Statement on the Second Round of the Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe

May 5, 1984

The second round of the Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe, known as CDE, will begin in Stockholm next Tuesday, May 8, 1984.

The CDE arises out of the ``Helsinki process,'' in which we and our allies seek balanced progress in both the security and human rights areas. The CDE negotiations began last January and are a promising new part of the dialog on European security issues. The participating countries include the United States, Canada, our European allies, the European neutral states, and the members of the Warsaw Pact.

The CDE is an essentially new approach to European security. We and our allies seek an agreement on practical, meaningful ways to reduce the risk of surprise attack and to reduce the uncertainty and potential for misunderstandings over military activity in both the East and West. Western unity has been and will continue to be a crucial factor in the progress we achieve.

During the recess, we have consulted closely with our allies and other participating nations. At my request, our Ambassador to the CDE, James Goodby, has just completed senior level consultations in several capitals, including Moscow. He had a full and useful exchange of views with Soviet officials.

It is important now to engage in serious negotiations on the concrete proposals which the West presented during the first round. Those proposals are designed to increase mutual knowledge and understanding of military forces and activities in Europe; reduce the chance of war by miscalculation; enhance the ability of all to deal with potential crises; and minimize the possibility that military activities could be used for political intimidation. The Western nations are ready for a serious dialog on these issues. We hope this is true of the East as well.

Our proposals in the Stockholm Conference are part of our larger efforts to move forward, in a spirit of genuine cooperation, on arms control and East-West relations. Two weeks ago, at the Committee on Disarmament in Geneva, Vice President Bush presented a new American proposal for a comprehensive worldwide ban on chemical weapons. The same week, we and our NATO allies presented a new proposal at the MBFR talks in Vienna. This initiative is designed to break the impasse in the negotiations on reducing conventional forces in Central Europe.

We are striving hard for real progress in all three negotiations. But it is also vitally important to get on with the urgent business of reducing nuclear arms. I strongly hope that the Soviet Union will heed the wishes of the international community -- and of its own people -- and return to the negotiations on strategic and intermediate-range nuclear forces.

The opportunity for meaningful progress in arms control exists. The Soviet leaders should take advantage of it. Our representatives are ready to return to the two negotiating tables on nuclear arms, and we will negotiate in good faith. As I have said before, whenever the Soviet Union is ready to do likewise, we will meet them halfway.