Since military officials have been very busy on the new 1979 budget, the OMB made arrangements this year for Santa Claus to visit them, instead of having him come to a department store.

Santa set up his chair in the Pentagon shopping arcade.

The first person in line was an admiral. He sat on Santa's knee.

"Well, admiral," said Santa, "Have you been a good boy?"

"Yes, sir," the admiral said. "I haven't made any waves all year."

"That's good," Santa said. "And what do you want for Christmas?"

Theadmiral said, "I want a cruise missile and I want three nuclear aricraft carriers and I want 200 new F-14 airplanes and I want . . ."

"Whoa," chuckled Santa. "That sounds like an awful lot of toys for one Christmas."

The admiral tried to hold back his tears.

Santa said, "All right, we'll see what we can do. In the meantime here's a lollipop. Now if you get all those good things do you promise not to hurt anyone with them?"

"I promise. I promise," cried the admiral. "I'll only play with them in the bathtub."

"All right," said Santa Claus. "Who is next?"

A four-start general from the Air Force came up hesitantly.

"Did you get my letter?" he asked santa as he sat on his knee.

"Of course I did, Santa lied. "But you'll have to refresh memory. What did you ask for?"

"I want a B-1 bomber."

"Oh dear, I think your daddy said you couldn't have one."

"He did not."

"Now you're telling me a fib. I know your daddy said he didn't want you to have a B-1 bomber."

"I don't care," the general pursued his lips. "I was promised one last Christmas and I didn't get it, and you owe it to me."

"We'll see. What else do you want?"

"I want a killer satellite like I saw in "Star Wars."

"You mean a toy killer satellite."

"No, a real one, dummy," the general said pulling on Santa's beard. "That can knock down other satellites."

"They're very expensive."

"I knew you'd say that. I hate you."

"Pleae, don't get angry. If you wan it that badly I'll see what I can do. Is there anything else?"

"I want lots and lots of F-16 airplanes and some new missiles like they advertise on television."

"All right. In the meantime, here's a lollipop,"

"I don't like lollipops," the general said.

"Then what about a peppermint stick?"

"Okay," said the general and he ran happily down the hall.

Finally a U.S. Army general came up and sat on Santa's knee.

"I want a new tank" he said, "but this time one that works. And a laser beam death ray gun and an anti-aircraft heat-seeking missile."

"That doesn't sound like too much."

"I also want a neutron bomb."

Santa gulped. "Isn't that a dangerous toy""

"It is not. It's a tactical weapon and it doesn't hurt anything." He bit Santa in the arm. "If you don't give me a neutron bomb I'll hold my breath."

"Well, if you have your heart set on one."

"Thanks, Santa," the general said, kissing him on the cheek.

"Would you like a lollipop?"

"Only if the Navy and Air Force don't have one," the Army general replied.