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

September 11, 1984

The third round of the Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe (CDE) opens today in Stockholm. The U.S. delegation, headed by Ambassador James Goodby, will be returning to the negotiating table with the delegations of Canada, our European allies, the European neutral States and the countries of the Warsaw Pact.

The Stockholm Conference arises out of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), which produced the Helsinki accords of 1975. In the various followup negotiations that form part of the Helsinki process, we and our allies continue to seek balanced progress in both the security and human rights areas. The CDE negotiations, which began last January, are a potentially productive new part of the broad East-West dialog.

The U.S. and other Western Nations have proposed at the Stockholm conference a series of concrete measures for information, observation, and verification, designed to reduce the possibility of war by miscalculation or surprise attack. These measures would apply to the whole of Europe from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains.

The Soviet Union, on the other hand, has taken a more rhetorical approach to the Conference, seeking the adoption of declarations which are embodied in other international agreements. In an effort to bridge this difference in our approaches, I made it clear in my address to the Irish Parliament in June that the U.S. will consider the Soviet proposal for a declaration on the nonuse of force as long as the Soviet Union will discuss the concrete measures needed to put that principle into action.

This new move on our part has not yet been met with a positive response from the Soviet Union. With the summer break behind us, we hope the Soviets will now be ready for the flexible give-and-take negotiating process which is necessary to move forward.

To prepare for the third round, Ambassador Goodby has consulted closely with our allies and conducted useful talks here in Washington with the head of the Soviet delegation to the Conference. The Ambassador and his delegation continue to enjoy my strong support in their efforts to achieve concrete results at Stockholm.

Our work in the Stockholm Conference complements our many other efforts to reach agreement on confidence-building measures. We and our allies have put forward similar proposals in the Vienna talks on East-West conventional force reductions (MBFR). Further, the United States has advanced confidence-building measures bilaterally with the Soviet Union in our successful effort to upgrade the ``hotline'' communications link and in our proposals for additional direct communications ties between our two countries. We have also made such proposals in the negotiations on strategic arms (START) and on intermediate nuclear forces (INF).

Unfortunately, the Soviet Union still has not returned to the START and INF talks since walking out of these two vital negotiations late last year and also has been unwilling or unable to follow through on its own proposal for talks on space arms control issues. I am convinced that the U.S. and the Soviet Union share a deep obligation to all humanity to get on with the urgent business of reducing nuclear arms. The United States is ready to do its part. I sincerely hope that the Soviet leadership will soon find its way to return to these negotiating tables.