In their article (Opinion, April 26), "To Withdraw Missiles, We Must Add Conditions," former President Richard M. Nixon and former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger argue that the agreement now being negotiated between the United States and the Soviet Union to globally eliminate almost all U.S. and Soviet intermediate nuclear force weapons would be a "profound mistake" unless at least two additional conditions are met. These are not that just almost all, but all U.S. and Soviet intermediate nuclear force weapons should be eliminated globally, and that any such agreement should be linked to elimination of "the huge Soviet conventional superiority."
As to their first objection, they argue that any SS-20 missiles withdrawn to Soviet Asia would still threaten Germany, could easily be moved to positions threatening all of Europe, and would threaten China, Japan, and Korea with U.S. acquiescence; and that permitting 100 SS-20 warheads in Asia would greatly complicate the verification problem. None of these points is compelling, either singly or collectively.
If, as the authors also point out, the Soviets would be left with 19,000 nuclear warheads with which to threaten Western Europe (a large proportion are on accurate ICBMs and they threaten Asia also) how is it that an additional 100 warheads pose such a severe military threat either to Europe or to Asia?