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Arms Pact Won't Cut U.S. Europe Role, Reagan Says

November 04, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Reagan vowed to Europeans today that a nuclear arms treaty with the Soviet Union will not undercut the U.S. commitment to their security, saying the stationing of 300,000 American troops in Europe and elsewhere abroad and "our steadfast nuclear guarantee underscore this pledge."

Reagan also said it is "totally unacceptable" for the Soviet Union to try to link reductions in globe-girdling strategic nuclear weapons to restrictions on "Star Wars," also known as the Strategic Defense Initiative.

Reagan's remarks, taped at the White House on Tuesday, were broadcast to Europe by the U.S. Information Agency's "Worldnet" and the Voice of America.

"We won't bargain away SDI," Reagan said in a speech a month before Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev arrives in Washington for a superpower summit. The two leaders are expected to sign a treaty banning intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) in Europe and to discuss other arms differences.

Last Friday, Reagan said Gorbachev was not making SDI concessions a condition for cutbacks in strategic arms. However, today Reagan complained of "the Soviet tactic of holding these offensive reductions hostage to measures that would cripple" SDI.

In part, the speech attempted to calm fears that the removal of U.S. medium- and shorter-range missiles in Europe would weaken the Western alliance and leave Europe vulnerable to the Warsaw Pact's conventional forces, which greatly outnumber those in the West.

The address also challenged the authenticity of Gorbachev's campaign of openness or glasnost and underscored to the Soviet leader that Reagan is adamant about moving ahead with his "Star Wars" program.

Saying the West is watching for action, not words, Reagan called on the Soviets to make more progress in human rights and emigration and to loosen "the Soviet hold over Eastern Europe."

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