Statement on the Soviet-United States Arms Control Negotiations


November 16, 1988


Today marks the close of round 10 of the nuclear and space talks between the United States and the Soviet Union. Throughout these negotiations, my objective has been to achieve agreement with the Soviet Union on deep, equitable, and verifiable reductions in the strategic nuclear arsenals of both sides as part of a comprehensive effort to enhance strategic stability and reduce the risk of war.


We have made significant progress in these negotiations. We have concluded and begun implementation of the INF treaty, the first to eliminate an entire class of U.S. and Soviet missiles, with the most extensive verification provisions in any arms control agreement. In the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START), we have also made progress toward our goal of securing reductions in the most destabilizing of nuclear forces, fast-flying ballistic missiles, especially heavy intercontinental ballistic missiles with multiple warheads. The negotiators have recorded extensive and significant areas of agreement, as well as remaining areas of disagreement, in a joint START draft treaty text. This joint draft treaty also reflects the areas of agreement which General Secretary Gorbachev and I reached during our meetings in Geneva and Reykjavik and at the Washington and Moscow summits, as well as progress made at the U.S.-Soviet ministerial meetings and in 10 rounds of negotiation in Geneva.


In START we are well on our way toward an agreement which will significantly reduce the levels of U.S. and Soviet strategic nuclear arsenals. We have agreement on 50-percent reductions in deployed strategic forces, to a ceiling of 6,000 warheads on 1,600 strategic nuclear delivery vehicles, and sublimits of 4,900 ballistic missile warheads, and 1,540 warheads on 154 heavy missiles. Both sides have agreed that there will be approximately 50-percent reduction in throw-weight for Soviet ballistic missiles, to equal ceilings for both sides. Agreement has been reached on the number of warheads attributed to each existing type of ballistic missile and on some of the counting rules for heavy bomber armaments. Agreement has also been reached on the outlines of a verification regime, including several kinds of on-site inspection, data exchange, and measures to reduce the possibility of cheating. Both sides have presented detailed proposals in these areas.


Major areas of disagreement remain, including -- with respect to mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles, sea-launched cruise missiles, rules of accounting for air-launched cruise missiles, sublimits on ICBM warheads, modernization of heavy ICBM's, and Soviet attempts to link a START treaty to provisions that would cripple SDI.


In the defense and space talks, we have continued to seek agreement on how we and the Soviets could jointly manage a stable transition to increased reliance on effective defenses, should they prove feasible. SDI is our best hope for a safer world, one in which deterrence is increasingly based on defenses -- which threaten no one -- rather than on the threat of retaliation. It has also been an important incentive for the Soviets to negotiate for nuclear arms reductions. We will not bargain SDI away or accept restrictions on SDI beyond those actually agreed in the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.


Finally, continued Soviet unwillingness to dismantle the large phased-array radar at Krasnoyarsk, which is a significant violation of a central element of the ABM treaty, remains a matter of deep concern. We have made it clear to the Soviets that we will not accept less than full compliance with the treaty, and that we will not be able to conclude any further strategic arms control agreements until that violation is corrected in a verifiable manner that meets our criteria.


As this round concludes, I want to express my appreciation to Ambassadors Max Kampelman, Reed Hanmer, and Henry Cooper and their teams for the outstanding job they have done in these negotiations.


In the nuclear and space talks we have come a long way toward agreements that will strengthen our security and that of our allies. But we want good treaties, not quick ones, and we will not take shortcuts. We leave the next administration a solid foundation upon which to build in the future, and I am confident that, if the Soviets are prepared to make further progress, we will be able to resolve the difficult remaining issues.