PART III -- THE REAGAN REVOLUTION IN DEFENSE AND ARMS CONTROL

Chapter 12 - Strategic Offensive: Modernization, START Reductions, Nuclear Deterrence and Testing

had resigned as JCS representative on President Carter’s SALT II negotiating team in opposition to Carter’s proposed treaty terms. After retiring, he testified before the Congress against SALT II, and eventually joined the Committee on the Present Danger and Reagan’s 1980 advisory team.

More Public Statements. The May announcement of START talks was followed on June 25, 1982 by Reagan’s Statement on the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks in which he reported publicly on the latest NSC arms control meetings, his approval of negotiation instructions, and his key negotiation principles. Other public statements on START proposals and its early history include a Department of State GIST Fact Sheet on the START Proposal, issued in July 1982, and an article on the Evolution of the U.S. START Approach, by Richard Burt, the designated Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, published in September 1982 in NATO Review and by the Department of State.

Reagan’s U.N. Speech—June 1982. Shortly after Reagan’s Eureka speech outlining START, his Remarks before the U.N. General Assembly Special Session on Disarmament on June 17, 1982 provided a dramatic global setting to present his innovative arms control agenda to an international audience. His topics included START, INF, Mutual and Balanced Forces (MBFR), chemical and toxin weapons, and more. He informed the American people and the world’s diplomats, including many critics, about the serious objectives and unprecedented scope of his arms control strategy, thus increasing public pressure on the Soviet leaders to stop saying “no” and instead to move toward serious negotiations with the United States.

Reagan to the Congress on the “Freeze”—July 1982. At this time, Reagan and his public diplomacy efforts included many public alerts about the damage a “Nuclear Freeze,” the popular alternative to START, would do to the cause of negotiating reductions in START and INF. Reagan’s efforts included letters to the House leadership. In a public Letter to the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives on Strategic Arms Reductions on July 23, 1982, he warned that endorsing the Freeze resolution on which they were about to vote:

will signal to the Soviet Union that we are willing to accept something less than these [U.S.-proposed] reductions; that is, a freeze that leaves dangerous asymmetries in the nuclear balance and a return to the flawed SALT II agreement. Both these provisions would seriously undercut our negotiation position and reduce the chances for achievements of our START objectives.13

The Freeze resolution was defeated in the House by only one vote, and freeze proponents and their Democratic Party allies renewed their pressures. Reagan’s public Letter to the Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services, on August 3, 1982, warned that:

the House Foreign Affairs Committee “nuclear freeze” resolution will undermine our negotiation position with the Soviets during the START talks, by placing the United States in a dangerous position of disadvantage and removing the incentive for serious negotiation by the Soviets. I hope you will urge your colleagues to reject this proposal and pass instead the Broomfield-Carney-Stratton resolution, which will show the Soviet Union that the Congress supports our effort to accomplish meaningful arms reductions.14

NSDDs on START Negotiations Guidance—July to September, 1982. Between July 1982 and June 1983, Reagan issued two NSC directives providing his decisions on the proposed Interdepartmental Group and NSC options for the U.S. approach to START for “Rounds” III through VI. NSDD 44—Approach to START Negotiations III, issued on July 13, 1982, proposed a combined total limit of 850 deployed ballistic missiles with a 250 sublimit of deployed heavy and medium ICBMS with no more than 110 heavy missiles. New reentry vehicles (warheads) were to be limited to 200 kg. in weight and to 14 on SLBMs and 10 on ICBMs. The delegation was authorized to discuss “non-deployed” issues, involving reconstitution, refire, rapid reload, and breakout constraints. NSDD 53—Approach to START Negotiations IV, issued on September 3, 1982, added potential quantitative and non-quantitative constraint proposals on non-deployed missiles and pointed to further guidance on data exchanges and verification.

New NSC Arms Control Organizations—1982. At about this time, Reagan established his NSC-led Senior Arms Control Policy Group and a new NSC-led Arms Control Verification Committee to assure his direction and implementation of his far-reaching arms control guidance and an Arms Control Policy Information Group to inform and rally support (see Chapter 10).

[Book pg. 274]

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