Chapter 14 - NATO-Warsaw Pact Conventional and CBW Forces and Arms Control

  • Prenotification of major movements of ground forces into the area of reductions;
  • An annual quota of on-call inspections;
  • Designation of permanent entry and exit points, with observers;
  • Exchange of information on forces to be withdrawn and continuing periodic exchanges of information on residual forces; and
  • Noninterference with national technical means of verification . . .

[Soviet Responses—Including a Freeze] The Western treaty is a major initiative intended to enable the MBFR talks to move forward. The East has yet to respond constructively. It has criticized various aspects of the Western draft treaty both privately and publicly. On the other hand, it has shown a willingness to discuss it in some detail rather than reject it outright.

In February 1983, the East made a new proposal, the principal elements of which are:

  • U.S./Soviet reductions by “mutual example,” that is, outside the context of an agreement;
  • An agreed freeze on all forces and armaments in the MBFR area subsequent to these U.S./Soviet withdrawals; and
  • Subsequent negotiations of a treaty binding all direct participants to reductions in a single phase. The East suggests that such a treaty should be based on its 1982 draft.

The West continues to study this proposal for positive elements; however, it is clearly inadequate because of its failure to address the crucial question of data and the verification problems it would pose. . . .

[The Warsaw Pact Advantages in Europe] The chief source of potential military instability in Europe is the presence and offensive orientation of strongly equipped, numerically superior, geographically advantaged Warsaw Pact forces in Central Europe and the western U.S.S.R. Western military planners must assume that the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact partners are capable of rapidly launching a substantial attack with forces directly facing NATO and quickly reinforcing them with forces from the Soviet Union. Although NATO has considerable defensive forces in the area, it must implement a forward defense on a broad front and widely separated flanks. The Warsaw Pact would have the tactical advantage of choosing the time and place of attack. Moreover, the primary source of NATO reinforcements is the United States, some 3,500 miles from the area of confrontation. (headings added)8

While the Soviets showed only limited interest in the Western MBFR initiative of June/July 1982, moving only slightly on key verification issues, the Administration’s MBFR Interdepartmental Group (IG) and the NATO Allies continued over the next year to review MBFR data, verification, and confidence-building issues even as they also stressed Soviet treaty violations and the importance of Western conventional force modernization.

NSDD 75—January 1983. Reagan’s decision directive NSDD 75—U.S. Relations with the USSR on his overall Cold War strategy was issued on January 17, 1983 (see Chapter 8). In the following excerpt on conventional weapons, the directive demonstrates Reagan’s consistent integration of defense and arms control objectives to include modernization, security assistance, and arms control with the latter seeking balanced, effectively verifiable arms reductions to equal levels of comparable armaments. Thus:

The U.S. must modernize its military forces—both nuclear and conventional—so that Soviet leaders perceive that the U.S. is determined never to accept a second place or a deteriorating military posture. Soviet calculations of possible war outcomes under any contingency must always result in outcomes so unfavorable to the USSR that there would be no incentive for Soviet leaders to initiate an attack. The future strength of U.S. military capabilities must be assured. . . . While controls over transfer of military related/dual-use technology, products, and services must be tightened. . . .

The U.S. must rebuild the credibility of its commitment to resist Soviet encroachment on U.S. interests and those of its Allies and friends, and to support effectively those Third World states that are willing to resist Soviet pressures or oppose Soviet initiatives hostile to the United States, or are special targets of Soviet policy. The U.S. effort in the Third World must involve an important role for security assistance and foreign military sales, as well as readiness to use U.S. military forces when necessary to protect vital interests and support endangered Allies and friends. . . . U.S. arms control proposals will be consistent with necessary force modernization plans and will seek to achieve balanced, significant, and verifiable reductions to equal levels of comparable armaments.9

Soviet Negotiations Walkout—November 1983. U.S.-Soviet relations and arms control prospects, including for MBFR, were severely affected by the November 1983 Soviet walkout on U.S.-Soviet negotiations, including those on conventional and CBW weapons, in reaction to NATO’s deployment of INF missiles. A re-

[Book pg. 328]