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Watson raps tough talk on USSR

By WITH ANALYSIS FROM MONITOR CORRESPONDENTS AROUND THE WORLD, EDITED BY HILARY DEVRIES / February 9, 1981



Washington

Thomas J. Watson, outgoing US ambassador to the Soviet Union, is critical of the tough-talking approach the Reagan administration is taking toward Moscow, according to Monitor correspondent Dan Southerland. In a Feb. 8 appearance on the ABC television program "Issues and Answers," Mr. Watson said he felt that quiet diplomacy was more effective in dealing with the Soviets and that the United States would gain from going ahead with the US-Soviet SALT II treaty limiting nuclear weapons. With an atmosphere of tension building, Watson thinks the US and Soviet Union are on "a collision course," with an "explosion" inevitable within the next two or three decades.

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The ambassador declared that the way to impress the Soviets was to put the United States' own house in order -- not by lowering taxes but raising them and by initiating a universal military service. Mr. Watson also favors continuing the partial grain embargo against the Soviets, but acco mpanying it with compensation to American farmers.