The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on July 24, 1969 · Page 6
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July 24, 1969

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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 6

Des Moines, Iowa
Issue Date:
Thursday, July 24, 1969
Page 6
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An Independent GAUDN™ CowLts, Pre.itdtnt JOHN CoiftES, Chairman of the Board KF.NNETH MAcDoNAtn, Erf/for «nrf Publisher DAVID ', General Manager A. EDWARD HUNS. Manapinf Editor . LAIRCN Soni, Editorial Page Editor Louis H. NORMS, Business Manager One World in Space The United States has won the race to put a man on the moon, but where in space should the nation run next? AS the Apollo 11 completes its picture perfect flight, this question needs public attention. In recent years space programs have lost some of their shine. The $5 billion NASA budgets of the mid-1960s dropped to less than $4 billion in fiscal 1969. Spending cutbacks have cut employment among NASA contractors from a peak of 420,000 in 1966 to about 200,000 now. The Apollo Project's Dr. Wernher von Braun complained in a recent intervievir that his main effort for two years has been "following orders to scrub the industrial structure that we had built up." The huge costs of the Vietnam, war have squeezed other federal activities. Space spending has been in the center of debate over national priorities. Should this money have been spent on making our urban craters more livable.? Or, if spent in scientific exploration and development, is the ocean a more promising frontier? Supporters of the space program hope the Apollo 11 achievement will dispel these doubts and restore the $5 billion plus budgets of the mid-1960's. They argue that the massive space machinery acquired by the United States should not be abandoned. There are new voyages to take into the unknown. The specter of the U.S.-U.S.S.R. space race, which galvanized support for the moon program, again has been raised. Von Braun contrasted U.S. budget cutbacks with an estimated 10 per cent a year increase in Soviet space budgets. Russia's space spending is estimated at 2 per cent of .its gross national product, compared with the current U.S. outlay of about 0.5 per cent of its G.N.P. President Nixon has sounded sympathetic to this view. Speaking last September in Houston, he said: "I consider the space program as one of our nation- al imperatives, that it must be supported at a level assuring efficient and steady progress, that the ups and downs of recent time in planning, programming and financing must be brought to a halt, that as President I will make certain our country retains leadership in this great endeavor." Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew also sounds like a space "activist." After the Apollo 11 blastoff, he said the United States should next place the first man on the planet Mars, a project which would cost an estimated $60 billion, or more than double the moon program's cost. * * * Before the country gets caught up in a new race, Americans ought to consider how such competition would appear to any intelligent life which might be,on other planets. The planet Earth has abundant resources, but not abundant enough to afford duplicative, parallel space exploration programs. There is a cosmic logic behind a new effort by the United States to get the Soviet Union and other nations to work together in a single space research undertaking. Three Presidents have urged the Soviets to co-operate in space, but, as Executive Secretary Edward C. Welsh of the National Aeronautics and Space Council has said, it takes "at least two to co-operate, and the Soviets have been reluctant." The Apollo 11 flight might change this reluctance. It closes one chapter in man's adventure into space and the school boy competition which marked this first period need not mark the future. Together, pooling resources and scientific capabilities, we could achieve greater leaps forward sooner. Mankind has been stirred by the exploration of space in a manner which transcends national boundaries. This spirit should be pursued before it deteriorates into a new and wasteful rivalry., Casual 'Peer Review' of Dentists The Iowa Dental Association reports "no evidence of fraud" by 13 dentists singled out for investigation because they received $12,000 or more for treating Medicaid patients last year. There may well be no fraud, but the dental association's examination is not satisfactory proof. The association's "peer review committee" merely looked at a sample of each dentist's records for treating pri : vate and Medicaid patients. The records were selected in most cases by the dentists themselves. A study of records selected by the person with an interest in making his performance look good is useless for spotting possible wrongdoing. The Department of Social Services agreed to "peer review*' by the various health care groups on the assumption that members of a group are in the best position to evaluate their colleagues. The performance of the dental association's "peer review committee" raises questions about the validity of the assumption. The few questions asked by the committee were superficial. No recipients of dental services were contacted, nor was a comprehensive effort made to determine in each case if the dentists under study recommended unnecessary or excessive work. We hope the other health groups undertaking "peer review'* will profit by this experience and do a more thorough job than the dentists. Serious consideration also should be given to placing at least one non-member of the profession on each committee. A public member might not know whether a bridge or crown work is indicated, but you don't have to be a dentist to know that selective review of records culled from the files by the party under study is a waste of time. Liquor Stocks Out of Balance Iowa first opened state liquor stores for business in mid-1934. Less than a year later, the state auditor blasted the Liquor Control Commission for overstocking with four-year supplies of some slow-selling brands of gin, whisky and wine. The same criticism has been leveled regularly ever since. Gov. Robert Ray is the most recent critic. He charged that the commission has so much slow-moving stock on harid that "it might take as long as 100 year's to sell some of the brands." Overstocking has in times past been blamed on bad management, bad judgment, political influence of suppliers and personal favoritism. This year's oversupply has been attributed in part to anticipation of distillery strikes. The state auditor in 1967 estimated that the commission was carrying $1,6 million worth of liquor in excess of the three-month supply, the maximum inventory called for by its own policy. While cases of unpopular bourbons gather dust, customers who long for a reasonable selection of good table wines go unserved. This neglect involves more than expensive imported varieties. The often praised, but inexpensive, California varieties are equally hard to find. As a state monopoly, the Liquor Commission is obligated to serve a broad spectrum of consumer demands — not just concentrate on the high-profit, mass de, ; mand items. We hope the governor and the Legislature will take an interest in more than the immediate problem of thinning down the over-supply. They Should thoroughly appraise the state liquor retailing operation and revamp it to provide the kind of service which the people of Iowa ara entitled to expect. President's Investigator Our colleague Clark Mollenhoff has been appointed deputy counsel to the President of the United States and so, to our regret, is leaving the Washington staff of The Register and Tribune. We will miss his probing reports. For 23 years he has been exposing mistakes and wrongdoing of government officials from the Polk County courthouse up to Congress, the federal departments and the White House. ' Now he will be doing the same kind of investigating for the President within the government. So far as we know, this is the first time a President has delegated an official to this special, exclusive assignment. All Presidents have used their staffs to check on the activities of the federal departments and agencies. But President Nixon is putting new emphasis on this duty by setting up a new position for it. The President couldn't have picked a better man for the job. If political appointees and bureaucrats try to interpose obstacles against Mollenhoff's efforts to get the facts, you will hear the explosion all the way from Washington. Vote for Cutting Oil Subsidy The House Ways and Means Committee has voted 18-to-7 to cut the oil depletion tax allowance from 27V4 per cent to 20 per cent on income from production in this country and to eliminate the allowance for foreign production. This allowance has ^permitted an oil company to deduct 27% per cent of its gross income from its net income before figuring its federal income tax, so long as the deduction did not exceed 50 per cent of net income. Smaller allowances have been granted for other minerals and many of these would also be reduced by the committee's proposal. • The proposal adopted by the committee goes farther than its staff had recommended. The staff recommendation called for reducing the allowance to 23 per cent a^d continuing its use on foreign production. It also goes well beyond any reform recommended 'to the committee by President Johnson or President Nixon. The depletion allowance is one of several tax loopholes which have permitted favored multi-millionaires to pay little or no taxes while middle and lower income groups have carried an increasingly heavy burden. For many years it has been a prime target of tax reformers. Senators and representatives from oil-producing states had managed to ward off all reform efforts until this year: The vote in the Ways and Means committee indicates that public interest in serious tax reform may have attained the kind of power required to overcome this kind of special interest politics. LETTKHS to the EDITOR Attacks Influence Of Politics on War To Iht Editor: I have before me an article ["Report Nixon Set '70 Date to Recall All U.S. Troops," The Register, July 9] from which I quote: "Politically, as senators recalled the discussion, the "President feared that large numbers of Americans still committed in Vietnam would create a public mood at home that would condemn many Republican candidates to defeat in 1970." . . . It is difficult to understand how politicians can live with themselves when they resort to political conduct that involves the lives of young men. Is Readers are Invited to submit letters for publication to The Open, Forum Editor, Des Moines Register, Des Molnes, la. 50304. Complete names and addresses are required. The editor reserves the right to shorten letters. Letters will not be returned. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^j^^^^^^^^^^^^^ it worse to be politically dead than physically dead? Many more young men will die by the t i m e the 1970 elections come to pass. . If so-called good Americans are working for the end of an unprecedented bungling affair for our young, then let them come forth now to bring the men home and not wait until it comes near the time for elections ... — Mrs. Wayne T. Simmons, 602 Carol ave., Mt. Pleasant, la. 52641. Disputes Editorial On Cotton Subsidies To Iht Editor: Your editorial of July 10, "No Limit on Cotton Subsidies," was incomplete and misleading. You implied that a majority of the Senate (53-34), including our Senator Jack Miller, voted in favor of the big cotton producers. Actually the vote was for the taxpayers and smaller farmers. You neglected to point out that a vote for the $20,000 payment limitation would trigger the "snap-back" provision under which, as testified to by the secretary of agriculture, the government would have had the cost of the cotton program increased by $160 million! Under this provision, if, because of a payments limitation, USDA is unable to make available to all cotton co-operators through payments the full amount of price supports to which they would otherwise be entitled, then USDA must provide price support at not less than 65 per cent of parity. Your editorial says that "studies" of the -payments in recent years show that even if all farmers receiving more than $20,000 stayed out of the programs, this would have no effect on production control. What "studies?". . . G. C. Wallace, Clarence, la. 52216. EDITOR'S NOTE: As we said in an earlier editorial, the snap-back provision can be changed. Former Undersecretary of Agriculture John Schnittker testified that production control would not be affected, on the basis of USDA figures on compliance. Asks Research on Earthly Matters To th* Editor) The letter of July 17 attributing crib deaths to the milk of the helpful cow is of interest. True, some infants may be unbalanced by, or to use a medical term, allergic to cow's milk. On the other hand, many are sensitive to, and are unbalanced by their mother's milk, and some baby foods and synthetic fabrics. Many adults have lived to a ripe pld age, drinking cow's milk and smoking tobacco, without becoming senile, having a heart attack or suffering from cancer. Is not then a little unbiased research on this matter here on earth in order, as well as that on the, mysteries-of outer space?-E. R. Withell, D.C., Elkader, la. >• To Mars in Rags? To th« Editor) If we must, as Vice-President Agnew contends, land on Mars by the end of the century, pray let us not do so in rags. Better not to go than to ride, as we did to the moon, on the backs of the poor .-John B. horn, 490* S.W. Fifteenth St., Des Moines 50315. Satisfied (Tulll WWW) A gentleman received a computer-calculated bill from his friendly local department .store for $00,00 amount due. A month later, he received a past-due notice for the same $00.00 balance due. Determined to settle the matter once and for all, he made out a check for $00.00, marked "Paid in Full" and mailed it back with the card enclosed. The computer was obviously' satisfied, for the gentleman received no more delinquent notices. RUSSIA MORE EAGER THAN U. S. FOR A BAN*. Soviet Chemical-Biological Warfare Intentions Seen as No Threat to U.S. By Stephen S. Rosenfeld W ASHINGTON, D.C. - Defenders of American preparations for chemical and biological warfare often cite as an excuse the Soviet Union's CBW programs, although it is not always clear whether they do so out of determination td overtake the Russians — if the Russians are ahead — or whether they believe American readiness is necessary to deter a Soviet attack. In either case, the defenders commonly beg the question of what the Russians are up to, physically and politically, in CBW. Here are some answers. The intelligence information made available to CBW practitioners and, recently, to challengers convinces the converted that the Russians are very big in CBW but tends to leave the skeptics cool. One government man familiar with in- telligence says the classified materials "really tell you no more" than the published materials, which - in the specifics — amount mostly to assertions from sources with an ax to grind, sucli as Army chemical people or anti-Soviet emigres. Really Any Secrets? Against the Pentagon's standard contention that it cannot disclose its information lest its sources be compromised must be set the'question whether there really is any substantial secret information to disclose. Where documentation ebbs, deduction flows. In international forums, for instance, some Russian (and Czech and Polish) scientists have shown an expertise and a "feel" consistent with CBW work, one qualified source reports. Nixon's Campaign Pledge Collides With Free Trade # By Margaret Thompson (Contrtiiional Quarterly) WASHINGTON, D.C. - The problems of the textile industry have become a major trade headache for the Nixon Administration. Its response could well be a barometer of U.S. trade policy in the years ahead. The President has assured textile producers that-he will work to negotiate voluntary limitations on textile trade. To date, however, the efforts have been cold-shouldered by trading partners of the United States in Europe and Asia. The Administration is caught in a dilemma. It seeks to placate textile interests by persuading foreign textile exporters to discuss a voluntary arrangement; at the same time, it is trying to restrain Congress from establishing curbs. Some economists believe the stakes are high — affecting a wide range of issues in America's relations with her trading partners, including their willingness to consider other matters of interest to the U.S. Pledged to Retain Cotton Agreement As the G.O.P. presidential nominee last year, Nixon sent telegrams to Senator Strom Thurmond (Rep., S.C.) and other Republicans from textile-producing states. He pledged to retain the Long Term Arrangement on cotton — a voluntary agreement by 30 textile-trading nations which permits the U.S. to limit imports. The agreement, signed in 1962, expires in September, 1970. Nixon also pledged to seek a voluntary arrangement for man-made fibers and wool, , To fulfill his campaign commitment, the President sent Commerce Secretary Maurice H. Stans on missions to Europe and the Far East in April and May. While in Japan, Stans warned, "If a solution is not found within a reasonable- time, Congress may take the play away from us." He mentioned 90 days as a reasonable time to reach agreement, Stans returned empty-handed, nevertheless. Prospects for reaching a voluntary agreement are uncertain. The likely alternative: unilateral quotas. Fears Loss Of Jobs Spokesmen froni the textile industry contend that a rising flood of imports, particularly of wool and man-made fibers, threatens the very life of a critical .industry. Imports now claim about 7.7 per cent of the U.S. market. Stans has said that a continued open-door policy would result in the loss of 600,000 jobs over the next six years. Producers and unions have argued that this prospect is especially serious because textile manufacturing is concentrated in the nation's poorer regions of Appalachia and in parts of the South and New England. About 2.4 million workers are employed in textile manufacturing. The great majority of them are in the low-income group, and one- tenth of them are Negro. But foreign textile exporters have said C they find it difficult, to believe there is a serious economic case for U.S. import restrictions. They cite a 1968 U.S. Tariff Commission survey which reported that the domestic industry had "enjoyed a period of unparalleled growth since the early 1960s," with increased" output, sales and profits. Would Feed Inflation Opponents of a quota, including retail associations, have said that curbing would feed inflation by limiting the market to the higher-priced domestic mills. Import restrictions "are a little like bourbon for breakfast," Senator Charles McC. Mathias, jr. (Rep., Md.) said. "The relief is temporary and expensive and may be habit-forming." Quota bills have been introduced on products ranging from Canadian potash to Mexican tomatoes, Australian beef, Italian shoes, and Japanese and German steel. Stans has promised to work on obtaining voluntary shoe trade restrictions. Free traders worry that action on textiles will lead other industries to push more vigorously for similar treatment. The Administration's textile efforts may indicate that it will give them a sympa- n Wilt*, Tht Sun, London "It's time somebody, did something about ait these imports!" thetic hearing, despite the President's Feb. 6 remark that be took a "dim view of this tendency to move toward quotas." Some trade experts believe that the price of obtaining • textile accord would not only be to unleash a wave of protectionism, but also to harm relation! with America's trading partner*. This would come at a time when the U.S. is trying to obtain more favorable treatment for its huge agricultural exports and assurances on keeping open a $500 million European market for American soybean exports. The government also wants to open negotiations on West European border taxes and export rebates (non- tariff barriers) and on eliminating Japan's commodity import quotas. These issues have top priority in the Administration's trade policy. With no major free trade initiatives on the agenda for the immediate future, the Administration's attention now may focus on dealing with numerous other special cases without appearing to turn back the clock in U.S. trade policy and evoke retaliation from other nations. Russia and eastern Europe have high ratings in microbiology and chemistry. Years ago the Russians developed a superb vaccine for tularemia, which is It once a public health problem in the So* vlet Union and a biological warfare enterprise in We United States. The basic processes for nerve gas were pioneered by Soviet chemists in the 1990s. More* over, American scientists In a position to know have found their Soviet colleagues as passionately opposed to CBW as themselves. Chemical Capacity The various kinds of evidence lead one high-level and seemingly disinterested source to believe that the Russians have a strong chemical warfare capability but perhaps only a modest biological warfare capability. As to how these programs compare to ours, the question appeals chiefly to those who want more mpney or permissiveness for American programs. The Army's former research chief, Lt. Gen. Arthur G. Trudeau, said in 1960: "Russian leaders have boasted that they are fully prepared to use new chemical weapons of great significance and we know Soviet forces are trained in their use." That Soviet forces are so trained, "we" do know — from Red Army man- Mr. Rosen/eld is the Washington Post's analyst of Soviet affairs and formerly was the. Post correspondent in Moscow. uals and organization charts and, evidently, from agent and defector accounts. But that Russian leaders have "boasted" of readiness is hyperbole. Within the last year the American government mounted a crash search for Soyiet admissions of a CBW capability. Aside from guarded generalizations which can be read in several ways, only one such admission could be found. Thirty-one years ago the late Marshal Klimenti Voroshilov said that if Hitler used such weapons, Moscow wduld reply in kind. In three decades no further admission has been made, although that one still is repeated, most recently a month ago. Russians Want Ban Only, one gathers, in the most private, limited way have those Soviets licensed to discuss CBW with foreigners given any hint of Soviet" work in the field. Some American specialists wonder if Moscow realizes that its reticence not only keeps the United States off balance but enables interested Americans to maintain, unrebutted, that the Soviet CBW capability is immense,/ For decades the Soyiet government has urged that CBW be outlawed. Its vehicle for this effort has been the Geneva Protocol of 1925, a pledge against use of CBW in war. The Soviet Union quickly ratified it, adding the reservations that it would not be bound in respect to states which did not ratify or honor the treaty. The United States has not ratified the protocol, but always says it will honor it. The Russians take the broad view that the protocol bans the use in war of all chemical agents, including the nonlethal ones the United States has employed in Vietnam. They have consistently opposed efforts to push the Geneva Protocol out of diplomatic center stage, but nonetheless they have indicated some favor for a new British initiative to move beyond the protocol and to ban the production and possession, as well as the use, of biological agents. The extra horror of these sets them apart from the more accepted and military operational chemical warfare programs. Some Mutual / Inspection Toward verification of any prospective ban on the development, production and stockpiling of CBW agents, the Russians maintain their traditional stance that the first requirement is to agree internationally on a ban. Typically, the Soviet member of an international panel which recently submitted a strong anti- CBW report to the United Nations refused to let the panel write a section on verification. • At the Pugwash meetings of Soviet and American scientists, however, an interesting variation has developed. A modest, mutual inspection -experiment was dfjjused under which some 14 laboratory inspections have been conducted since '1964 in NATO and Warsaw Pact countries without a CBW capability, such as Denmark and Hungary. Soviet specialists have shown what their American counterparts take as an approving interest in recent American thinking on controls, specifically a paper on the technical feasibility of inspecting nerve gas production facilities. Refused To Ratify What does all this add up to? The Russians are prepared to conduct chemical warfare, probably biological warfare, too, but they never have done it and presumably are extremely reluctant to "begin, even in retaliation. They want ,to lock the legal, political and moral doors on. CBW as tightly as possible, and they are not hobbled in their approaches to arms control, as the United States is, by having refused to ratify the Geneva Protocol, by equivocating on the issue of a no-first-use pledge, and by having used nonlethal chemicals in Vietnam. By example and impetus, (he Russians will continue to press the United States very hard for further controls on CBW. ® Wtshinilon Psil

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