US readies pipeline penalties
Washington — The Soviet gas-pipeline issue continued to boil Wednesday. US District Court Judge Thomas Flannery cleared the way for the US government to penalize companies supplying equipment to the pipeline. And the White House announced the Reagan administration intends to enforce threatened sanctions against those companies.
White House spokesman Larry Speakes said President Reagan, vacationing in California, had received written recommendations from a government task force on how to handle firms that refuse to obey the administration's ban.
In France, the loading of a ship that would take pipeline parts to the Soviet Union was delayed for the second day, as France sought to play down differences with the United States. President Francois Mitterrand ran into domestic opposition to his decision to force Dresser Industries French subsidiary to ship the pipeline equipment. Representatives of France's two leading opposition groups charged the move against Dresser-France (French subsidiary of the Dallas-based Dresser Industries) may be illegal and harm relations with the US.
The European Common Market, also concerned about a possible increase in tension with the US ahead of congressional elections in November, is pressing for urgent talks on the Soviet natural-gas pipeline disagreement, senior officials said