President Carter, expressing renewed optimism over strategic arms limitation talks (SALT), says he foresees that new negotations with the Soviet Union will begin soon over banning antisatellite weapons.
The United States, the President says, recently proposed such discussions to the Soviets, who have been testing killer satillites. "They are taking this under advisement, and I would guess that negotations might commence on this subject before too many weeks go by," Carter said.
The statements were made in an interview Friday in the White House with out-of-town editors and broadcasters. Transcripts of the discussion were released yesterday shortly before the President left for Annapolis to attend the Georgia Tech-Navy football game.
Before leaving, Carter, a Naval Academy alumnus, quietly signed two proclamations putting stiff new tariffs on imported sugar that could raise its supermarkets price by 3 1/2 cents a pound.
A White House spokesman said Carter made the move "with great reluctance." The administration had fought for a system of subsidies for farmers faced with slumping sugar prices without raising prices across the board for consumers. But it lost out to congressional interests.
Lynn Daft, a White House aide, said the tariff program is expected to gradually push sugar prices from 21.68 to 25 cents a pound and will cost consumers from $400 million to $800 million in the next year.
Critics of the import fees have charged they will provide windfall profits to sugar processors, who have stockpiled large quantities, and may impair trade relations with developing countries that export large amounts of sugar.
During his interview with visiting reporters, Carter expressed concern for the first time over recent news leaks on the talks for a second strategic arms treaty. The leaks, he said, were "ill-advised" and had raised complaints from the Soviets.
But Carter declared the leaks won't be "that much of an obstacle."
"My prediction is we will have a SALT agreement," he said. "There will be a SALT II. We will immediately continue with a SALT III."
His statements about negotiations on banning antisatellite weapons were considered significant because of increasing concern expressed by administration officials in recent weeks over the weapons.
Last month, for instance, Defense Secretary Harold Brown warned that the Soviet Union has perfected its space weapons to the point that they could intercept and destroy "some" American satellites. And last week, White House press secretary Jody Powell warned that deployment of killer satellites would increase the chances of a "first strike" in space.
The United States is not as far along as the Soviet Union in antisatellite weapons, but has recently launched an effort to catch up.
Satellites are currently protected under two U.S.-Soviet agreements: the Outer Space Treaty in which each nation agrees not to interfere with the other's space exploration: and the Anti-Balliastic Missile Treaty of 1972, which provies that one country must not interfere with the methods the other uses to verify ABM activities.
The SALT treaty, which places limits on intercontinental missiles and bombers, technically expired Oct. 3. Last month, the administration reached a compromise agreement with the Soviets on major points of a new treaty, but negotiations on other points continue.
"Some very important differences" remain in the talks, Carter said in the interview. "We are looking for reductions on both sides. . . . We have found in recent weeks the Soviets to be very amenable to changing their positions enough to accommodate our concerns, and we are making good progress."
On other topics, the Rresident said: The economic growth rate to drop "a little bit" next year the 5 per cent average expected year.
Cubans are threatening [WORD ILLEGIBLE] nent peace in Africa by spreading Mozambique and "building up so-called advisers in Ethiopia."
That his recent fireside [WORD ILLEGIBLE] energy issues has been "almost versally praised by members of Congress."
That he has had no argument with Federal Reserve Board Chairman Arthur F. Burns, but "I haven't decided" whether to reappoint him.