Statement on Negotiations and Personnel Changes Concerning Arms Control and Reduction

January 12, 1983

As President of the United States, I have no higher priority or higher purpose than to reduce the risk and the means of conflict and to help bring a true peace with justice to the world we live in. This administration has undertaken a broad agenda for peace, including special efforts in the Middle East and a program of arms control more comprehensive and far-reaching than any other in our nation's history.

In the START negotiations on strategic weapons, we have proposed a one-half cut in missiles and a one-third cut in warheads of the most destabilizing systems -- intercontinental ballistic missiles. Ambassador Edward Rowny will soon be returning to Geneva to resume the serious negotiations underway since last July at the START talks. And Ambassador Paul Nitze will also be returning to Geneva in a few weeks, where the INF talks will resume. In the INF negotiations on Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces, we have proposed the elimination of the entire class of most threatening systems -- longer range, land-based missiles. In both of those negotiations, we have been encouraged by the businesslike nature of the talks and believe a serious foundation for progress has been laid.

In the MBFR negotiations, we and our allies have proposed major reductions to equal levels in the military personnel of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. And, at the Committee on Disarmament in Geneva, we are seeking ways to achieve effective limitations on nuclear testing and chemical warfare. In all of these, and in each of our other arms control efforts, we seek to reduce systems to lower and equal levels, or ban them outright, and to do so on the firm basis of equality, stability, and effective verification. Vice President Bush's forthcoming trip to meet with our European allies demonstrates that our firm dedication to these goals remains unshaken.

Today, I am accepting with regret the resignation of Gene Rostow as Director of ACDA [United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency]. Dr. Rostow has served this and other administrations with distinction and has played a key role in launching our comprehensive arms reduction proposals. I am pleased to announce my intention to nominate Kenneth Adelman as Gene Rostow's replacement. I am also asking David Emery to serve as Deputy Director of ACDA.

I also wish to announce I am accepting with regret the resignation of Ambassador Richard Staar. He has provided outstanding service as our representative at the mutual and balanced force reduction (MBFR) negotiations in Vienna. I am asking Ambassador Morton Abramowitz to serve as his successor.

Dr. Rostow and Ambassador Staar have been asked to continue to provide their counsel in other positions in the administration.

As in the past, ACDA will report to and through the Secretary of State and, therefore, I am particularly pleased that Secretary Shultz shares my high confidence in the distinguished persons joining my administration's arms control team today. They are men of great distinction and dedication, and I am confident that they will make an early and major contribution to our efforts to achieve genuine arms reductions. It is essential that we press forward in the search for arms reduction; we shall be unrelenting in our efforts.