Message to the Congress Transmitting the Annual Report of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

February 9, 1983

To the Congress of the United States:

I am pleased to transmit to you the 1982 Annual Report of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. This report, the 22nd submitted since the creation of the agency, provides a complete review of the important work of an Agency which plays a crucial role in our country's national security program.

On September 21, 1982, I met at the White House with the three U.S. arms control negotiators, Ambassadors Rowny, Nitze, and Staar before they returned to Europe for the final 1982 sessions of the START, INF, and MBFR negotiations, respectively. At that time, I outlined the following general principles which guide the formation of our arms control policies:

-- Arms control must be an instrument of, and not a substitute for, a coherent security policy aimed in the first instance at the Soviet advantage in the most destabilizing class of weapons -- ballistic missiles and, especially, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). We will work for agreements that truly enhance security by reinforcing peace through deterrence.

-- We must seek agreements that involve substantial and militarily significant reductions on both sides.

-- Agreements must be based on the principle of equality of rights and limits.

-- Arms control agreements must include effective means of verification. They cannot be based on trust alone.

-- Our efforts will be guided by seriousness of purpose, reflected in our willingness to seek reduction to significantly lower levels of nuclear forces based on equal, balanced levels of comparable systems.

These principles are in full accord with the basic purpose of both U.S. and NATO security policy -- ensuring the peace through deterrence of aggression. Deterring nuclear or conventional attack against us or our Allies must guide our approach to defense and arms control. These principles also lie at the heart of the comprehensive and innovative arms control approaches which this Administration has adopted. In each of the three most important areas of arms control -- strategic nuclear arms, intermediate-range nuclear forces, and conventional forces in Europe -- we have presented to the Soviet Union bold and equitable proposals which are in our mutual interest and which provide an opportunity to enhance world security and peace by significantly reducing the arsenals of both sides.

In each of these three negotiations, the United States has presented considered and equitable proposals which seek to establish a military equilibrium at reduced levels, eliminate the most destabilizing factors in the existing military balance, and enhance the security of both sides. When our national security, and that of our Allies, is at stake, we must approach arms control realistically. We do not seek agreements for their own sake; we seek them to build international security and stability. This Administration's reductions proposals for strategic and intermediate-range nuclear forces and for conventional forces reflect this approach. We are encouraged by the serious and businesslike conduct of these negotiations thus far. Although much hard bargaining lies ahead, I am determined to bargain in good faith until our objectives can be realized. We urge our Soviet negotiating partners equal seriousness of purpose.

The 1982 Annual Report not only includes details on all aspects of the three negotiations, but also refers to such other important elements of ACDA's responsibilities as providing expertise on both policy and technical levels for all other multilateral arms control negotiations, for our nuclear non-proliferation efforts, and for research and analysis of military budgets and arms transfers.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

February 9, 1983.

Note: The report is entitled ``U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency -- 1982 Annual Report'' (Government Printing Office, 133 pages).