Salt Stall

Buying time for a summit

Normally, a report that the U.S. Air Force had slipped a month or two behind schedule in outfitting some B-52s with cruise missiles would hardly have stirred a ripple in either Washington or Moscow. But in diplomacy as in comedy, timing is everything, and the timing of the report leaked by Administration officials raised strong suspicions that the real reason behind it was superpower politics: a holding action to keep alive the somewhat shaky prospects for a summit meeting this fall between President Reagan and Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

So far, some 123 B-52s have been equipped with cruise missiles capable...

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