State skirmishing over the nomination of Paul C. Warnke to head the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and negotiate with Moscow sharpened yesterday with Democratic supporters pushing for a large vote of approval and foes talking of denying him one of the two jobs.
Although the nomination, which President Carter has called crucial to his adminstration, appears in no trouble, some Senate Democats are working to get a more than two-thirds vote for Warnke to signial that the Senate would be receptive to a new strategic arms treaty.
A two-thirds vote in the Senate must ratify all treaties.
Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D-Wash.) and others who are reserving judgment on Warnke, have hinted that he should be confirmed for only the directorship of the arms agency (ACDA) and not as the chief negotiator with the Soviets.
"I think it's a great mistake to put the two positions in one person," Jackson said yesterday.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on the nomination ended late yesterday after testimony by former arms negotiator and deputy secretary of defense Paul Nitze, whom Sen. Charles H. Percy (R-Ill.) called "the most forceful voice in opposition" to Warnke.
Nitze began his testimony by saying that although he had been willing to consider denying Warnke only one of the posts, after hearing Warnke's Tuesday defense of his positions "I don't believe he ought to be confirmed for either."
Nitze accused Warnke of having abandoned earlier positions in order to aid his chances for confirmation. "I had thought that he had really believed in the views that he espoused over all those years," Nitze said.
Sen. Robert P. Griffin (R-Mich.) and Nitze both pointed to Warnke's testimony before the Senate Budget Committee March 9, 1976, as inconsistent with his testimony Tuesday.
In 1976, Nitze said, Warnke regarded U.S. tactical nuclear weapons strikes against the Soviet Union as the principal deterrent to protest U.S. allies. The probaility that this would escalate to full-scale nuclear war, Nitze said, led him to draw an analogy between Warnke's 1976 view and former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles' doctrine of massive retaliation.
On Tuesday, Warnke said he did not favor a reduction of non-nuclear warfare capabilities. "If you try to rely just on your nuclear capability you have to fall back on massive retaliation," Warnke said making it clear that he was opposed to the Dulles doctrine.
However, he also said that it was "highly unlikely if not impossible" that a protracted war would remain conventional like World War II.
On another topic, Nitze accused Warnke of having backed away from a position in which he had been willing to allow the Soviet Union some strategic nuclear advantage.
Percy asked if it hadn't lessened Nitze's opposition to Warnke to hear him favor nuclear parity Tuesday.
"To the contrary," Nitze replied. "Those positions are so different from all the statements he made from 1969 to 1976 that I'm disturbed."
Nitze sharply criticized the idea of concluding a new agreement with the Soviets that excludes from controls the Soviet Backfire bombers and the U.S. long-range cruise missiles that are the issues over which negotiations have foundered while mutually agreeing to stop development of mobile land-based missiles.
He attributed the idea to Warnke, saying: "I don't believe he understands these things." The proposal, however, was not mentioned by Warnke but was made by Carter at his Tuesday press conference.
Carter said that if the Soviet Union halted deployment of its mediumrange SS-20 missiles in mobile installations it would be an important aid in reaching a mutual agreement. He indicated the United States would then not develop its intercontinental mobile missile called the MX.
Nitze was asked what he would propose to aid arms control.
He said both superpowers should scrap their existing land-based intercontinental missiles and each replace them with 5,000 smaller missiles carrying warheads of less than 100 kilograms. At present the United States has about 1,000 land-based missiles and the Soviet have about 1,500.
The smaller missiles could not be fitted with multiple warheads, Nitze said, so the equal numbers would provide stability in the strategic balance. Each side would presumably retain its multiple warhead missiles on submarines.
It was learned that Nitze presented this plan to Carter at a meeting last week. Carter was said not to have been impressed.
Nitze gave no dollar cost for his plan, but it would be several tens of billions. He said the plan had been broached to the Russians and they would not buy it.
The committee also heard Sen. James A. McClure (R-Idaho) oppose Warnke for being "singularly unqualified" and because his "general world view . . . has little correlation with reality."
McClure said he didn't see much difference between Warnke's Tuesday testimony and his earlier statements but that Warnke did not favor a sufficinetly strong defense.
He said he thought the Soviets "probably would welcome Warnke with open arms."
Mark Lockman of the Liberty Lobby also opposed Warnke saying his selection was "like choosing a boll weevil to head the Department of Agriculture."
Retired Lt. Gen. Daniel Graham, the former head of Defense Intelligence Agency, withdrew his request to testify.