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U.S. Would Withdraw Warheads but Is Vague on Their Fate

September 03, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — If Bonn makes good on its offer to retire its Pershing 1-A missiles, the United States will withdraw the aging weapons' American-owned nuclear warheads from West German territory, the State Department said Wednesday.

It declined, however, to specify whether the warheads would be destroyed or saved for future use.

Replying to a barrage of questions about the 72 Pershings, department spokeswoman Phyllis Oakley restated the U.S. position that their future "is not subject to any form of negotiation with the Soviet Union."

"The warheads of the Federal Republic of Germany Pershing 1-As are controlled by us, and always have been," Oakley said. "They are part of our program of cooperation with our West German allies."

After the Pershings became a sticking point in U.S.-Soviet intermediate- and shorter-range arms negotiations, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl last month offered to remove them in the interests of an arms agreement.

"If the conditions laid out by Chancellor Kohl in his Aug. 26 statement are met and the FRG (Federal Republic of Germany) consequently retires the 72 Pershing 1-As, we would, of course, withdraw the warheads," Oakley said.

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