Secretary of State George P. Shultz met today with Belgian and Dutch leaders to urge that the two North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries proceed with deployment of American medium-range cruise missiles within their borders.
U.S. officials said that Shultz, in separate meetings with Belgian Prime Minister Wilfried Martens and Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van den Broek, argued that this would strengthen his bargaining position when he meets Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in Geneva next month to discuss new negotiations on arms control.
Under the 1979 NATO decision to station cruise and Pershing II missiles in Western Europe, Belgium and the Netherlands are supposed to deploy 48 cruise missiles each in their territory. However, strong resistance by domestic antinuclear forces have made the two governments reluctant to move ahead with the deployments that are supposed to begin in 1985.
U.S. officials contend that it is very important for Belgium and the Netherlands to follow the example of the three other NATO members -- Britain, West Germany and Italy -- that already have started positioning their share of the missiles.
An official described the talks here as "very cordial" and, while acknowledging that no commitments were made, expressed confidence that Belgium, at least, would go ahead with deployment on schedule.
In the meeting with Martens and Belgian Foreign Minister Leo Tindemans, Shultz also discussed U.S. objections to Belgium's desire to sell high-technology equipment to communist countries and to Libya.
Before the meeting, Shultz told reporters he was sympathetic to Belgians' need to curb unemployment by expanding its foreign trade and said, in regard to sales to communist nations, "We will try to work with them constructively on a case-by-case basis."