Does the world need a new international organization to try to stop the arms race?
Some experts think so. One, a Dutch representative to the United Nations, aired a plan to create such an agency at a recent conference here. He said he thinks the idea could steer the world away from further dangerous escalation of the arms race.
Consul General Hendrik Wagenmakers of the Netherlands proposed an international disarmament organization to which parties to arms-control treaties could turn for help in ensuring that all terms were being complied with by all parties.
The idea stemmed from a panel discussion on peace and disarmament at Dartmouth College in which delegates to the UN from seven foreign countries, including the Soviet Union, addressed the two issues and their link with international economic development and meeting the problem of world hunger.
Mr. Wagenmakers said he envisioned a body that would be similar in concept to the World Health Organization. That organization is based in Geneva and operates autonomously of the United Nations, but their memberships are identical.
Wagenmakers avoided linking his proposal directly to the nuclear arms race. But he said: '' . . . if you had a chemical weapons treaty, then you would need to be assured that the other parties to the treaty would indeed destroy their stocks and dismantle their production facilities as well. In order to do that, you might need a staff of qualified governmental and technical experts, (which) many countries wouldn't have.''
The proposed organization, which would be what Wagenmakers called a ''long-term'' project to strengthen the role of the UN, also bears certain similarities to the Swedish-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. SIPRI, founded in the mid-1960s by the Swedish government, has attempted to provide an independent, objective analysis of weapons issues. Its 1982 yearbook proposes a formula for resolving the NATO-Soviet dispute over nuclear intermediate-range missiles: In return for NATO's forgoing deployment of Pershing II or cruise missiles, Moscow would cut its stockpile of SS-20 missiles by half.
SIPRI's objectivity, however, has come under attack recently for one-sidedness because of heavier criticism of US positions than of those taken by the Warsaw Pact.
The Dutch proposal did not draw a direct response from Soviet Ambassador Vladimir Petrovsky, who was next in line to speak. Nonetheless, Mr. Petrovsky criticized the ''absence of real cooperation'' among the member countries of the United Nations - ''and first of all between the permanent members of the Security Council.'' This, he said, was a matter of policy with these countries.
Petrovsky said that negotiations toward arms reduction between the US and the USSR ''under present conditions are not enough.'' Negotiations without practical results, he said, ''look like art for the sake of art.''
Ugandan Ambassador Olarra Otunnu said he feared the destabilizing effect of tactical nuclear weapons on peace and security, especially on the African continent.
He cited ''mainly the capacity which we believe South Africa has acquired to manufacture nuclear weapons.''
Carmen Moreno, the Mexican representative to the UN Economic and Social Affairs Commission, said her country's concern is the escalating level of spending on weaponry. That escalation, she said, has hiked the cost of ordinary capital goods beyond the ability of developing countries to pay.