A long-awaited Defense Department study of Soviet arms-agreement violations, which will be sent to President Reagan today or Wednesday, accuses Moscow of systematically breaking treaties to gain military advantages but does not recommend any U.S. responses, administration sources said yesterday.
The 70-page report has been considered important because of its scheduled arrival at the White House only a week before Reagan's summit meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva, where the president is expected to press the Soviet leader on arms violations.
The study, drafted primarily by Assistant Defense Secretary Richard N. Perle, generally recounts details of alleged Soviet violations already made public by the administration. It contains no new revelations, sources said, although it will include some indication of possible future violations.
Suggested U.S. responses to Soviet violations of SALT II and other treaties, originally intended to be the focus of the Perle study, will instead be contained in a second part that will not be ready until after the Nov. 19-20 summit, according to one source.
One senior official attributed that delay to a desire to see how Gorbachev responds to Reagan's summit presentation. Another official, however, said the Pentagon report "is being subsumed" by pre-summit preparations and will not be the "time bomb" many expected.
The study was ordered last June by the National Security Council in the wake of a major intergovernmental battle over how to respond to Soviet violations. At that time, Reagan decided to ignore a proposal from Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger to exceed the numerical weapons limits of the unratified SALT II treaty.
Instead, the president ordered the dismantling of a U.S. Poseidon submarine and its 16 nuclear missiles in a move that kept the United States below the treaty ceiling and surprised arms-control advocates and opponents alike.
With no summit in sight at that time, the Pentagon was authorized to draft a blueprint for future U.S. responses should Moscow continue its pattern of violations.
The report being sent to Reagan this week, with a 12-page executive summary, will contain a "careful and deliberate analysis" of Soviet actions and their "significance," one senior official said.
For example, the study attempts to explain why the Soviets deliberately built a large radar in central Siberia, in what the United States claims is a violation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, the official said.
It then analyzes that action along with "a variety of other developments" which the official said document Moscow's systematic preparations to be able to "break out" of the treaty by quickly installing a nationwide ABM system.
The study also provides more details on the alleged SALT II violations posed by the new Soviet mobile SS25 intercontinental ballistic missiles, already the focus of a major pre-summit complaint by Weinberger.
The study, which one Pentagon official has dubbed "RSVP" -- Response to Soviet Violations Policy -- is the latest symbol of pre-summit maneuvering within the Reagan administration. Perle, a relentless critic of the Soviets and past arms agreements, has been described in news reports as delaying the study to prevent other officials from reviewing and tempering it before Reagan leaves for Geneva on Saturday.
One source close to Perle said yesterday that in ordering the study, the White House had never intended it to be an interagency document and thus review was not to come until after it was completed. The source added that Perle never expected it to be made public.
Other officials said yesterday that the apparent failure of the Pentagon report to carry the explosive punch anticipated by some administration moderates may indicate that the violations issue has run its course, at least temporarily. One official suggested that the repeated complaints about Soviet violations will lose its impact -- both in Moscow and with the American people -- unless a forceful counteraction is adopted.
The issue of Soviet violations originally was raised, in part, to cast doubt on the reliability of any arms agreement with Moscow, according to this official. However, the military impact of the violations cited has not demonstratively threatened to upset the nuclear balance between the superpowers, he said.
Furthermore, the recent Soviet offer to halt construction on the Siberian radar, though unacceptable since it required a similar halt to two legitimate U.S. radar projects, demonstrated for the first time the possibility of negotiating a solution, he added.
In a related matter, it was learned yesterday that Perle and Defense Department Under Secretary for Policy Fred C. Ikle will accompany the presidential party to the Geneva summit as "senior advisers."
The presence of key Defense Department officials implies that the United States will be prepared to draft a statement of arms-control principles with the Soviets, one Pentagon source said, although some U.S. officials consider such a statement unlikely.