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Senate Given Conventional Forces Amendment to Nuclear Arms Pact

December 19, 1987|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — An amendment to the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty to reduce the Soviet advantage in conventional forces in Europe was introduced on Friday by a member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee.

The amendment by South Dakota Republican Larry Pressler would require a reduction in the current three- or four-to-one advantage the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies have over North Atlantic Treaty Organization in troops, tanks, artillery and other non-nuclear weapons to a level no greater than three-to-two.

"The very purpose the missiles were placed in Europe were to protect the lives of our soldiers in West Germany," Pressler said in a Senate speech.

He noted that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had said the missiles to be removed under the treaty had protected the peace in Europe for many years.

Pressler said that while he expected the INF treaty to be approved, the United States should be careful in removing what he called its trump card in Europe, the short- to intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

The INF treaty calling for the elimination of all ground-launched missiles with a range of 300 to 3,000 miles was signed last week by President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev at their summit meeting in Washington.

The treaty must be ratified by the Senate, which will hold hearings on its provisions early next year.

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