I have instructed our negotiators in Geneva at the nuclear and space talks to present a new United States proposal designed to advance the prospects for achieving real reductions in nuclear arms, enhancing stability and addressing the legitimate concerns of the United States and our allies as well as of the Soviet Union.
I have also asked our negotiators to seek Soviet agreement to extend this round of the negotiations into next week so that our negotiating team can make a full presentation of our proposal and have a real give-and-take with the Soviets on its details.
Finally, I have written to the leaders of allied nations and have transmitted a personal letter to General Secretary [Mikhail] Gorbachev on this subject.
History has shown that progress is more surely made through confidential negotiations. Therefore, I'm not going into any details about our proposal.
Suffice to say that our proposal is serious, it is detailed and it addresses all three areas of the negotiations. It builds upon the very concrete reductions proposals which our negotiators had tabled earlier as well as the Soviet counterproposal.
The Soviet counterproposal was first presented to me by Foreign Minister [Eduard] Shevardnadze at our White House meeting in September, following which it was tabled at Geneva by the Soviet negotiators.
Since that time, our arms-control experts have analyzed the Soviet counterproposal extremely carefully. This analysis now completed, I have met with my senior advisers, decided on our response and have instructed our negotiators to make this move.
During our careful review, we measured the Soviet counterproposal against our concrete proposals for deep, equitable and verifiable reductions, which we already had on the table, and against the criteria which we have long held for attaining effective arms-control agreements.
We have made clear that, measured against these criteria, the Soviet counterproposal unfortunately fell significantly short in several key areas.
At the same time, as I indicated in my address to the United Nations General Assembly last week, the counterproposal also had certain positive seeds which we wish to nurture.
Our new proposal builds upon these positive elements and calls for very significant balanced reductions of comparable nuclear systems, particularly those that are the most destabilizing. It's my hope that our new proposal will enable both of our nations to start moving away from ever-larger arsenals of offensive forces.
At the same time, we seek in Geneva to undertake with the Soviets a serious examination of the important relationship between offensive and defensive forces and how people everywhere can benefit from exploring the potential of non-nuclear defenses which threaten no one.
I'm pleased that we seem to have made a successful start on this long process. The Soviet response to our earlier proposals and the new proposal which we're making are important milestones in moving these negotiations forward.
Additionally, I hope we can achieve progress in the other key areas of the broad agenda which Mr. Gorbachev and I will discuss in Geneva -- human rights, regional issues and bilateral matters.
Strengthening the peace and building a more constructive, long-term U.S.-Soviet relationship requires that we move ahead in all these areas. I believe progress is, indeed, possible if the Soviet leadership is willing to match our own commitment to a better relationship.
Now, I'm going [to] leave here because I can't discuss the details or answer any questions on it since it will be introduced tomorrow, and then all of those things will be available.