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

July 17, 1984

Today I met with Ambassador James E. Goodby, the chief of the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe. This Conference, commonly known as the CDE or the Stockholm Conference, involves the U.S., Canada, and 33 European nations and is part of the East-West dialog which originated in the Helsinki accords of 1975.

Ambassador Goodby briefed me on the second round of the Conference, which has just concluded, and on the prospects for progress when the talks resume in September. He noted the continuing efforts of the U.S. and our NATO allies to achieve an outcome which will genuinely increase mutual confidence and reduce the risk of war in Europe. Earlier, in the first round of the Conference, the West put forward a package of concrete proposals designed to achieve these goals.

In an effort to achieve progress in Stockholm, I announced in June in my address to the Irish Parliament that the United States is prepared to consider the Soviet proposal for a declaration on the non-use of force if the Soviet Union is willing to discuss concrete measures to put that principle into action. We are disappointed, however, that the Soviet Union has so far failed to join the great majority of the 35 participating nations at Stockholm, who have demonstrated a desire to begin such concrete negotiations.

I assured Ambassador Goodby that he has my continuing strong support in our efforts to get on with the practical negotiations for which this Conference was intended. We will continue to do our best to achieve progress at Stockholm, just as we and our allies are working hard together in other multilateral areas of arms control -- such as the East-West conventional force talks in Vienna and the 40-nation Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

We are equally ready to seek resolutions to bilateral U.S.-Soviet arms control issues on a flexible basis, but there must of course be a willingness on both sides to engage in practical discussions. We, for our part, will not be found wanting.