A group of individuals and organizations that have promoted arms control in the past yesterday announced support for a new act of Congress that would require that the director and deputy director of the arms control agency be civilians.
This move for new legislation is a response to President Carter's appointment of retired Lt. Gen. George M. Seignious II to be the new director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA). Some of the same groups and people who joined in yesterday's announcement also intend to oppose Seignious' confirmation in the Senate on the grounds that a military man should not head the only U.S. agency deliberately established to work for arms control.
Yesterday's announcement was made by Jeremy Stone, director of the Federation of American Scientists. Stone said the new legislation was supported by former ACDA director William C. Foster, former ambassador to Moscow George F. Kennan, Notre Dame University President Theodore M. Hesburgh and economist John Kenneth Galbraith, among others.
The White House appointed Seignious to the ACDA post after deciding it wanted a general in the job, and after two other military men turned it down. Administration sources said some White House officials thought the appointment of a general to ACDA would help sell new strategic arms agreements with the Soviet Union to the Senate.
Numerous arms control advocates have decried this idea as cynical and mistaken. Several conservative groups have also criticized the Seignious appointment, which will be considered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next year.