Letter to the People of Europe on Arms Control and Reduction

January 31, 1983

American and Soviet officials have just resumed negotiations aimed at reaching an agreement to control intermediate-range nuclear weapons. We have proposed and will continue to urge the Soviets to agree to ban altogether both their intermediate-range land-based nuclear missile weapons and those we intend to deploy in response to their build-up. The Soviet insistence on maintaining a nuclear threat to America's Allies while denying them the corresponding means to deter that threat remains the principal obstacle.

A way must be found to overcome this obstacle. Just as our Allies can count on the United States to defend Europe at all cost, you can count on us to spare no effort to reach a fair and meaningful agreement that will reduce the Soviet nuclear threat.

In this spirit, I have asked Vice President Bush, in the city where East meets West, to propose to Soviet General Secretary Andropov that he and I meet wherever and whenever he wants in order to sign an agreement banning U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range land-based nuclear missile weapons from the face of the Earth.

I make this offer out of a conviction that such an agreement would serve the interests of both sides and, most importantly, that the people of Europe want nothing more. I urge Mr. Andropov to accept it.

Note: The White House announced that the letter was included in a speech by the Vice President, which was delivered on January 31 in Berlin.