Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe

April 16, 1986

Yesterday the Stockholm Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe, the CDE, began its most critical session to date. If substantial progress is made, there will be a good chance of achieving a concluding document that will increase openness and make the military situation in Europe more stable and predictable. But much remains to be done if we are to reach an agreed document that will reduce the risk of military confrontation in Europe. If the East remains reluctant to move ahead with drafting such a document, time will run out on the CDE, which adjourns on September 19.

The President has instructed the head of the U.S. delegation, Ambassador Robert L. Barry, to work with our NATO allies, the neutral and nonaligned States, and the East, to find solutions consistent with the Conference mandate and our security requirements. The Conference must agree on the level and types of military activity that will be covered in the concluding document. We place high priority on agreeing on a threshold for notification of ground force and combined arms activities which can be verified and which will result in equitable treatment for all 35 participating States. This can be accomplished by identifying structural and numerical parameters that would cover activities at a level significantly below those covered by the Helsinki Final Act.

In order to discourage the use of military forces for political intimidation, the U.S. delegation has been instructed to explore possibilities for elaborating the details of the measure requiring that major military activities be forecast. The U.S. Government has repeatedly stressed our concern over compliance with international agreements and accords. All participating States must have the opportunity to verify the measures adopted in Stockholm. This can only be a accomplished by inspection.

As we make progress on the content of confidence and security building measures, we will continue drafting on a statement reaffirming our common commitment under international law to refrain from the threat or use of force.