Washington Roman Catholic Archbishop James A. Hickey will convene a day-long conference on nuclear war and the arms race Sept. 18.

The conference features experts from government, church and academia, and is part of a nationwide effort of Roman Catholic bishops to stimulate discussion and raise consciousness on issues of nuclear warfare.

Speakers at the convocation, termed "Call to Peacemaking," reflect a variety of views on the nuclear question. They range from Dr. Jeremy Stone, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Dr. Roger Molander, executive director of the Ground Zero movement, to Ambassador Edward L. Rowny, chief U.S. negotiator for the strategic arms reduction talks (START), and William Colby, former CIA director.

The Rev. Bryan Hehir, director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Catholic Conference and chief adviser to the U.S. Catholic bishops' task force on developing a position paper on the morality of nuclear war, also will speak.

Earlier this year, Hickey issued a pastoral letter outlining his own views, in which he supported a bilateral freeze on nuclear weapons. The closely reasoned document, he said at the time, was intended to stimulate the thinking of Catholics and others on the moral dimensions of nuclear warfare and contribute to discussion of the issue by the nation's bishops at their annual meeting here in November.

The hierarchy originally had intended to adopt a formal position in November on the morality of nuclear warfare. Their preliminary draft, which concluded that there are virtually no circumstances under which the use of nuclear weapons is morally acceptable, sparked such a volume of response that they have had to advance the date for the completion of the document.

Although next month's conference is designed for Catholics, it is open to "all interested persons, regardless of background or church affiliation," a church spokesman said.

There is a $10 registration fee. The parley will be at Gonzaga High School and Notre Dame Academy, on North Capitol Street between H and I streets. For further information, call 853-4555 or 853-4547.