Letter to Members of the House of Representatives on Production of the MX Missile

July 19, 1983

This week the House will consider Title III of the Fiscal Year 1984 Defense Authorization Bill which implements the bipartisan recommendations of the Scowcroft Commission. Endorsing these recommendations will give this Nation a very solid chance to secure a balanced, verifiable arms reduction that, through greater stability, can make our Nation, our world, our people safer. In terms of speaking with one bipartisan voice, of standing up for U.S. vital interests, and of strengthening America's agenda for peace, this vote is of special significance.

When I endorsed the entire Scowcroft Commission Report, I did so by recounting a quote from the report's conclusion: ``If we can begin to see ourselves in dealing with the issues, not as political partisans or as crusaders for one specific solution to a part of this complex set of problems, but rather as citizens of a great Nation with the humbling obligation to persevere in the long-run task of preserving both peace and liberty for the world, a common perspective may finally be found.''

These words, which guided the Commission, were instrumental in forging that bipartisanship which aims for deep reductions in both the U.S. and Soviet strategic arsenals, coupled with necessary modernization of our strategic forces in a way which will enhance stability.

Andrei Sakharov, the distinguished Soviet physicist and Nobel laureate, made a supporting argument to those aims when he stated in a recent letter that ``arms control talks with the Soviets would be much easier if the United States were to have the MX albeit only potentially.''

The MX Peacekeeper is being built, as an integral part of the bipartisan Scowcroft Commission's package, to strengthen deterrence. It also provides vital negotiating leverage in Geneva. That lever is working.

Although the Commission called for the deployment of 100 missiles, the level ultimately deployed will be influenced by the outcome in Geneva. If an agreement is reached which calls for deep reductions -- which is our goal -- the number of missiles could certainly be adjusted downward.

We need the MX, not only for force modernization, but to keep the Soviets moving at the negotiation tables. That is why congressional endorsement of the Scowcroft Commission recommendations, as embodied in Title III of the Defense Authorization Bill, is so important.

The American people believe that this should not be a partisan issue. I hope that I can count on your help to implement all elements of the Scowcroft Commission recommendations. Together we can ensure a continuing national consensus that can lead to the eventual elimination of all nuclear weapons.

Sincerely,

Ronald Reagan

Note: As printed above, this item follows the text of the letter released by the Office of the Press Secretary.