The Soviet inspectors stationed at Hercules Aerospace in western Salt Lake County are a popular bunch with the locals - so popular that the federal agency assigned with running interference is inundated with requests.
And Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch has asked the On-Site Inspection Agency to examine each invitation it receives for the Soviets to visit private homes on a case-by-case basis."He is not in any way, shape or form lobbying for the Soviets to be invited out to Easter dinner or a Sunday picnic," Dave Porter, Hatch press secretary, said Monday. "We need to maintain security" for the Soviets' safety.
Under terms of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, up to 30 Soviets are stationed at Hercules to monitor shipments from the aerospace and defense contractor.
The inspectors are verifying Hercules neither makes nor ships any treaty-covered Pershing 2 missile motors. A similar set up with U.S. inspectors is located in Votkinsk in the Soviet Union.
What most concerns the OSIA is the safety of the inspectors, many of whom are making their first visit to America. Yet the novelty or opportunity to say "The Russians are coming for dinner" inspires many invitations.
"Everybody in the world would line up to have the Soviets over for dinner," said Porter.
Several residents, led by University of Utah law professor Ed Fir-mage, have requested Hatch's assistance to loosen up the requirements for the Soviets to visit. But Porter denied reports that Hatch is lobbying to change the OSIA's policy against private home visits.
"To use the word lobbying would be way out of line by any stretch of the imagination," the spokesman said.
Each time the Soviets attend any event, they are accompanied by OSIA escorts. The logistics of home visits were deemed unworkable and allows the agency to screen and select from invitations received for public visits.