Publication: The Times

Full Citation

  • Title Gorbachov proposes troop reductions
  • Author Boyes, Roger
  • Publication Title The Times
  • Collection The Times Digital Archive, 1785-2008
  • Date Saturday,  Apr. 19, 1986
  • Issue Number 62435
  • Page Number 7
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library Times Newspapers Limited
  • Copyright Statement © Times Newspapers Limited.
Gorbachov proposes troop reductions From Roger Boyes East Berlin Mr Mikhail Gorbachov, the Soviet leader, yesterday put forward what he described as serious proposals to cut con - ventional troops from the Atlantic to the Urals, and offered the possibility of on - site inspection. It was a ges - ture apparently intended to show that East-West relations have not been completely fractured by the US attack on Libya. The offer, surprising though vague, was presented by Mr Gorbachov at the East Ger - man Communist Party con - gress in the Kremlin leader's first major speech since the Libyan crisis. The tone of his speech, though sharply critical of the Reagan Administration and its supporters in Europe, was aimed at trying to lower the international temperature The raid on Libya was mentioned alongside the con - tinuation of US nuclear tests and American support for the Nicaraguan Contras as just one example of how Washing - ton was trying to undermine the "spirit of Geneva". Soviet American relations, and East-West dialogue in general, could not, he said, be isolated from American action elsewhere in the world. "In Washington, in the European capitals, one must be clear that such actions will do direct damage to US-Soviet and East-West dialogue." But Moscow, he declared, was still concerned to stretch out its hand rather than to present a clenched fist. The arms control offer — described by Western analysts yesterday as a "new impulse rather than a fully-fledged new proposal" — contains some concessions on verification. "The USSR proposes sub - stantial reduction of all com - ponents of land forces and tactical aircraft based in Eu - rope , including the relevant parts of American and Cana - dian forces deployed there. "The military units should be dissolved and their arma - ments either destroyed or put into storage on their national territories. The scope of the reductions must obviously cover the whole of Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals," he said. Verification could be guar - anteed by "national technical" means and international in - spection , including, if neces - sary , on-site inspection, he said. "In short, this is a serious negotiation offer". The Soviet Union believed that this offer could cut through the stalemate at the Vienna troop reduction talks, he said. Moscow was also about to make new proposals aimed at securing an agreement ban - ning chemical weapons, he told the congress. The East Germans listened intensely to the speech for clues as to whether the Krem - lin now approves of a trip to Bonn by the East German leader, Herr Erich Honecker. For ordinary East Germans such a summit holds out the promise of better travel condi - tions ' .- The signals, however, were confused. "It is impossible to detect the logic in West German politics," Mr Gorbachov said. But despite the presence of American missiles in West Germany and Bonn's support for the Star Wars programme, Moscow was still prepared to develop "mutually advanta - geous relations" with Bonn. Leading article , pace 9