Statement on the Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe

September 22, 1986

Today in Stockholm, the United States and 34 other governments adopted an accord that will, if faithfully implemented, reduce the risk of war in Europe, where there is the greatest concentration of military forces of the East and the West. I welcome this positive outcome at the CDE Conference. It will contribute to greater security in Europe and to improved East-West relations. This accord also sends messages that should be welcomed by people throughout the world. It demonstrates that East and West, with seriousness of purpose and hard work, can establish common ground on which to build a more secure future. It also demonstrates that the nations of the West, around whose proposals the Stockholm accord was built, constitute a powerful force for peace.

The set of militarily significant and verifiable measures adopted by the Stockholm CDE Conference marks a substantial advance over those in the Helsinki Final Act. These measures will make military activities more predictable and inhibit opportunities for political intimidation. In particular, the Stockholm accord commits the 35 nations to notify one another of military activities above certain levels, to invite observers, to forecast activities a year in advance, and to allow inspectors to verify compliance with those commitments. This is the first East-West accord in which the Soviet Union has agreed to inspection of military activities on its territory. Although these inspection provisions are very different from those we would require to verify agreements which reduced or limited forces, they are appropriate to the Stockholm confidence- and security-building measures and offer us the opportunity to gain experience in conducting inspections.

The Stockholm document, of course, must become more than promises on paper. Implementation of its commitments will be the true measure of its contribution to European security. For its part the United States will meet its commitments fully. Soviet compliance, especially with the verification provisions, will be an important gauge of the possibilities for future progress in conventional arms control.

By advancing the principle of openness in the military-security field, this CDE accord can also contribute to progress in the broader Helsinki CSCE [Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe] process. The accord achieved at Stockholm on security issues makes all the more imperative balanced progress on human rights and fundamental freedoms. At the Vienna CSCE followup meeting, which begins in November, the United States delegation will press for fulfillment of all CSCE commitments and for balanced progress across the full CSCE agenda. These accomplishments are also a testimony to the skill, dedication, and energy of our negotiators. I want to congratulate Ambassador Robert L. Barry and his negotiating team on a job well done.