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Shevardnadze Assails Bonn Over Its Nuclear Missiles : Warns That 72 Pershings With American Warheads May Block Pact; He Will See U.S. Negotiator Today

August 07, 1987|DON COOK | Times Staff Writer

GENEVA — Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze on Thursday called on West Germany to give up its Pershing 1-A missiles with American nuclear warheads and "not become an obstacle to a historic agreement" between the two superpowers to eliminate all intermediate-range missiles in Europe.

In advance of a meeting here today with chief U.S. arms negotiator Max M. Kampelman, Shevardnadze used a lengthy speech to the U.N. Disarmament Conference to deliver a slashing attack on the Bonn government, accusing it of harboring nuclear ambitions and violating the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

In a television interview, Kampelman remarked that the Soviet foreign minister "is engaged in propaganda, and I don't take it too seriously."

The 72 Pershings at issue were given to West Germany by the United States, which retains control over their nuclear warheads. The missiles, which are considered outdated, fall within the short-range category (300 to 600 miles) of intermediate missiles.

Soviet Position Changed

The Soviet Union made them an issue last month when Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev announced a change in the Soviet position, expressing willingness for the first time to eliminate those short-range intermediate missiles, as well as the larger class of longer-range intermediates, those with a range of 600 to 3,000 miles.

The U.S. delegation responded formally to Shevardnadze's speech Thursday, accusing him of "a rather intimidating attitude" toward West Germany and asserting that "no nation, no matter how powerful or how many nuclear weapons it possesses, should ever implicitly seek to intimidate another member of the family of nations."

The U.S. statement went on to "urge that the level of the rhetorical offensive be reduced in favor of serious and quiet negotiations."

However, the rhetorical demands from Moscow on the Pershings are rising to such a high public pitch that it may become difficult for the Soviet Union to back down on the issue in the face of an adamant U.S. refusal even to discuss them.

U.S. Position on Issue

The U.S. position is that the nuclear arms talks are a bilateral process between the two superpowers, in which discussion of the West German missiles has no place.

In Washington, White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said: "Our policy remains the same: that we will not negotiate third-country missile systems, that we have an established pattern of cooperation with West Germany that puts these Pershing 1-As within that category, and they have not been on the table, they are not on the table, they will not be on the table."

In Bonn, according to the Reuters news agency, a West German politician said that U.S. National Security Adviser Frank C. Carlucci has assured the Bonn government that the Reagan Administration will not yield to the Soviet demands on the Pershings.

Volker Ruehe, arms control spokesman for Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democratic party, added, "He said very clearly, in the President's name, that nothing in the American position had changed or would change, that these systems are not part of these negotiations."

Ruehe said Carlucci also denied speculation that Washington is considering promising Moscow not to modernize the Pershings. "He said such an agreement was neither being sought nor negotiated, that the United States wanted no accord whatever on the Pershing 1-As in these negotiations, including their modernization."

Laced With Propaganda

In his speech, Shevardnadze lapsed into old-fashioned Soviet propaganda language, speaking of West Germany as "a country where even today the insane slogans of revanchism are being heard, trying to drown out the voices of sober-minded political and public figures and mass movements calling for a responsible approach to European and world affairs."

The Soviet people, he said, "will never acquiesce in West Germany becoming a nuclear power."

"Thus, 72 U.S. nuclear warheads stand between us and an agreement on intermediate-range and short-range missiles. A Soviet-American accord on the total elimination of two categories of nuclear arms is a necessary prologue to solving the main problem, that of eliminating strategic offensive arms and preventing the extension of the arms race to outer space."

Shevardnadze stopped short of any categorical declaration that there can be no agreement with the United States unless the Pershing 1-As are included, although he repeated several times in different ways that "all systems without exception must be eliminated--how can it be otherwise?"

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