Better Approaches to Security Against Nuclear Weapons

The Opinion page article "A Quiet Boost for the ABM Treaty," July 7, rightly warns against rashly proceeding with the Strategic Defense Initiative. There exists, however, an arms-control agreement that the author neglects to note.

First announced on April 16, 1987, after years of secret negotiations, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is an export-control understanding adhered to by 21 major supplier nations. Hindered by its ambiguous legal status (it is an agreement rather than a full-fledged treaty) and lack of any enforcement mechanism, the MTCR has thus far failed to prevent the proliferations of ballistic missiles and related technologies. Still, it represents the most promising alternative to farfetched programs li ke "star wars."

Rather than constantly looking for military solutions to security dilemmas, the US would do well to search for creative means to reinforce extant diplomatic approaches. Mark S. Sternman, Cambridge, Mass.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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