January 17, 1985
I met today with Ambassador James E. Goodby, the U.S. Representative to the Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe -- commonly known as CDE, or the Stockholm Conference. The Ambassador briefed me on the recently concluded fourth round of this Conference, involving the U.S., Canada, and 33 European nations, and on the prospects for the fifth round, beginning on January 29.
I took this occasion to assure Ambassador Goodby of my continuing strong support for the efforts of the U.S. delegation, working with our NATO allies, to search for an outcome in Stockholm which will enhance confidence and reduce the risk of war in Europe. Earlier in the Conference, the West put forward a package of concrete proposals designed to achieve these goals.
As it enters its second year, the Stockholm Conference is entering a new phase of its work. During the previous round, the Conference finally succeeded in adopting a new working structure which should encourage more detailed discussions and comparison of the proposals before it. We hope that this new arrangement will foster the beginning of productive negotiations on the substance of a final agreement.
The Stockholm Conference has a unique role to play in East-West relations. Its resumption comes shortly after the agreement reached in Geneva between Secretary of State Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko calling for renewed U.S.-Soviet negotiations. Complementing those arms control efforts which seek to reduce force levels, the Stockholm Conference addresses the proximate causes of war -- miscalculation and misinterpretation -- and seeks to ensure that those forces are never used.
One year ago, I said that, in dealing with the Soviet Union: ``We are prepared to discuss the problems which divide us, and to work for practical, fair solutions on the basis of mutual compromise.'' We have brought this spirit of practicality, fairness and compromise to the Stockholm Conference. It was in this spirit that I addressed the Irish Parliament last June and offered to meet the Soviets' concerns in Stockholm halfway. We agreed to discuss their declared interest in the principle of renunciation of force if this would lead them to negotiate seriously on concrete measures to give effect to that principle.
The Soviet response to our invitation to negotiate has not been forthcoming. The Soviets have yet to demonstrate a willingness to put aside those ideas which are more rhetorical than substantive; they have yet to join the majority of participants who favor a serious, practical approach to developing meaningful confidence-building measures.
At Stockholm, 35 nations are being offered the opportunity to seek solutions to security problems through cooperation rather than confrontation. The U.S. and our allies look for a successful outcome to this Conference, one which will further the goals of the Helsinki process to which it belongs, by lowering the artificial barriers which divide Europe and encouraging more constructive, cooperative relationships among individuals as well as among nations.
Even with good will on all sides, the Stockholm Conference faces a difficult task. The issues are complex and important, touching the vital interests of the participants. Nonetheless, meaningful progress can be achieved this year in Stockholm if all participants work seriously and in a constructive spirit.