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Shultz Rebukes Danes on Arms, Nuclear Defense

December 14, 1987|NORMAN KEMPSTER | Times Staff Writer

OSLO — Secretary of State George P. Shultz rebuked Denmark on Sunday for spending only 2% of its gross national product on defense and warned that a proposed Baltic nuclear free zone cannot protect the area from Soviet missiles.

Shultz chided the Danish government in response to a question by a Danish journalist before flying on to Norway for meetings today with senior Norwegian officials.

The journalist had asked at a press conference why the United States does not support the idea--proposed by several Scandinavian Social Democratic parties and endorsed by Moscow--to ban nuclear weapons from the Baltic region. Shultz responded with a stern lecture.

"The problem that you have is that the Soviet Union has nuclear weapons and they can aim them at you," he said. "What counts is where they hit.

Hails Nuclear Deterrent

"For the last 40 years there hasn't been a war in Europe," he said. "Why? It's because NATO got organized, had a deterrent capability and that deterrent capability included most importantly a nuclear deterrent. That is what has kept the peace."

He said the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies are prepared to negotiate with Moscow on cuts in both nuclear and conventional forces. But he said the Atlantic Alliance must enter the talks from a position of strength.

"Denmark ought to do better than (spend) 2% of its GNP (on defense)," he said.

"We want to reduce the level of nuclear weapons--we want to reduce the nuclear threat," Shultz said. "But we want to do it carefully because we don't want to throw away what has kept the peace."

Most of Shultz's 24-hour stay in Denmark was resolutely nonconfrontational. The left-leaning newspaper Politiken carried on its front page Sunday a slightly bemused story remarking that Shultz had met opposition leader Svend Auken on Saturday without giving him a dressing-down for the Social Democratic Party's opposition to increased Danish defense spending and support of the nuclear free zone proposal.

Earlier in the day, Shultz toured the 16th-Century castle at Elsinore that was the setting for Shakespeare's play "Hamlet."

Celebrated 67th Birthday

After his press conference, Shultz celebrated his 67th birthday with cake and ice cream aboard his Air Force jetliner while en route to Oslo.

A senior Administration official said the primary purpose of the trip was to reassure Denmark and Norway of their place within the alliance. Despite Shultz's grumbling about Denmark's austere defense budget, there are no pressing problems between Washington and either Copenhagen or Oslo.

"It is symbolic," the official said. "But there is a lot of substance in getting your gestures right."

The official, who asked not to be identified by name, said Washington and Oslo have patched up last summer's dispute over the sale of sophisticated milling equipment to the Soviet Union by Toshiba Machine Tool Co. of Japan and Kongsberg Vaapenfabrikk of Norway. The equipment was used by Moscow to develop a quieter propulsion system for its submarines, making them far harder to detect.

Norway Plugged Loopholes

But the official said that Norway has moved aggressively to plug loopholes in its law that permitted the sale to take place.

"Everyone wishes this would not have happened," the official said. "The Norwegian government wishes this would not have happened."

Nevertheless, congressional action intended to punish Toshiba for the sale also is directed at Norway. The official said the Administration has tried, without success, to exclude Norway from the punitive legislation.

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