A day after Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger aroused Canadian sensitivities by raising the possibility of deploying U.S. missile defenses in Canada, the Pentagon released a transcript yesterday that omitted his controversial remarks.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman in Ottawa, where the transcript was prepared, explained that 11 key words were "inadvertently dropped" by an office typist.
Weinberger, speaking in an interview Monday with Canadian television after the two nations signed a new agreement on joint air defense, was asked if U.S.-Canadian defense against Soviet cruise missiles might mean placing American weapons launchers on Canadian soil.
"I don't have any idea as to where the defenses would be placed," Weinberger replied. "They would be first placed in the most effective way. But I think what we would try to do would be to locate the best places for defenses. Some might be here, some might be in the United States, some might be at sea."
Twenty-four hours later, a Pentagon official handed out a transcript of the interview omitting reference to possible locations for the defenses.
"It was absolutely a fluke error," explained Stan Zuckerman, the U.S. Embassy spokesman, adding that it is "weird" that the omissions covered only the controversial portion of the interview. He said a secretary had mistakenly dropped the line while typing a transcript, which was later cabled to Washington.
Weinberger's remarks, coming at the end of President Reagan's visit to Quebec, raised a small flurry because some Canadian politicians have charged that the new air defense agreement might commit Canada to accepting U.S. weapons.