U.S. Watches China’s Moves in Middle East; Nuclear Involvement Feared

Chinese involvement in the Middle East is now-being studied by the United States because of the need to assess the impact of Chinese nuclear potentialities on the prospect for arms control in other parts of the world, it was revealed today in a report to Congress by the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. “We are approaching a critical period in efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons,” President Johnson told the Congress in a message transmitting the agency’s report.

Declaring that various countries now posses the resources, the technical ability and the scientific manpower needed to build nuclear weapons systems, the President — without specifically mentioning the name of any such country — said: “We hear voices saying that these countries can afford such costly weapons, even though they would have to be bought at the expense of the basic needs of their people.” He emphasized that “I have committed my Administration to the task of persuading the non-nuclear countries that it is neither in the interest of their security, nor of world peace, to develop nuclear weapons. “This has been the main thrust behind the efforts of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency during the past year, and it will continue to be in the year we are now entering,” he said.

The report of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency makes reference to Egyptian proposals at the 1965 sessions of the Geneva Conference, which included a moratorium on nuclear tests. It stresses that the agency favored a policy under which non-nuclear states would have an “obligation not to acquire nuclear weapons nor to manufacture them;” The United States favors a draft treaty “which specifically prevents any increase in the present number of nuclear entities,” the report declared.

It reveals that a study has been made of missile potentialities of non-nuclear nations. “Because of the serious implications of missile and rocket proliferation,” the report states, “the ACDA staff embarked on a study aimed at finding the facts in the present situation; the probabilities of missile development in non-nuclear countries, and the possibilities of controls by agreement. The basic study examined factors which might influence non-nuclear countries to obtain missiles and space rockets.”

A survey was made of present and potential capabilities in specific countries which might elect to develop a missile delivery system, with particular emphasis on the alternative ways by which missiles might proliferate — indigenous production, conversion of space rockets, and purchase from outside sources. “Much work on the detection of clandestine missile production” was done by the agency in connection with U.S. proposals for a production freeze on strategic delivery vehicles, the report states.

(In an interview published today in the Standard-Times, of New Bedford, Mass., Dr. Jerome B. Wiesner, chairman of a special Presidential advisory group studying arms controls and disarmament, said that India and Israel are being observed by his committee because they may soon be able to test atomic weapons.)

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