Remarks to the Board of Trustees of the Center for Strategic and International Studies
It's an honor to address the Center for Strategic and International Studies, all the more so in this, your 25th anniversary year. During this past quarter of a century, CSIS has brought to bear upon our national security policy an extraordinary array of intelligence and insight, drawing from the academic, diplomatic, and business worlds alike. Always you've taken the high ground -- intellectually and morally. Always you've insisted upon bipartisanship, stressing that any successful foreign policy must be built, not upon a Republican or Democratic consensus but upon an American consensus.
fact, coming here today to discuss arms reductions before you who are so expert
in this area -- well, would you be surprised to hear that it reminds me of a
story? [Laughter] The story has to do with a fellow who finally passed away and
arrived at the gates of Heaven. And Saint Peter was making him welcome, and he
said, ``You know, you're the most recent arrival from
Earth.'' And he said, ``The people who have been up
here for a while like to hear about things down there. Would
you perhaps have anything?'' ``Oh,'' the man said, ``Would I!'' He said,
``I was the only living survivor of the
It goes without saying that the Nation owes each of you a profound debt of gratitude. And if I may, I'd like to add a special word of thanks to one who, during his term as your president, has served this institution and the Nation itself, untiringly. Joe Jordan, would you please stand? And to another of your number, one to whom we owe gratitude as a founder of this institution, one to whom we all extend our best wishes as he prepares to become your new president -- former NATO Ambassador and my former Special Counsellor, David Abshire, would you rise? And I am also pleased to see in the audience my former National Security Adviser, Bud McFarlane.
A moment ago, I spoke of the need to base our policy upon an American consensus, upon an agreement about our nation's aims in the world that is not sectional nor partisan, but truly rooted in the will and values of the American people themselves. Certain aspects of this consensus we're privileged to have handed down to us by our founders -- above all, our love of peace and our fierce attachment to freedom; freedom not for ourselves alone, but in Lincoln's words: ``The hope, too, that in due time the weights would be lifted from the shoulders of all men.''
Yet, as for a consensus on the specific policy means by which these American values are to be carried into action, that policy consensus is one that, with each major development in our foreign affairs, we must build for ourselves. So, I come to you today. The treaty that General Secretary Gorbachev and I signed last week represents, as you've been told, a landmark achievement and an important step toward a safer world. But there's promise of still greater progress in bolstering our security and in putting East-West relations on a sounder footing. And I want, as well, to share some thoughts on this.
First, however, the historic INF treaty itself. Each of you, of course,
knows the background from the last decade and this. But permit me to repeat it
briefly, for there are vital points to be made. It was in 1977 that the
this brings me to my first point: The INF treaty that Mr. Gorbachev and I
signed is not intended to achieve some kind of superficial shuffling of the
superpower arsenals, some sort of rearrangement of the pieces on a chessboard.
All the talk of numbers, numbers, numbers in recent
days might quite naturally have led people to feel this. Yet we must remind
ourselves that what the treaty will accomplish is, if you will, something
entirely real: Not the rearrangement of numbers, but the elimination of a grave
danger to our NATO allies and our own troops in
We all remember that it was Chancellor Helmut Schmidt who led the NATO call to counter this new threat. And at a meeting in 1979, NATO made its famous two-track decision. Track one: Deploy a limited number of our own INF missiles. Track two: Use the unity and strength that NATO's own deployment would demonstrate to bring the Soviets to the bargaining table.
Never was the aim of this NATO decision the permanent deployment of American INF missiles. Always the American deployment was understood as the means to an end. Giscard D'Estaing, President of France at the time of the 1979 NATO decision, recently wrote that: ``The deployment was a tactical exercise, whose preferred goal was to compel the Soviet Union to eliminate the SS - 20's.''
no doubt the Soviets intended to test NATO's resolve. And to be sure, the
deployment of our Pershing II and ground-launched cruise missiles had to be
carried out in the face of sharp protest, even mass demonstrations. I remember
Two final points about the process itself: First, as will be clear from all I just described -- I shuffled my notes up here pretty good. If I get off track, I will have to stop and tell another story. [Laughter] As will be clear from all I just described, this was not only an American effort but truly a Western effort. NATO had said from the first that we should be prepared to halt, modify, or reverse NATO deployments if the Soviets would eliminate the SS - 20 threat. At all NATO ministerial meetings since 1980, foreign and defense ministers have endorsed American efforts toward reaching a treaty, including our putting forward the zero-option proposal. And at a number of points during this process, our allies have asked that we alter or reshape our negotiating stance. And we did so. Our allies have been with us throughout, and we've been with them.
Second, the NATO treaty will leave NATO -- the treaty, I should say, will leave NATO with an effective nuclear deterrent, just as we had before the first Soviet SS - 20 deployment in 1977. In the final communique at their meetings this month, NATO defense ministers, the very officials charged with ensuring allied security, stated that the treaty ``has been made possible by the determination and solidarity of the allied governments over the years. We look forward to the prospect of the INF treaty being signed and ratified in the near future.'' And Prime Minister Thatcher called the treaty -- and I quote her own inimitable words -- ``a marvelous Christmas present, an extra piece of good will and a lovely way to end the year.''
given that the treaty accomplishes NATO aims and has the firm support of our NATO
allies, but more important, given our duty to build a safer peace as we work to
expand freedom, how can we fail in the end to hail this treaty as an historic
achievement? No one thought before that first deployment that NATO had been
``denuclearized.'' No one then believed that the
know that some in
3 years, we and the Soviets will completely eliminate all our INF missiles, the
Soviets eliminating about four times as many deployed warheads as will the
The verification regime will be the most stringent in the history of arms control negotiations, with far-reaching implications. For the first time, the Soviets will permit onsite inspections, including inspections at short notice -- our ability to simply think or suspect something and say we're coming over. And they can do the same to us. It's a remarkable breakthrough in itself. What we have here, then, is a new departure in East-West relations -- an effective, verifiable treaty that will lead, not just to arms control but to the first nuclear arms reductions in history. Chancellor Kohl has called the INF treaty -- and I'll quote him -- ``a great success for the Atlantic alliance.''
join me now in looking beyond the treaty, in considering our treaty for the
future. It's clear, to begin with, that maintaining the strength of the
alliance is essential. For our part, let me assure you that we'll keep our
American servicemen stationed in
you know, we're doing all we can to go on diminishing the nuclear threat. Above
all, I'm pressing ahead for an effectively verifiable START treaty, reducing
then, is the American position. With regard to our allies, in recent years
we've seen the emergence of a willingness to seek a larger, more closely
coordinated role for
we welcome this. Indeed, I would point out that while -- from 1981 to early
1986 -- the Soviets made it a condition of any INF agreement that French and
British nuclear forces be included, we adamantly and successfully resisted this
demand. We said there was no way, that we couldn't
negotiate for our allies. As I said earlier this year at
the words of a member of your board of trustees, Henry Kissinger, the
While I've spoken today almost exclusively about arms reductions, I want to emphasize the Soviet relationship involves far more -- that arms reductions represent only one point of the four-part agenda we adopted for Geneva, Reykjavik, and Washington, and that we will insist on in Moscow as well. The other three points: genuine cooperation on bilateral matters; solid and lasting improvements on human rights; and as for regional conflicts, an end to Soviet efforts around the world to impose totalitarian regimes by force.
Unity, strength, persistence, and consistency -- these are the lessons of the INF negotiations, and they must form the basis on which we and our allies go on to new negotiations. Yet at the same time that we insist upon candor and realism -- insist, if you will, upon keeping our feet firmly planted on the ground -- let us not be afraid to dream and to let our hearts soar. ``Do not mock our dreamers,'' Heinrich Heine has written. ``Their words become the seeds of freedom.'' Who, indeed, would have thought during the difficult years of the late seventies and early eighties -- during nuclear freeze protests here at home and mass demonstrations in Europe -- who would have thought that a treaty like the one Mr. Gorbachev and I signed last week would ever be achieved?
So, yes, let us think realistically, but let us dream great dreams. And let us remember that perhaps the most fundamental consensus about our nation's role in the world is this: As Americans, it is our duty to ensure the peace while we work untiringly for freedom. Thank you. God bless you.
Note: The President spoke at in the Wadsworth Room at the International Club.