The following is a sample of the House debate on the MX missile yesterday:
Rep. Samuel S. Stratton (D-N.Y.): "We've had advice from Ambassador Paul H. Nitze; we're having advice from Ambassador Max M. Kampelman. We have had recommendations from the secretary of state that the worst thing that we could do in these negotiations which have just begun would be for the House of Representatives to vote down the MX, which would demonstrate that the Congress of the United States was not only split from the president and we were not providing a unified front to the Soviet Union but we would also send a message to the Soviet Union that as far as the House of Representatives was concerned we were willing to give away this missile that is designed to equal the missile that the Soviets have without getting a single concession out of the Soviet negotiators at the bargaining table.
"How do we expect to achieve an effective agreement without having a clear-cut indication that the United States is going to insist on concessions -- we're not going to give them away free?
"Let me make just two additional points. That is once again that we heard remarks on the floor this morning that we needed to increase our jobs, that there were people who were unemployed -- and certainly we want to do something to help those unemployed -- but I put in the Congressional Record a couple of weeks ago a detailed list of the jobs that would be created or the jobs that would be lost if the House of Representatives were to wipe out the funds set aside and presently spent for these 21 missiles: thirty-two thousand jobs in manufacturing agencies and companies from California to the shores of Massachusetts Bay. And certainly if we can have 32,000 good-paying jobs that is something that in areas of unemployment (and there are many around the country) I think that we can't ignore and we can't sneeze at.
"One final point, Mr. Chairman. It seems to me that the action that we take today if we, or if we are going to be taking in the days ahead this week, if we put our support, as have the members of the Senate, behind the MX, we will be doing nothing more than posting on our nation's borders some of those signs that are similar to many of those in areas in suburban Washington which read as follows. 'Warning: Neighborhood Watch. All suspicious activities are reported to 911, the Montgomery County Police.'
"By funding just 21 missiles we're putting up a sign that we are instituting a neighborhood watch to protect our country and that we don't intend to succumb to the threat of the SS18, the 19, the 24 and the 25."
Rep. Charles E. Bennett (D-Fla.): "Mr. Chairman, it would be a sad day if this important issue were to be tied to jobs; really, I have great difficulty understanding anybody arguing that you ought to build a nuclear weapon because of the jobs that it produces when its ultimate end would be to wipe out the lives of many, many people if it were ever effectively used . . . .
"It really is a tragic thing that a country that's dedicated to high principles like the United States of America would do what amounts to planning for a nuclear war. And that's what we are doing, because we are seeing to it that we don't have sufficient conventional strength in Europe and our leaders over there have told us that we would be overrun within an amount of days and would have to go to nuclear war.
"I would like to address for a moment the question of unity and the question of overall strength and its overall strength and its relationship to the MX issue. I say this because I've received several letters from the president. I've been invited down to the White House . . . . The Achilles' heel of our freedom and security today is a degenerate position of our conventional NATO forces in Europe. There is no such tragic failure with regard to strategic weapons at all. Both sides have a great redundancy in the field of nuclear weapons. Neither side can win a nuclear war, regardless of who starts it. And both sides know it . . . .
"Such heavy reliance on heavy first-use does not provide a credible basis for deterring what I believe to be the most likely threat that the alliance faces: Soviet intimidation and coercion of West European nations resulting from the threat of massive, conventional military superiority.
"I also read the other day a quotation in a newspaper by the president which really distressed me. It was implying there that those who oppose the MX were in some way less patriotic . . . . It is not my purpose to downgrade the patriotism or courage of anyone. It is my purpose, however, to say that I have yet to meet a person or to hear one quoted who has very much frontline combat experience and who has been an enthusiast or still is an enthusiast of the MX . . . .
"I do not claim to be any great hero, but I do think I should share with those who do not know me that I served five years in the infantry in World War II both as an enlisted man and as an officer. I fought in hand-to-hand combat in New Guinea and the Philippines. And there I led a thousand guerrillas in combat against the Japanese . . . . I do not claim any great credit for this, and there are undoubtedly many here in the House of Representatives who served more and with more distinction than I have . . . .
"But when I read statements made about patriotism and courage for one's country being tied up with support for a faulty, vulnerable weapon it not only disgusts me, it makes me furious.
"I'm voting 'no' on the MX, and I'm certainly in hopes of the president not questioning my patriotism. And a 'no' vote on a wasteful program should never be construed as anti-American or soft on defense . . . "