Remarks on Signing the
Soviet-United States Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers Agreement
September 15, 1987
The President. I am very pleased.
Today the United States and the Soviet Union will sign the agreement
to establish Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers. This agreement is another
practical step in our efforts to reduce the risks of conflict that could
otherwise result from accident, miscalculation, or misunderstanding. Today's
agreement goes beyond existing structures to establish the first new, direct
channel for communications between Washington and Moscow since the creation of
the hotline in 1963.
Risk Reduction Centers will play an important role in further lessening the
chances of conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. They provide a means
to transmit notifications required under existing confidence-building measures
and could play a key role in exchanging the information necessary for effective
verification of future arms control agreements.
the United States, this agreement results
from close cooperation among the executive, Congress, and private groups and
individuals to produce a pragmatic agreement that advances our common goals of
peace and security. I would like to make special mention of the excellent
counsel and leadership that we have received over several years on nuclear risk
reduction from Senators John Warner and Sam Nunn. I would also like to express
my appreciation to the United States delegation on NuclearRiskReductionCenters -- and especially its
cochairman, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle
and my Special Assistant Robert Linhard -- and to the
Soviet delegation, headed by Ambassador AlekseiObukhov, for their skill and dedication in successfully
concluding the negotiations. This agreement complements our ongoing and
promising efforts in Geneva to achieve -- for the
first time -- deep, equitable, and effectively verifiable reductions in Soviet
and American nuclear arsenals.
Foreign Minister, I am pleased to have you sign this agreement today and look
forward to the day when General Secretary Gorbachev and I can sign even more
historic agreements in our common search for peace.
Shevardnadze. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, comrades: In Soviet-American
relations in recent times, events like this one are not too frequent; however,
1987 turns out to be relatively fruitful. In April, last April, during the
visit of Secretary of State Shultz to Moscow, we signed an agreement
on peaceful cooperation in space. Today, we are signing an agreement on Nuclear
Risk Reduction Centers.
signing, by us, today, of this agreement marks a tangible step in the practical
implementation of the understanding which Mikhail Gorbachev and you, Mr.
President, reached in Geneva. Nuclear war should
never be fought, you both said. Let us hope that the agreement that we are
signing today will help to move further toward that historic goal. This is a
sign which may be a prelude to more important agreements, in particular,
agreements on the reduction of nuclear arsenals, as the General Secretary of
the CPSU Central Committee and the President of the United States agreed in Reykjavik. The most important
thing is to do the utmost for this to happen to the gratification of our
peoples and of the entire world community.
sooner it happens, the better. Then, having done good work for our time, we
will be able to hope that time, too, will work for us. Today, we have acted to
try to ease somewhat the pressing burden of fears, uncertainties, and anxieties
of which people have become tired. I would like to use this opportunity to
cordially thank all those who, for 2 years, worked with perseverance and
dedication to prepare this agreement. I would like to pay tribute to the
diplomats and experts, and to the members of the U.S. Senate, particularly to
Senators Nunn and Warner, who worked with a great deal of energy and
persistence to promote this idea. I would like to hope that this small gulp of
hope is a prelude to the quenching of the global thirst for peace and security.
The President. And they will now sign
the proclamation [agreement].
Note: The President
spoke at in the Rose Garden at
the White House. Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Soviet Foreign
Minister Eduard Shevardnadze signed the agreement.
Following the ceremony, the President and the Foreign Minister met with Soviet
and U.S. officials in the Cabinet Room and then had lunch in the