Three senators who oppose the nomination of Kenneth L. Adelman to be director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency charged yesterday that memos Adelman wrote in January and delivered Monday to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee contain information inconsistent with his testimony during confirmation hearings.
Sen. Paul E. Tsongas (D-Mass.) told a news conference yesterday, "I find it difficult to believe" the new material is "consistent with what Adelman said" during the hearings about whether he intended to make significant personnel changes at the agency.
Sens. Larry Pressler (R-S.D.) and Charles McC. Mathias Jr. (R-Md.) made similar statements during interviews yesterday.
During Adelman's first appearance on Jan. 27 he was asked by committee Chairman Charles H. Percy (R-Ill.) if he had discussed any personnel changes with the secretary of state. Adelman replied that he had not, and added, "I have not addressed the personnel situation at all."
The documents that have raised questions about this testimony, according to committee sources, include:
The controversial five-page memo to Adelman from Ambassador Edward L. Rowny, the chief U.S. negotiatior at Geneva talks on reducing U.S. and Soviet strategic nuclear weapons.
The Rowny memo contains critical comments about top members of his negotiating team and many key officials at ACDA.
A handwritten note, attached to the Rowny memo, from Adelman to a friend, Assistant Interior Secretary Robin West. In the note, addressed to "Robin, eyes only," according to the sources, Adelman described the memo as "very confidential views on people" by "Ed Rowny."
A Jan. 17 memo from Adelman to Kenneth W. Dam, the deputy secretary of state, in which Adelman says, according to sources, that he has asked West "to investigate the ACDA personnel situation," and that "after my confirmation, he West will present a package" of recommendations to Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Dam and Adelman.
"Nothing will be done, or even hinted, about personnel before the hearings," Adelman wrote, underlining "even hinted," according to sources.
The new documents create additional problems for President Reagan's nomination of Adelman, 36, who currently is deputy U.S. representative to the United Nations. The nomination already has gone to the Senate floor with a Foreign Relations Committee recommendation that it not be approved.
The committee currently is allowing only senators to read the Adelman documents.
Tsongas said yesterday, however, that he would try to force the committee to release the documents next Tuesday if they have not been made public by then.
Adelman was at the U.S. mission at the United Nations yesterday, but he was not available for comment, according to his secretary.
West, contacted Tuesday evening, said his copies of the documents had been passed to the committee but that he could not comment further.
A committee aide said yesterday that Adelman supporters do not believe the material is damaging to the nominee.
Mathias, who said he heard of major personnel changes from sources inside the ACDA, including a "hit list," asked Adleman at a Feb. 3 hearing about talk of a "purge." Adelman replied that he had never heard anyone "talk in those terms" and that this was "personally distressing to me because I think they are just rumors to make this situation more difficult than it is."
Less than three weeks earlier, on Jan. 14, according to the material delivered to the committee, Adelman had received the memo from Rowny and turned it over to West. The memo contained Rowny's advice to Adelman about up to 18 ACDA staffers, some of whom he praised but most of whom he criticized, according to sources who have read it.
In addition, Senate committee sources said, there is evidence that Rowny made other suggestions to Adelman on personnel in a meeting and a telephone call from Geneva.
Tsongas pointed out that the handwritten note by Adelman identifying the memo as Rowny's "confidential views on people" was "in serious variance with the claim " by Rowny in a statement last Friday that the memo's points "do not represent my views then or now."