Statement on United States Strategic Policy

October 21, 1981

In the past few days, the Soviet Union has issued several propaganda statements that seek to drive a wedge between the United States and some of our closest friends in Europe. I do not intend to let these gross distortions of our policies go unchallenged.

American policy toward deterring conflict in Europe has not changed for over 20 years. Our strategy remains, as it has been, one of flexible response: maintaining an assured military capability to deter the use of force -- conventional or nuclear -- by the Warsaw pact at the lowest possible level.

As all Presidents have acknowledged, any use of nuclear weapons would have the most profound consequences. In a nuclear war, all mankind would lose. Indeed, the awful and incalculable risks associated with any use of nuclear weapons themselves serve to deter their use.

The suggestion that the United States could even consider fighting a nuclear war at Europe's expense is an outright deception. The essence of U.S. nuclear strategy is that no aggressor should believe that the use of nuclear weapons in Europe could reasonably be limited to Europe. Indeed it is the joint European-American commitment to share the burden of our common defense which assures the peace. Thus, we regard any military threat to Europe as a threat to the United States itself. Three hundred seventy-five thousand U.S. servicemen provide the living guarantees of this unshakable U.S. commitment to the peace and security of Europe.