BRUSSELS — Secretary of State George P. Shultz won the enthusiastic endorsement Wednesday of the NATO alliance for the just-completed U.S.-Soviet missile accord that would eliminate all ground-launched nuclear missiles with a range between 300 and 3,000 miles. Most of the deployed weapons in this category are in Europe.
Shultz said the Western allies will stop deploying U.S. cruise missiles in Europe when the treaty is signed in Washington next month, without waiting for Senate ratification.
"When the treaty is finally signed on Dec. 10, at that point whatever exists at that stage stays in place, but there is no further work and there are no further deployments," Shultz told a news conference after a two-hour special session of foreign ministers and ambassadors of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during a stop here on his way back to Washington.
He said this means the alliance would forgo deployment of about 220 cruise missiles in Britain, West Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, adding that the halt in deployments will save money at a time of budget-cutting.
He estimated that the development, production, deployment and eventual withdrawal of the U.S. Pershing 2 and ground-launched cruise missiles to match the Soviet medium-range missile buildup of the last decade will have cost $7 billion to $9 billion by 1990, when the elimination of the missiles is scheduled to be completed.
At his news conference, Shultz said all members of the alliance were "delighted with the treaty and said so in the meeting."
He referred to the missile agreement reached in Geneva as an alliance treaty that came out of NATO's 1979 decision both to deploy new missiles to match the Soviet buildup and to negotiate to eliminate those weapons on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
"This isn't a U.S. treaty. This is their treaty, this is an alliance treaty," Shultz said. "The alliance carried it through and was steadfast and cohesive and now we have the result that we sought.
"There was an absolutely full uniform sense of support" for the agreement, Shultz added, crediting NATO cohesion and steadfastness for the success in the U.S.-Soviet negotiations.
Other allied officials here expressed similar views and said they hope the Senate will ratify the treaty.
"This is a treaty that we feel is our treaty, an alliance treaty, not just one between the United States and the Soviet Union," said Giulio Andreotti, Italy's foreign minister. "We offered a prayer for (Senate) ratification."
West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, speaking to reporters, hailed the agreement as an important milestone. Speaking of the treaty's opponents in the Senate, Genscher said: "Critics of the treaty in the United States have no right to use West Germany as the reason for their criticism."
A senior British diplomat commented: "The Americans got out of it a heavily asymmetric agreement, one could say a ground-breaking agreement. It is very striking what the Russians have conceded."
A communique after Shultz's meeting with the NATO Council here said that "the council enthusiastically welcomed the INF agreement and looked forward to its signature and early ratification." INF stands for Intermediate Nuclear Forces, as the class of medium-range missiles is called.
The communique also expressed "full support around the council table for the President's (Reagan) efforts and high expectations for progress" at the Washington summit two weeks from now.
Soviet inspection of missile facilities on the territory of five NATO nations--West Germany, Britain, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands--would be "done in full accord with the sovereignty and the laws of those countries," Shultz assured Europeans in a press conference after the NATO session.
The Soviet Union and each of the countries will exchange notes laying out the rights and limits of the inspectors to visit U.S.-owned and operated facilities there for the entire 13-year life of the treaty.
No Springboard Seen
En route here from Geneva, where he met for two days with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze, Shultz appeared to take quiet pride in the achievement of the missile agreement. But he declined to picture it as a springboard to an improved political climate between the superpowers, as Shevardnadze had done a day earlier.
"Things are moving in a constructive direction," Shultz said, adding that there had been "more of a climax when Shevardnadze visited Washington (late last month) and we finally agreed in principle to complete the treaty.
"The way to manage the (U.S.-Soviet) relationship" he said, "is to stay away from euphoria and stay away from depression, just work at it in a steady way."