Kenneth L. Adelman, who said yesterday that he would continue his battle to become director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, appeared to be facing yet another round of questioning by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before his controversial nomination gets to the Senate floor, according to committee sources.
Meanwhile, the administration made it clear that it would press for his approval despite the Senate committee's motion Wednesday that President Reagan reconsider it. White House press spokesman Larry Speakes said yesterday that there were no plans to withdraw the nomination and that Reagan is "solidly behind it," which the president said at his news conference Wednesday.
In a statement yesterday, Adelman said that his nomination fight had become a "vehicle for a larger debate" over the Reagan disarmament program. He equated support for his confirmation with "support for the president."
A majority of the committee members were prepared to vote against Adelman, 36, at the Wednesday meeting. His critics contend that he lacks experience for the job and does not have a strong commitment to arms negotiations.
Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) will seek the additional hearing, which would be the nominee's third before the Senate committee, when it meets Tuesday, according to a Cranston aide. Cranston, a leading opponent of the nomination, wants Adelman to answer questions under oath about a 1981 newspaper article that quoted him as saying of arms negotiations: "I think it's a sham."
Yesterday, Adelman said he did not recall ever making that statement and that it did not "reflect my opinions."
According to committee sources, Chairman Charles H. Percy (R-Ill.) "would be inclined" to grant Cranston's request for a hearing "as long as it is not an effort to delay the nomination indefinitely."
Adelman's first appearance before the committee was a disaster for him because, according to one senator, he "appeared overly evasive." His second appearance was better, but his more complete answers on that occasion only appeared to solidify some of his present opposition.
Along with deciding on another Adelman hearing, the committee must also determine how it will handle the nomination. It can vote to recommend that the Senate approve the nomination, recommend that it be rejected or make no recommendation at all and just send the name to the full Senate for a vote.
It also could vote to table or indefinitely postpone action, thereby killing the nomination.
The complications of the choices were so confusing that one Adelman opponent, Sen. Larry Pressler (R-S.D.), first announced yesterday he would support a recommendation that the Senate reject Adelman and then reversed himself when he realized that the full body might confirm him. Late yesterday, Pressler said he would vote only in favor of a motion that killed the nomination in committee.
Adelman, the deputy U.S representative to the United Nations, held a brief news conference yesterday afternoon in New York City in an attempt to defuse the impact of the controversial news article.
With White House approval, he released a fact sheet sent to the 17 members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in which he said he had "no recollection of ever granting an interview" to Ken Auletta, the reporter who quoted him in The New York Daily News.
The fact sheet, administration sources said, answered questions raised by Cranston and made another hearing unnecessary.
Auletta, in an interview last week, said the quotations from Adelman that appeared in the article came during a one-hour telephone conversation he had in May, 1981, before Adelman got his position with the U.N. delegation.