Remarks by the Marine Corps commandant, Gen. Alfred M. Gray Jr., last week to the Defense Forum Foundation, excerpted from a Reuter transcript:

When I get time sometimes, on the weekend and the like, I hang around 7-Eleven. That's where I find out what the American people really think about.

I remember when I first came in town in 1987, and we were working, as you know, on both sides of the river with great alacrity on a nuclear treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and I remember several weeks before we went to the Oval Office, and we were discussing this in the Pentagon, in the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Of course, normally we don't talk about what we discuss in there, as a matter of privilege. But I'll share this with you.

We were talking about the INF Treaty, and the fact that it was going to remove a class of weapons on each side. And that seemed good. We talked a lot about the verification, the costs, and those kinds of things, as you would expect. And we also talked about the continuing modernization of nuclear weapons in the Soviet Union, and therefore, the need to continue

to modernize our strategic nuclear capabil- ity.

And they got around to me. And the then-chairman, Admiral {William J.} Crowe, said, Al, you got anything to say? And I said, I understand this, but they have trouble with this at 7-Eleven. And he said, what in the hell did you say?

I said, I understand what the briefing is, and I understand the position here, but they have trouble with this at 7-Eleven.

I said, they have trouble at 7-Eleven understanding you're going to get rid of a class of weapons on this side, and you're going to get rid of a class of weapons on that side, and yet, you're still going to modernize and buy more. . . .

Well, several weeks later, before Mr. Gorbachev and President Reagan signed the treaty, we were over in the Oval Office. . . . And General {John R.} Galvin was back again from Europe. And we were talking about the INF Treaty. . . .

Then Admiral Crowe said, but Mr. President, it's like Al says, they have trouble with this at 7-Eleven. And the commander in chief said, what in the hell did you say?

. . . So then the chairman said, go ahead, explain that, Al.