Whether they knew it or not, most "people on the street" interviewed Saturday in an informal Deseret News survey agreed with Sen. Orrin Hatch, who praised the Senate's ratification of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty as "a first step in the right direction."
And many expressed guarded optimism that the upcoming summit meeting between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev will further reduce the barriers between the two superpowers.Republican Utah Sens. Jake Garn and Hatch voted in favor of the landmark treaty with the Soviet Union, which marks the first major U.S.-Soviet arms-control accord ratified by the Senate since 1972. The measure passed the Senate 93-5 on Friday.
The senators and president received rave reviews from David Scott, a local jeweler.
"It's fantastic. It's the best thing Ronald Reagan has done since becoming president," the native Virginian said. "I am all for it."
Hatch expressed more temperate enthusiasm for the treaty. He said the one thing he did not like was the adoption of an amendment in the Senate limiting the president's right to interpret the treaty for any reason.
The senator said that particular amendment is probably unconstitutional since the president possesses legal authority to interpret all laws and treaties for purposes of implementation and enforcement.
Lewis Hamilton, a native Texan who now calls Utah home, doesn't want Reagan to have that much power or credit.
"I hope it (the treaty) works," the seaman said. "That's all I can say other than I wish Reagan would get out of office. Eight years of him is too much!"
World peace was the foremost concern of those interviewed, but many expressed skepticism that the treaty will be a panacea for the historic tension in the arms race between the communist and democratic nations.
"I think the treaty is fine if it's really authentic - if it works. Hopefully it works and we get something from it," said Marjorie Maxwell, Salt Lake City.
A manufacturing manager from Sandy echoed similar sentiments.
"I am for any treaty that will help provide peace for the world," Alan Goddard said. "I think naturally we as Americans are trained to be skeptical of the Russian people and the Russians' intent. So I wonder if something like that can work long term.
"However, if it will help reduce the threat of nuclear war and they will play by the rules, I think it will be a positive thing for mankind," he said.
William Lockwood believes the ratification of the INF treaty is good news, but he said he has "become somewhat wary, cautious about the Soviets, whose actions sometimes speak louder than their words.
"But I think we have to keep trying," he said.
People appeared optimistic about the upcoming Moscow summit, hoping that it will increase U.S. and Soviet understanding and reduce the likelihood of a third - and nuclear - world war.
"I think after Helsinki, it's time for (Reagan and Gorbachev) to get back together. They have a little rift, I think," said Ken Smith, an electrician from Pocatello.
He added that by interacting face-to-face, the two leaders will be able to discern each others' reactions better and that will increase understanding.
"I think there has to be hope, or there is no purpose in having a summit," he said. "It holds hope that at least we are sitting and talking rather than staying behind our barriers and threatening each other."
Mike Robinson, a Salt Lake cook, said he also hopes the treaty will be approved by the two superpowers. "Reductions globalwide can only benefit us because the proliferation of nuclear arms, whether there's a war or not, is going to cause some kind of incident, whether it's an all-out war or a terrorist act. . . . The more nuclear arms that we can reduce from the face of the earth, the less the chance that one will go off."
Scott concurred that a world free of nuclear arms would be a better world.
"But I think we need to improve our conventional arms in Europe," he said. "As long as we are going to cut back on our nuclear weapons in Europe, which I think are superfluous and not necessary anyway, we can't leave ourselves completely defenseless. As long as we have a good conventional deterrent in Europe, we don't need nuclear arms."