Statement by Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks

March 21, 1983

The current discussion of Ambassador Ed Rowny and the talking points prepared for his use in a meeting with the President's nominee for the position of Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency is a disservice to all concerned. Ambassador Rowny has disavowed the points, indicating that he did not sign or subscribe to them.

Unjustified attacks on Ed Rowny -- a dedicated, experienced, competent public servant who has devoted his life's work to our nation's security -- do little to serve the country. Ambassador Rowny's skill and wisdom have been critical factors in the preparation of the President's START proposals and in presenting them at the table in Geneva. This proposal is part of the most comprehensive arms reduction initiative in the recent history of arms negotiations, and the President believes that the progress we have seen in START is due in large measure to the statesmanlike and vigorous actions of Ed Rowny.

The President and Ambassador Rowny have the same goal: substantial, equitable, and verifiable arms reductions. Ambassador Rowny's conduct has been entirely consistent with that goal.