Nation: SALT II: The Long Vigil

Minor differences keep delaying a U.S.-Soviet arms pact

It is one of the longest countdowns in diplomatic memory—and one of the most frustrating. For months the end of the U.S.-Soviet arms talks has seemed so imminent that officials and reporters have mounted a kind of SALT vigil. But a settlement keeps turning out to be just beyond reach. No sooner have negotiators resolved what earlier had been described as the last few issues than new points of dispute pop up.

Last week was typical. As it began, there were encouraging signs that the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. might approve a SALT II draft...

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