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Reagan Will Offer Military Hot Line Plan : Hopes Proposal at Europe Parliament Interests Soviets

May 07, 1985|JACK NELSON and GEORGE SKELTON | Times Staff Writers

MADRID — President Reagan plans to use the forum of a major speech before the European Parliament to propose that the Soviet Union and the United States establish a direct military communication link to aid in managing potential crises, a White House spokesman announced here Monday.

Reagan, who arrived in Madrid earlier in the day for a state visit, will outline the plan and discuss his arms reduction proposals before the Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday, the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

A military communications link has been proposed in the past at the diplomatic level by the United States, but the Soviets have balked at the proposal. White House spokesman Larry Speakes indicated that the White House believes that the proposal will be taken more seriously by the Soviets if the President presents it at a major forum.

Links Two Capitals

Washington and Moscow already have the so-called hot line, which provides an instant communications link between the two capitals.

Reagan and his wife, Nancy, were met upon their arrival here by King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia and later dined with the royal couple at their Zarzuela Palace residence.

Reagan met for 35 minutes with Socialist Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez and discussed general East-West issues, officials said. Substantive discussions are expected to take place today. Earlier Monday, before leaving West Germany, Reagan explained to a crowd of several thousand young Germans that he wants peace and the elimination of nuclear weapons but that the world must be "realistic" about Soviet intentions.

Previous Optimism

Up to this point in his European trip, the President had stressed the importance of strengthening defenses because of the Soviet threat and had spoken optimistically about the possibility that his Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars") research program eventually will develop into a space-based defense system capable of repelling nuclear missiles.

But on Monday in Madrid, the White House changed the subject to U.S.-Soviet cooperation, with Speakes saying that the military communications linkup would be designed to help both countries deal with such crises as the shooting down of a South Korean airliner by Soviet fighter planes on Sept. 1, 1983, after it strayed into Soviet airspace, and the fatal shooting of Army Maj. Arthur D. Nicholson Jr. last March by a Soviet sentry after the American entered what the Soviets said was a restricted area in East Germany.

Military Information Link

Under Reagan's proposal, Speakes said, the military forces of both countries would provide each other with notification and other information concerning military activities, including any deviation from training exercises.

In his speech at Strasbourg the President is expected to spell out other details of his proposal and to announce he has directed Secretary of State George P. Shultz to go to Vienna next week to broaden the dialogue with the Soviet Union on ways of reducing tension. Shultz will meet in the Austrian capital with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko.

Reagan ended his five-day stay in West Germany at Hambach Castle, an 11th Century fortress, where he addressed an estimated 7,000 German youths. He told them that "nothing could bring (him) greater happiness" than to negotiate an agreement with the Soviet Union that would "rid the Earth of nuclear weapons forever."

"But my young friends," he added, "I must also plead for realism. For unless and until there is a changing by the other side, the United States must fulfill a commitment of its own--to the survival of liberty."

And as every U.S. President has done since the Cold War began, Reagan told the Germans, to loud applause, that "America will stand by you in Europe, and America will stand by you in Berlin."

Pushed 'Star Wars' System

Reagan also pushed for his "Star Wars" defense system, which is looked upon with particular skepticism in Europe.

Currently, the President said, the Atlantic Alliance "must rely on a (deterrence) system based on the threat of nuclear retaliation called mutual assured destruction. But someday, your children may be protected and war could be avoided by a system we call mutual assured survival."

Reagan has been attempting--so far unsuccessfully--to persuade the European allies to join the United States in the "Star Wars" research program. Only French President Francois Mitterrand, however, has flatly rejected the idea.

Besides trying to explain his defense policies to a generation that tends look on him suspiciously, Reagan went to Hambach Castle to deliver a pep talk to the grandchildren of men who fought on the side of Adolf Hitler.

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