Statement by Deputy Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs Howard on the Soviet-United States Nuclear and Space Arms Negotiations


December 2, 1986


Today, in Geneva, senior U.S. and Soviet negotiators in the nuclear and space talks began a special series of informal meetings designed to move the negotiations forward before the next round begins in January. The United States intends to make use of these sessions, which will continue through December 6, to try to build upon the progress made in the just completed sixth round of negotiations.


In the sixth round both the U.S. and the Soviet Union made new proposals which reflect the results achieved in Reykjavik by President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev in narrowing substantially the differences between our two countries on nuclear arms control issues. At Reykjavik, the U.S. succeeded in obtaining Soviet agreement in several major areas, including:


 -- the concept of 50-percent reductions in U.S. and Soviet strategic offensive arms over the next 5 years, to be implemented by reductions to 1,600 strategic nuclear delivery vehicles and 6,000 warheads on those delivery vehicles;


 -- the need for significant cuts in Soviet heavy ICBM's;


 -- a global limit of 100 warheads on longer range INF missiles, with no such missiles in Europe; and


 -- the need for effective verification of agreements implementing such reductions.


In addition, in response to the Soviet demand that we provide a 10-year commitment not to withdraw from the ABM treaty, the United States proposed to accept such a commitment for the 10-year period through 1996, during which research, development, and testing, which is permitted by the ABM treaty, would continue, coupled with:


 -- a 50-percent reduction in strategic offensive forces of the United States and Soviet Union during the first 5 years;


 -- elimination of all U.S. and Soviet offensive ballistic missiles of whatever range or armament during the second 5 years; and


 -- agreement that either side could deploy advanced strategic defenses after the 10-year period, unless both agreed not to do so.


Following the Reykjavik meeting, the U.S. moved promptly to table in Geneva concrete, new reductions proposals reflecting these areas of agreement, as well as other details necessary to achieve our longstanding goal of deep, equitable, and verifiable nuclear arms reductions. We also tabled in Geneva the new U.S. proposal in the defense and space area, which had been presented to the Soviets in Reykjavik. On November 7 the Soviet Union, for its part, made new proposals in Geneva that partially reflect the achievements reached at Reykjavik.


It is our intention now to build upon this new progress in Geneva by seeking a clear understanding with the Soviet Union concerning where we now have common ground on NST negotiating issues and where we continue to differ, as well as by ascertaining how the two sides might be able to broaden these areas of common ground. The President hopes that the Soviets now share our commitment to achieving real arms reductions, while ensuring a stable military balance. If they do, these informal discussions will be able to set the stage for concrete, new results when the seventh NST round begins in Geneva on January 15.


Note: Daniel Howard, Deputy Press Secretary to the President for Foreign Affairs, read the statement to reporters at 9:29 a.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.