BONN, AUG. 3 -- West Germany would consider giving up its intermediate-range Pershing IA missiles, and thus pave the way for a U.S.-Soviet arms control agreement, if Moscow reduced its arsenal of battlefield-range Scud missiles, West German officials said today.
The suggestion was first aired by Horst Teltschik, Chancellor Helmut Kohl's top security adviser, in a weekend television interview. It appeared to be a test of whether the Soviets were willing to make concessions in return for West German agreement to give up the 72 Pershing IAs, western diplomats and other observers said.
The Soviets have said that the U.S.-controlled warheads on the Pershings must be destroyed as part of a proposed agreement to scrap all U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range missiles and warheads.
The United States contends that the Pershing IAs are West German missile systems, and therefore are outside the scope of the talks in Geneva, where the proposal is being discussed.
The Soviets have said that the issue is the principal obstacle to an arms accord, although U.S. officials say that important differences also remain on verification.
Most speculation about a compromise on the Pershing IAs has centered on a possible deal under which West Germany would keep the antiquated missiles but would promise not to replace them with more modern weapons. Government sources said the issue was likely to be resolved either by an agreement not to modernize the Pershing IAs, or a trade-off against the Scuds.
A potential problem with Bonn's suggestion of a Pershing-Scud deal is that the missiles are of different types. The Pershing IA has a range of about 450 miles, which makes it an intermediate-range weapon of the type that is being discussed in Geneva. The Scud, with a range of about 185 miles, is considered a tactical, or battlefield, missile.