Statement About the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Negotiations

February 4, 1982

On November 18, I announced a broad program for peace. In that address, I stated that the delegation that was about to depart for Geneva for negotiations with the Soviet Union on intermediate-range nuclear forces would carry with it the U.S. proposal, according to which the U.S. would forego the planned deployment of Pershing II and intermediate-range ground-launched cruise missiles if the Soviet Union dismantled its SS - 4, SS - 5, and SS - 20 missiles.

On Tuesday, February 2, at Geneva, the United States submitted to the Soviet Union a draft treaty, embodying that proposal, in order to move the negotiations forward as rapidly as possible. Such a treaty would be a major contribution to security, stability, and peace.

I call on President Brezhnev to join us in this important first step to reduce the nuclear shadow that hangs over the peoples of the world.

Note: On the same day, the Office of the Press Secretary released a statement by Assistant to the President for Communications David R. Gergen. The statement, which he read at the daily press briefing, was in response to the Soviet Union's proposal made at Geneva, Switzerland, that United States and Soviet intermediate-range nuclear missiles be reduced by two-thirds by 1990. The statement, which follows, also addressed charges made on February 3 by Soviet President L. I. Brezhnev that the United States was not seriously negotiating at Geneva.

We reject the accusation that the United States is stalling the INF negotiations, and we are familiar with this Soviet proposal for phased reductions from an alleged current balance. The Soviet ``balance'' is based on selective use of data and is not a meaningful basis for negotiations. We are negotiating in good faith and have made a serious and far-reaching proposal which we believe provides a sound basis for agreement.