A picture caption yesterday incorrectly identified the U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He is Alton G. Keel Jr. (Published 11/27/87)
BRUSSELS, NOV. 25 -- Secretary of State George P. Shultz announced today that the United States and its NATO allies will forgo the planned addition of about 200 more U.S. medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe by halting deployment as soon as the U.S.-Soviet treaty banning such weapons is signed by President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev Dec. 8.
The U.S. announcement came amid an "enthusiastic" reception at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization council meeting here for the just-completed treaty, which Shultz said is likely to "gradually improve" the Soviet-American relationships at a broad political level.
Western European countries that surmounted years of angry public demonstration against the controversial U.S. nuclear missiles are reluctant to accept more of the weapons only to have them removed when the treaty goes into force following Senate ratification.
Shultz said the halt in further deployments also would save money at a time of budget cutting. He estimated that the development, production, deployment and eventual withdrawal of the U.S. Pershing II and ground-launched cruise missiles to match the Soviet medium-range missile buildup of the last decade will have cost $7 billion to $9 billion when the in-and-out cycle is complete.
According to Shultz, of the 572 U.S. missile warheads planned for NATO deployment, about 350 are in place. Under the treaty provision, these will have to be pulled out within three years after the pact takes effect, along with more than 1,000 Soviet warheads deployed in the European theater.
Former secretary of defense Caspar W. Weinberger had insisted as recently as early November, in his final meeting with NATO defense ministers, that the U.S. deployment should continue until the missiles are prohibited following Senate ratification of the treaty.
Shultz, who flew here from Geneva this morning to confer with NATO foreign ministers following the settlement of all remaining treaty issues last night, said at NATO headquarters, "Anybody who says Europe doesn't like this treaty doesn't have a clue about the European attitude."
At the foreign ministerial level, at least, there was no visible dissent from Shultz's characterization. NATO Secretary General Lord Carrington said the assembled ministers "enthusiastically welcomed the INF agreement and looked forward to its signature and early ratification."
West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher praised the accord, and told reporters he hoped it will create a "momentum" for negotiated cuts in conventional forces in Eastern and Western Europe.
In a move likely to draw opposition from the United States, Genscher said he will ask NATO ministers next month to discuss development of a mandate for negotiating reductions in battlefield nuclear weapons.
Conceding that there is disagreement on this point in NATO, Shultz said the United States believes short-range nuclear reductions should have a low priority. U.S. officials have expressed concern about anything that would seem to lead at the present time toward further "denuclearization" of Europe.
Assessing the overall political potential of the now-completed intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) treaty, Shultz reflected his own steady and persistent style as well as the cautious posture of the Reagan administration.
Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze said in Geneva last night that "a political thaw is starting that may lead to a change in the political climate on our planet."
"I believe that the way to manage this relationship," responded Shultz to reporters, "is to stay away from euphoria and to stay away from depression -- to work at it in a steady way and just see it gradually improve, which it is doing."
Shultz's two days of climactic negotiations in Geneva came just two weeks before Gorbachev is due to arrive in Washington and one month after Gorbachev suddenly hesitated on setting a summit date during a visit by Shultz to Moscow.
State Department officials who participated in both the Moscow and Geneva discussions said they saw no sign of Soviet uncertainty in the past several days or any other evident reflection of the divisions that have been revealed in the Politburo and other ruling circles.
Shevardnadze and Sergei Akhromeyev, chief of staff of the Soviet armed forces and a key figure in the arms negotiations, seemed "very straightforward" and "relaxed," said an official who watched them from close range.
There was no hint of concern in their word or demeanor about Gorbachev's internal position or any indication of diminished authority to make on-the-spot decisions, the official said.
If anything, one U.S. official said, the political maneuvering in the Soviet leadership seems to have made Shevardnadze more determined that the Washington summit be a major international success for Gorbachev. In the Geneva negotiations, this appears to have contributed to greater than expected Soviet accommodation on final INF treaty issues, including militarily and politically touchy questions of on-site inspections and other verification issues.
U.S. negotiators anticipate that, as at Reykjavik in October 1986, Gorbachev will make his major push in Washington on the combination of strategic offensive arms and strategic defense, such as Reagan's strategic defense initiative.
Gorbachev is expected to come to the summit meeting with proposed instructions to be issued by the two leaders to their arms negotiating teams for resolution of the remaining strategic arms and space issues. U.S. officials are going to work on preparing an alternative set of instructions to be issued to the negotiators.
Shultz and his senior aides provided additional details today of the extensive arrangements for monitoring of compliance with the agreement.
Intermittent on-site inspection by teams has been agreed for a Soviet plant at Sverdlovsk and the U.S. plant at San Diego, which previously manufactured ground-launched cruise missiles, henceforth banned under the treaty.
Continuous monitoring by a quasipermanent team of 30 to 40 U.S. inspectors is to take place around a Soviet missile assembly area at Votkinsk, near the Ural Mountains, and by an equivalent Soviet team at a plant in Utah that previously made Pershing II medium-range missiles and currently is part of the MX missile program. Shultz declined to disclose the U.S. site on grounds that congressional representatives from the area should be notified first, but other officials said Utah had been selected and approved by the Soviets in last-minute maneuvering yesterday afternoon.
States Department spokesman Charles Redman shed further light on the status of the detailed data Moscow must provide on the type and locations of its current weapons covered by the treaty.
In late October, the Soviet Union provided aggregate data that showed it possessed about 2,000 missiles of various types that would be covered by the pact. Subsequently the Soviets provided the precise locations of about 1,800 of those weapons with the location of about 200 yet to come, Redman said.
Shultz said Akhromeyev promised him the precise location data on the remaining weapons by the end of this week, with a strong indication it will be provided on Thursday.
As Akhromeyev described it, "and I don't have any doubt he's describing it accurately," said Shultz, the Soviets are engaged in a "careful process" out of a desire to provide "accurate data." Shultz expressed confidence that "we will get it."