President Reagan announced yesterday that he has submitted a draft treaty to the Soviet Union that would carry out his plan to eliminate all medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe.
"Such a treaty would be a major contribution to security, stability and peace," Reagan said in a statement issued at the White House. "I call on President Leonid I. Brezhnev to join us in this important first step to reduce the nuclear shadow that hangs over the peoples of the world."
The draft treaty, submitted by U.S. negotiators to their Soviet counterparts at Geneva on Tuesday, embodies the proposals Reagan made last Nov. 18 in a speech at the National Press Club which the president called "a broad program for peace."
In that speech Reagan proposed to scrap the planned deployment of Pershing II and surface-launched cruise missiles if the Soviets dismantled their SS4, SS5 and SS20 missiles. The U.S. missiles are not scheduled for deployment until late in 1983 or early 1984, while the Russians missiles are already in place.
The U.S. proposal to trade missiles that are not deployed for those that are was promptly denounced by the Soviets. On Wednesday, in Moscow, Brezhnev proposed to reduce U.S. and Soviet medium-range missiles in Europe by two-thirds by 1990 and charged that the United States was not engaged in serious negotiations at Geneva.
Responding to this charge, White House director of communications David R. Gergen said: "We reject the accusation that the United States is stalling the INF intermediate nuclear force negotiations and we are familiar with the Soviet proposal for phased reductions from an alleged current balance."
Gergen, repeating claims made by other administration officials, disputed the Soviet accounting of European-based missiles because the Russians want to count British and French nuclear weapons in the U.S. total. According to U.S. estimates, the deployment of more than 250 SS20 missiles in the Soviet arsenal during the last several years has given Moscow a significant advantage in nuclear weaponry in Europe.
Using the Soviet calculation, both sides have about 1,000 medium-range nuclear missile carriers.
Gergen said the Soviet calculations dismiss Russian weapons east of the Ural Mountains, which have the capability of reaching European targets. He also complained that the Soviets have "needlessly complicated" the Geneva talks by including aircraft and other nuclear systems in the negotations.
"The United States is obviously continuing to press for agreement on the president's proposal, which would totally eliminate the most threatening intermediate-range nuclear weapons on both sides," Gergen said.
"We are negotiating in good faith and have made a serious and far-reaching proposal which we believe provides a sound basis for agreement."
Brezhnev, speaking at a Kremlin reception for a visiting group from the Socialist International, warned of "the dangerous consequences of present policy of the NATO bloc, especially that of the United States, its main force, may have had for the cause of world peace."
"It is madness for any country to build its policy with an eye to nuclear war," Brezhnev said, charging that the United States was using "various far-fetched pretexts" to avoid serious negotiations.
Gergen said there was nothing new in the Soviet statement.
He said the Brezhnev counterproposal was "based on selective use of data and is not a meaningful basis for negotiations."