Richard N. Perle, the Pentagon's arms control specialist, yesterday criticized past agreements and warned against expecting any quick results from the new round of negotiations that began Monday in Geneva.
Perle, assistant secretary of defense for international security policy and a chief architect of the administration's position in the Geneva talks with the Soviet Union, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that U.S. negotiators will stick to a hard line.
Not only will the administration insist that the Soviets dismantle their 270 new SS20 missiles and older SS4 and SS5 rockets that threaten Europe, he said, but it "will also seek limitations" on shorter range SS22 and SSX23 missiles.
Otherwise, Perle said, the agreement limiting medium-range missiles would be "hopelessly vulnerable to circumvention."
The SS22, if moved toward the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's front line, could cover "some 85 percent of the NATO targets assigned to the SS20," he said, while the SSX23 could strike "as much 50 percent of European NATO."
"At Geneva, we will make it plain to the Soviets that any treaty agreed upon must include verification measures that will almost certainly go beyond the national technical means of verification on which the less complex agreements of the past have relied," Perle said.
The term "national technical means" refers largely to satellites tracking Soviet weapons tests and deployments. Critics of past arms control agreements have contended there is no substitute for conducting inspections on the ground in the Soviet Union, something the Soviets have steadfastly opposed.
Perle did not specify what additional verification measures the administration has in mind.
Perle said the administration has no fallback position if the Soviets reject the current proposal to dismantle existing missiles capable of hitting Europe in exchange for the United States stopping the planned deployment in NATO countries of 572 cruise and Pershing II medium-range missiles.
"We have learned from bitter experience that nothing would so dash our hopes for the successful negotiation of our proposal as a briefcase full of positions to which we are ready to fall back," Perle told the committee.