Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
"If the Law of the Seas ever gets to the Senate, it will make the Panama Canal Treaty seem easy."
It was a word of good-natured fore-warning for Vice President Walter Mondale Wednesday night from Elliot Richardson, one of the United States' negotiators at the Conference of the Seas and a man who has had considerable political experience with snegotiations in previous administrations.
The vice president came for a poolside dinner before a special benefit performance of "The Fantasticks" for Shakespeare & Co. of Trapier Theatre. Joan Mondale served as honorary chairman for the fund-Raising event. The vice president, preparing to leave for his trip to the Middle East last night had to go back to paperwork after the dinner but Mrs. Mondale and their son William and daughter Eleanor attended the benefit performance.
As for his mission to the Middle East, Mondale indicated that at least the trip carries no great expectation to be dashed. The high hopes of a Middle East settlement after Egyptian President Sadat's visit to Israel since have dimmed with Israeli Prime Minister Begin's hard stand.
The outdoor dinner was held in the garden of the home of Nancy (Bitsey) M. Folger, general chairman of the benefit performance. After the theater performance Canadian Ambassador and Mrs. Peter M. Towe were to give a reception at the residence. The only problem was that ambassador Towe was powerless - the storm the previous night had cut off electricity to his residence leaving him without lights or air conditioning.
Marion Barry, D.C. councilman and candidate for mayor, stopped at the pre-theater party before going on to two candidate parties to raise funds. "Last night we had a 70 percent turnout in the midst of the lightning and the storm. That really was encouraging," the candidate for mayor said.
Richardson, who held several cabinet posts in previous administrations, talked about the intricacies of negotiating proposed laws to govern the seas.
"It covers everything - from pollution by oil tankers to protection of mammals. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement with 158 countries - more than are member of the United Nations."
The Right Rev. John Thomas Walker, bishop of the Washington Diocese of the Epsicopal Church, returned from Detroit to land in the midst of Tuesday night's wind-and-rain storm. Walker, who had been in Detroit during the city riots of 1967, reported that he found a new spirit and hope in the rebuilding of the central city there.
The theater performance was preceeded by a series of small dinners. Among those who served as hosts were Transportation Secretary Brock Adams and Mrs. Adams, U.S. arms negotiator Paul C. Warnke and his wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Micael Collins. Collins, the former astronaut who was the first head of the Air and Space Museum, recently was named deputy secretary of the of the Smithsonian Institution.