Statement on Proposed Soviet-United States Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Reductions

June 4, 1987

I welcome the statement today by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Bundestag supporting deep reductions in an entire class of nuclear weapons. This decision sets the stage for establishing a common NATO position at the coming foreign ministers meeting in Reyjavik.

The position which our country takes with the Soviet Union on SRINF affects both the security of the NATO alliance and the entire West. I am confident that based on discussions within NATO and those that will occur here in Venice, a foundation will be laid for equal and verifiable global constraints on United States and Soviet SRINF missiles in the near future. Once that is established, I will instruct our negotiators in Geneva to incorporate this into the United States position.

NATO actions on INF represent a major success story. The alliance has been resolute in responding to the deadly new threat to the West sparked by the Soviet deployment of new triple-warhead SS - 20 missiles targeted against our allies. NATO has steadfastly implemented its 1979 double-track decision which countered this threat. It is the fact that NATO was willing to deploy its own INF missiles, while simultaneously seeking a balanced and verifiable arms reduction agreement, that brought the Soviets back to the negotiating table in 1985 and gave us the opportunity to achieve -- for the first time in history -- deep reductions in, and possibly the elimination of, an entire class of nuclear weapons.

Our actions on INF have always been characterized by close consultations with our friends and allies in both Europe and Asia. Chancellor Kohl's announcement today should be seen in that context. I commend the Chancellor on the leadership he has shown on this issue. I am determined to continue working closely with our allies on these issues and to sustain the strength of our alliance.