UNITED NATIONS (Oct. 21)
Sen. Stuart Symington (D.Mo.) said here today that nuclear weapons have been placed in the Middle East. He made the disclosure in an unexpected departure from the text of a statement he was reading at a meeting of the General Assembly’s First Committee (Political Committee), which is discussing the subject of “Non-Proliferation and Related Nuclear Issues.”
Symington, a member of the U.S. delegation to the 29th annual session of the General Assembly, said, With respect to proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world, it is no longer a secret that they are placed in Europe, in the Middle East and the Far East.” He did not identify the nations that have placed the weapons in those regions or the countries in which they are located. The Senator told reporters later that the information-he disclosed had already been released by the Pentagon.
The U.S. delegation was apparently taken by surprise by Symington’s disclosure. A delegation spokesman declined to comment on it and refused to give reporters copies of the transcript of Symington’s remarks that contained his departure from the text. Symington also said, in his departure, that the U.S. nuclear stockpile is equivalent to 615,300 Hiroshima bombs.
CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL SAFEGUARDS
In his prepared statement. Symington called for strengthening “the system of international safeguards against the diversion of nuclear material and technology to the manufacture of nuclear explosives” and said the U.S. welcomed the interest shown at this session of the General Assembly in creating nuclear-free zones in the Middle East and South Asia. He listed four criteria for nuclear-free zones which he said the U.S. government has recommended.
They are: 1) that the initiative should be taken by the states in the region concerned; 2) the zones preferably should include all states in the area whose participation is deemed important; 3) creation of the zones should not disturb necessary security arrangements; and 4) provisions should be made for adequate verification. The First Committee is scheduled to discuss late this afternoon proposals by Iran and Egypt for the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.