To the Editor:
Among the many virtues of Eugene V. Rostow’s article, “Why the Soviets Want an Arms-Control Agreement, and Why They Want It Now” [February], is its insistence that “. . . the traditional Western enthusiasm for arms-control agreements has become an obsession.” He underlines the point that Western public opinion must understand that the mere signing of an agreement with the Soviet Union does not assure peace.
As evidence to support the view that Western enthusiasm for arms-control agreements is a romantic illusion, let me cite the hundreds and perhaps thousands of “dissidents” still remaining in Soviet prisons and psychiatric hospitals. I refer to these unfortunate Soviet citizens in quotation marks because most of them are neither dissidents nor criminals in terms defined by the Soviet constitution and by Soviet laws. Unfortunately, the political leadership of the Soviet Union is not constrained by law, as American leaders are. Why then should Soviet leaders comply more scrupulously with agreements made with a foreign country—and a capitalist enemy at that—than they do with the legal contracts they have established with their own people?
New Brunswick, New Jersey