Statement by Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Negotiations

October 11, 1983

While threats to disrupt the Geneva talks have consistently been part of Soviet propaganda tactics designed to undercut support for planned U.S. INF deployments to Europe, the Soviets have not asked for a recess either in START or INF talks.

For our part the U.S. has made clear that we will stay at the negotiating table in Geneva. We will continue to work for progress, and if the deployment of Pershing and ground-launched cruise missiles has to begin because we have not reached an agreement in the INF negotiations, we will remain at the negotiating table thereafter. In that event, if an equitable agreement to reduce or eliminate U.S. and Soviet LRINF missiles can be reached, the U.S. stands ready to halt its deployments or reverse them.

I should point out that the U.S. has continued to negotiate with the Soviets despite the fact that Soviet deployment of SS - 20's has continued unabated. Over 100 Soviet SS - 20's with over 300 warheads have become operational since the negotiations began in November 1981.

Note: Deputy Press Secretary Larry M. Speakes read the statement during his daily press briefing for reporters, which began at 1:30 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.