The final signing in Moscow of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty on Wednesday means 60 U.S. and Soviet inspectors will soon receive travel orders to pack their cameras, binoculars and other equipment and head for Magna, Utah, and Votkinsk, USSR.
By Aug. 1, the contingent of Soviets is to be living just outside the gates of Utah's Hercules Inc., ready to assure the Kremlin that no Pershing I or II missiles are being shipped from the plant.At the same time, other Soviets will be ready to observe the United States destroy existing intermediate range ballistic and cruise missiles at Pueblo, Colo., and Marshall, Texas. Army officials test-burned a Pershing II at the Pueblo Army Depot on Tuesday, while Colorado Department of Health personel monitored the test to determine whether such burns threaten the environment.
Gov. Norm Bangerter objected to burning the Pershings in Utah, and the Army decided to carry out the engine destruction in Colorado and Texas instead.
The United States will have to destroy about 800 missiles and the Soviets about 1,600 under the new treaty in about three years' time. The monitors may remain in Votkinsk and Magna for up to 13 years. They, and other inspectors, could begin work by June 30.
The Pentagon estimated this week that the missiles would be destroyed at a cost of $6 billion. The General Accounting Office has estimated that $1.4 billion in contracts for additional intermediate-range missiles and their bases will be canceled. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 22,000 military personnel will be released for other duties, including destruction and monitoring.
While the missile engines, bodies and nose cones will be destroyed, and transporters and other equipment modified so they cannot be used for launchings, the nuclear material, guidance packages, and other components may be saved for other uses.
Hercules Inc. has not become resigned to having Soviet inspectors stationed outside the Magna plant's fence. The company produces components for other U.S. weapons, including the MX, and the Navy's Trident, and other systems no one has talked about. Hercules officials fear the Soviets' presence will cost the company such contracts in the future. Hercules intends to move some of the secret work to its Cumberland, Md., plant, out of view of the Soviets.
Hercules officials met in Washington, D.C., last week with arms-control and Army officials in a continuing process of negotiating just what the United States will pay for in additional security such as fences and better communications security.
As for the Soviets, they will be staying in an apartment complex not far from Magna, and will have the freedom to roam within a 35-mile circle of the Hercules plant gates.