Statement on the Soviet-United States Nuclear and Space Arms Negotiations

September 13, 1985

I met today with my senior negotiators to the nuclear and space arms talks in Geneva -- Ambassadors Max Kampelman, John Tower, and Maynard Glitman. I gave them my instructions for the third round of the negotiations, which begins on September 19, and discussed with them the prospects for progress in this round.

I reiterated to Ambassadors Kampelman, Tower, and Glitman my strong desire to move with renewed effort to reduce nuclear arms. Achieving real reductions in both strategic and intermediate nuclear forces is our overriding objective in Geneva. We have placed a number of positive and far-reaching proposals on the table for significant and verifiable reductions. Our negotiators have unprecedented authority for give and take in trying to reach these objectives. There is no reason why a serious reduction process cannot begin promptly, as these nuclear arms exist today and are of considerable concern to both sides. At the same time, I have emphasized my desire to strengthen the dialog with the Soviets in Geneva on the full range of issues involving defense and space arms.

I am hopeful that we may indeed be able to move forward in this round. Soviet leaders have recently given public indications that they may be considering significant nuclear reductions, and we have encouraged them to translate this expression into concrete proposals at the negotiating table in Geneva. Now is the time for them to spell out their intentions; now is the time for both sides to move forward. Concrete Soviet proposals would get the talks moving and would make a positive contribution to the intensified U.S.-Soviet dialog which has been underway in recent months. I am looking forward to my meeting with General Secretary Gorbachev in November. Arms control will, of course, be one of the important parts of our agenda at that meeting, and progress at the negotiating table in Geneva in this round would provide a positive, additional stimulus to a productive discussion in November.

As I have stressed before, my administration is committed to bringing down dramatically the levels of nuclear arms through equitable and verifiable agreements. We have made serious proposals, we are patient, and we are ready for serious give and take. With a comparable Soviet attitude, much can be accomplished and soon.