Statement by the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs on the Upcoming Soviet-United States Arms Reduction Negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland

January 3, 1985

In the course of the past year, the President has directed and managed a review of the full family of United States arms control positions, covering the spectrum of separate negotiations which have gone on in the past and presumptively will be resumed in the future. More recently, he has chaired and now completed a review of preparations for the opening of talks with the Soviet Union to take place next Monday in Geneva.

The United States approaches the January 7th and 8th meetings with the Soviet Foreign Minister with a sense of determination and patience and with hope for a productive outcome. We fully recognize that this is the beginning of a long and complicated process. The issues involved go to the very heart of national security interests of both countries.

They're extremely complex from a technological standpoint. Furthermore, these talks are only a part, although a vital part, of the broader relationship between our two countries, a relationship involving regional issues, human rights, bilateral issues, as well.

While considerable time, therefore, may be needed to reach agreement on arms control outcomes, the U.S. is hopeful that the Geneva meetings will facilitate progress toward addressing the difficult arms control issues before us. We are realistic concerning the obstacles we face, but we are determined at the same time to do our part to make these efforts succeed and to establish a framework and a process for resuming the bilateral arms control dialog.

Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union have a special responsibility to the international community to make these efforts succeed. The United States, for its part, has constructive ideas to present in Geneva, and we will listen carefully to the Soviet presentations. Our negotiators will be flexible and patient.

With equal commitment and flexibility on the part of the Soviet Union, we are hopeful that these meetings will provide a start down the long road toward achieving equitable and verifiable reductions in nuclear forces, toward enhancing deterrence and ensuring the peace.

Note: Robert C. McFarlane read the statement to reporters at noon in Room 450 of the Old Executive Office Building.