Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.) yesterday denounced President Carter's draft registration proposal as "nothing more than a symbolic gesture" and said he would lead a Senate fillibuster against it.
Hatfield said the filibuster attempt would be made against the bill appropriating extra money to Selective Service to finance registration of men and women born in 1960 and 1961.
"Registration will do nothing to enhance our military preparedness," said Hatfield at a press conference where he released a Jan. 16 report by Selective Service opposing registration in advance of an emergency. r
Such registration, advised Selective Service Director Bernard D. Rostker in his report sent to the White House before Carter came out for advance registration, would be "redundant and unnecessary." Waiting to register until after an emergency was declared would cost the nation only seven days over advance registration, Rostker wrote.
"Under no circumstances," said Hatfield, could the draft supply soldiers in time to repond quickly to an emergency. Such quick response would have to come from reserve forces, he said.
Registration, he contended, is the first step toward bringing back the draft. The draft, he added, would provide the president with an unlimited source of manpower.
"If we had not had the draft," Hatfield claimed, "we would not have been in Vietnam, or for as long."
Among supporters of his filibuster effort, Hatfield said, are Sens. Jake Garn (R-Utah) and George McGovern (D-S.D.).
Garn said he would participate in a filibuster only against registration of women. He said he also opposes male-only registration as merely cosmetic, but would not filibuster against that.
McGovern confirmed that he is ready to participate in "lengthy debate" on the registration measure, shying away from the word filibuster.