In an accommodation to the conservative wing of the Senate, the Reagan administration has decided against resubmitting the nomination of Robert T. Grey Jr. as deputy director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, officials said yesterday.
The nomination of Grey, a protege of ACDA Director Eugene V. Rostow, was first challenged last March by Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and other conservative senators on the grounds that his arms control views were not conservative enough and that he had once been an assistant to Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.).
Reached last night, Grey said, "When life gives you a lemon, you make lemonade. I'm a foreign service officer. I will serve where my country wants me."
Rostow, who had been reported as ready to resign over the hold on Grey's nomination in the 97th Congress, said last night that he would stay in his post as the chief U.S. negotiator in nuclear arms reduction talks set to resume later this month in Geneva. He added, "I serve at the pleasure of the president. But, of course, I always reserve the right, if it becomes impossible to carry out the job, to resign."
Rostow said it is "terribly difficult" to conduct sensitive foreign policy initiatives that are subjected to the daily tugging and hauling of domestic politics.
Such a climate, he said, represents "a very great risk to the future of American foreign policy in the handling of delicate negotiations affecting our relations with the Soviet Union, Europe, Japan and other allies."
At the same time yesterday, President Reagan and Secretary of State George P. Shultz reaffirmed their commitment to nominate Richard Burt as assistant secretary for European affairs despite months-long opposition from conservative senators led by Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and several Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The opposition to Burt is also partly political, but Intelligence Committee members, led by Chairman Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) and Malcolm Wallop (R-Wyo.), have challenged Burt on "security" grounds for an article he wrote as a New York Times reporter in June, 1979, detailing the existence of a spy satellite code-named Chalet.
Yesterday's decision represents an attempt by the White House to resolve in the new Congress what had become a form of bureaucratic hostage-taking throughout last year.
In retaliation for the holds on the Grey and Burt nominations, Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) put a hold on the nomination of Richard T. McCormack, a former Helms aide nominated as assistant secretary of state for economic affairs.