Some splits have developed in the national nuclear freeze movement, with some leaders wanting to fight particular nuclear weapons in the short run while continuing to work for the mutual U.S.-Soviet freeze on all such weapons that remains their long-term goal.
As one leader put it this week, "The short term is well-defined. Get Congress to pass a non-binding freeze resolution. But the rub is what do we do after that?"
The movement's original leaders want to stick to their original agenda: winning approval of a freeze resolution in Congress while developing more grass-roots political support in hopes of influencing candidates in the 1984 presidential and congressional elections.
However, others in the movement, including some state and local leaders, want to use their new-found political strength to challenge specific nuclear weapons programs as they come up this year in Congress.
Then there are outside groups that are attempting to exercise influence over the movement. For example, Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government is holding a foundation-financed three-day conference this month on "the nuclear weapons freeze and arms control." The seminar directors plan to produce a quick book, based on conference papers, summarizing the pros and cons of the movement and where it should head.
Freeze leaders were especially irritated by the schedule for the concluding session of the Harvard conference, which was loaded with establishment figures such as McGeorge Bundy and former Carter administration defense undersecretary William Perry. Only one of the original freeze movement leaders, Randall Forsberg, is to speak at that session, and she had to negotiate her way onto the panel.
Some signs of the pressures developing in the freeze movement were visible at a meeting of its 13-member strategy group in early December in San Francisco, where some local leaders brought up the question of tacking provisos aimed at specific weapons onto defense money bills as they come up in Congress this year.
"They wanted to use the power of the purse to enforce a freeze," one leader said. It is interesting, he said, that representatives of some of the members of Congress who support a freeze resolution opposed the idea of attacking specific weapons.
"They were afraid they couldn't sell that on the Hill," one participant said this week.
The problem in going after specific weapons, one source said, is that it runs counter to the idea of U.S.-Soviet "mutuality" that is central to the freeze resolution. Freeze leaders, this source said, are sensitive to the charge that President Reagan and others have made that they are manipulated from abroad and want to make certain that any approach to American nuclear weapons also applies to Soviet weapons. That is difficult to do in congressional amendments.
Attempting to meet that problem, the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) is circulating a draft amendment to the fiscal 1984 defense authorization bill that would prohibit U.S. testing of the MX intercontinental ballistic missile if the Soviet Union does not again test its new solid-fueled missile. The Soviets tried their first flight test of the new missile last Oct. 26, and it failed after the first stage.
Jeremy Stone, FAS director, plans to offer his proposal to the freeze national conference when it meets early next month in St. Louis.
A member of the freeze strategy group said this week that the group would look at proposals that represent "arms control by mutual restraint." Citing nuclear tests as an example, this freeze leader suggested one amendment might say "Congress won't appropriate money for nuclear weapons tests until the Soviets do something, such as nuclear testing."
The national coordinator of the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Coalition, Randy Kehler, said last week that there is concern that taking on specific weapons programs might "detract attention from the comprehensive freeze idea . . . . The essential task is to expand support for the freeze at the local level."
The lobbying that Kehler supports is scheduled to take place March 7 and 8, and will see representatives of the grass-roots freeze movement coming to Washington to lobby for the House and Senate freeze resolutions.
The House version was introduced this week and already has 151 co-sponsors, according to a freeze spokesman.
One freeze leader said that the development of more grass-roots support for a bilateral freeze and efforts to limit spending on specific weapons are not incompatible.
"If we win by a good margin in the House, say we get 300 votes," he said, "we would have a lot of momentum which could be applied to weapons . . . , but always making it contingent on Soviet restraint."