necessary effort to make these prospects a reality."