Statement on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Negotiations

September 21, 1983

One of my first decisions in the aftermath of the tragic shooting down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was that the United States must continue its efforts in the interest of peace to pursue equitable and verifiable arms control agreements with the Soviet Union.

On September 3, I met with Ambassador Nitze to discuss the INF negotiations in Geneva and to reaffirm my commitment to seeking a successful result in those talks.

Since then, the United States has held extensive consultations with our NATO allies and Japan regarding the U.S. position in the talks. These consultations have included both direct correspondence between myself and allied leaders, meetings of the NATO Special Consultative Group, and bilateral consultations with the Japanese.

In those consultations, suggestions for U.S. initiatives to move the negotiations forward were offered. These suggestions were welcomed by allied leaders, who reaffirmed their strong support for the U.S. negotiating effort. Our NATO allies also reaffirmed their commitment to the NATO double-track decision.

Based on the results of these consultations, Ambassador Nitze has received new instructions to pursue these U.S. initiatives with the Soviet negotiators in Geneva. These initiatives represent significant further development of the U.S. proposal for an interim agreement which the U.S. put forward last March. They address a number of Soviet concerns.

The U.S. action in taking these additional steps is further demonstration of U.S. commitment, and that of our allies, to achieving a positive outcome in the Geneva talks.

We call on the Soviet Union to respond in a constructive manner to these proposals, so that the Geneva negotiations can arrive at a positive result.

Note: Deputy Press Secretary Larry M. Speakes read the President's statement to reporters during his daily press briefing, which began at approximately 12:30 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.