Statement Following the Opening Session of the Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe

January 20, 1984

Secretary of State Shultz has just returned from Stockholm, Sweden, where he represented the United States at the opening of the European Security Conference, known as the CDE. Together with the Foreign Ministers of 34 other countries, he discussed East-West relations and, in particular, peace and security in Europe.

The primary purposes of the Stockholm Conference is to reduce the risk of surprise attack or war by accident or misunderstanding. The historical justification is clear. Twice in this century, Europe has been the scene of terrible conflict.

We must never allow this to happen again. Therefore, to strengthen the prospects for peace and security in Europe, the United States and our NATO allies will propose a package of practical and concrete measures at the CDE. We will suggest that all states of Europe, East and West alike, agree:

-- to exchange information about their military forces and provide annual previews of military exercises;

-- to give advance notification of significant military activities and invite observers to those activities;

-- to enhance the capacity for rapid communications among our governments; and

-- to provide for verification of compliance with the commitments made at the conference.

At the same time, we recognize that these steps alone cannot safeguard the peace in Europe and the United States cannot succeed alone. We can only do so in concert with our friends and allies. A hallmark of our foreign policy has been to build consensus among our partners in Europe and Asia -- a consensus covering the full range of political, economic, and military issues.

The Atlantic alliance is demonstrating once again in Stockholm that it remains the keystone of peace and security in Europe. Because we and our allies stand together, we are better able to meet our common challenges we face.

None of these challenges is more important than the need to establish a constructive relationship with the Soviet Union. Last Monday, I proposed that we and the Soviet Union make a major effort to secure progress in three vital areas:

-- first, to find ways to reduce, and eventually do away with, the threat and use of force in international affairs;

-- second, to find ways to reduce the vast stockpiles of armaments in the world;

-- third, to establish a better working relationship with each other, one marked by greater cooperation and understanding.

The meetings this past week in Stockholm helped us toward these ends. Secretary Shultz and Foreign Minister Gromyko had a full and serious exchange of views on key global questions. Of course, they did not resolve our differences. But the important thing is that despite those differences, we are determined to continue our efforts to make Europe and the world a safer and more secure place in which all of us may live in peace and dignity.

Note: The White House also announced that on the same day Secretary of State George P. Shultz met with the President in the Oval Office to discuss the Conference and the meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrey A. Gromyko.