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

May 13, 1985

Tomorrow, May 14, the Stockholm Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe (CDE) enters its sixth round. The Conference includes all the NATO, Warsaw Pact, and European neutral countries and is thus in a unique position to play a major role in improving East-West relations. I attach great importance to this Conference.

The NATO countries have worked together at Stockholm to introduce a series of concrete confidence-building measures designed to make European military activities more predictable and more stable and to ensure that no weapons of any kind are ever used. These measures would require the mandatory notification and observation of all military activities above a certain level, together with appropriate verification measures, such as information exchange and on-site inspection. They are designed to reduce the risk of war by miscalculation and misunderstanding, guard against a surprise attack, and increase significantly the political cost to any state which would use the threat of force to intimidate another.

This ambitious program has the full support of all the nations of NATO as well as bipartisan political support here at home. The neutral and nonaligned countries of Europe also support the general principles outlined in the NATO proposal.

In my address to the European Parliament last week, I urged once again that the Stockholm Conference reach prompt agreement on this package of measures proposed by the NATO countries. And I reiterated our pledge that the United States is prepared to discuss the Soviet proposal on nonuse of force in the context of Soviet agreement to concrete confidence-building measures. We hope the Soviet Union will give this serious consideration.

In Stockholm we have an opportunity to work in practical ways to reduce tension in Europe. The Conference is now at a point where it could move into a more intense negotiating phase, if the Soviet Union is prepared to join the rest of the Conference in negotiating meaningful confidence-building measures which go well beyond existing arrangements. In seeking this goal, Ambassador James E. Goodby, my representative to the Stockholm Conference, has my full confidence and support.