Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D-Wash.) accused Paul C. Warnke yesterday of "deceit" misrepresentation and attempts to "mislead the senate," on the eve of today's Senate votes on Warnke's appointments as U.S. disarmament negotiatior and adviser.
Debate was strident and harsh. Jackson attacked Warnke for allegedly doctoring a 1972 document and attempting to blame it on his typist. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) called Jackson's motives for opposing Warnke, as described in a newspaper article., "irresponsible and reprehensible" and "a new low," if true. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz) raked over Warnke appointment but for his Africa policy, economic policy and arms policy in general.
Opposition is based on fears that Warnke, in negotiating an arms treaty, will give too much away to the Soviets, allowing them to gain a military advantage. Many senators consider his past positions too "soft."
But Carter countered that argument in a meeting with congressional leaders yesterday, saying that he - not Warnke - would make all the key decisions.
Jackson denied a newspaper report that said, in effect, that he was deliberately attempting to drum up a big Senate vote against Warnke, so that, even if confirmed, he would be so weakened by the show of non-confidence that eventually Carter would have to replace him with a "stronger" man. Jackson wasn't present at the time of Kennedy's remarks and didn't respond to them.
Meanwhile, Kennedy, Edmund S. Muskie (D-Maine), George McGovern (D-S.D.), Thomas F. Eagleton (D-Mo.) assused Warnke's critics of opposing him because they actually oppose arms limitations.
In a brief statement delivered calmly wand without personal attack, Armed Services Committee Chairman John C. Stennis (D-Miss.) said he will vote against Warnke both as disarmament negotiator and as head of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.Warnke's past postitions against development of new weapons would weaken "his ability to carry on negotiations and bring back a treaty that can be accepted," Stennis said.
Assistant DemocrLeader Alan Cranston (Calif.) said his latest count showes at least 58 votes for Warnke as negotiator, and more for the ACDA post. The vote on negotiator takes place at 5 p.m. today, on ACDA one hour later.
The harshest attack came from Jackson. He said Warnke in recent hearings had falsely told senators that he had been concerned in 1972, in connection with an arms agreement, about the disparities in numbers of nuclear weapons between the United States and Russia. Jackson said Warnke, in sending up a copy of his 1972 statements to prove it, had first "doctored" the meaning by drooping a comma from a akey statements, then had blamed it on a typist. Jackson read off long list of 1972 statements in which Warnke appeared totally unconcerned about disparities in numbers.
His point was that Warnke didn't really understand the importance of numericals disparities but won't admit it, and is falsifying documents to make it appear he did.
Furiously scrabbling through old documents, Warnke defenders Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn) and Cranston finally came up with a couple of counter-quotiations that they said undercut Jackson's charges.
"What you're trying to do is not only split hairs. You're trying to take a nit out of a gnat and make an alligator of it," Humphrey said.
Goldwater said the Warnke nomination reflects the "dominant obvious position of the Carter administration and foreign affairs, namely, a position [WORD ILLEGIBLE] weakness" that reminds him of appeasement. He also criticized Carter [WORD ILLEGIBLE] "virtually declaring war" against [WORD ILLEGIBLE] African nations because of [WORD ILLEGIBLE] air policies and for "torn out" economic nostrums.