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

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

vealing Reagan Administration report on stepped-up Soviet disinformation and threats preceding this walkout is the Soviet Propaganda Campaign Against NATO, published in October 1983 by the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and accessible in this book’s Internet Document Library.

Two Comprehensive U.S. Reports on Soviet Arms Treaty Violations: GAC and Presidential—January 1984. As the Soviets were staging their unprecedented walkout, two Reagan Administration efforts were reaching completion in providing comprehensive classified assessments of Soviet noncompliance with a wide range of existing arms control agreements, including those on conventional and CBW forces. The contexts, unclassified versions, and implications of both compliance reports are detailed in Chapter 15. The first of the reports was the President’s General Advisory Committee (GAC) Report on a Quarter Century of Soviet Compliance Practices Under Arms Control Commitments: 1958–1982. Second was a presidentially approved, NSC-coordinated Interdepartmental report on which an unclassified White House Fact Sheet on Soviet Noncompliance with Arms Control Agreements—1984 was issued on January 23, 1984. Both reports found Soviet violations of the Helsinki Accords on conventional forces and of two international CBW agreements.

Soviet Violation of Helsinki Accords—January 1984. The President’s unclassified January 1984 report includes the following excerpt from his “Presidential Finding”:

  • Obligation: All signatory states of the Helsinki Final Act are committed to give prior notification of, and other details concerning, major military maneuvers defined as those involving more than 25,000 ground troops.
  • Issues: The study examined whether notification of the Soviet military exercise Zapad–81, which occurred on September 4–12, 1981, was inadequate and therefore a violation of their political commitment.
  • Finding: With respect to the Helsinki Final Act, the U.S.S.R. by its inadequate notification of Zapad–81 military exercise, violated its political commitment under this Act to observe the Confidence-Building Measure requiring appropriate prior notification of certain military exercises.10

Later Public Details on the Soviet Helsinki Accords Violations. A U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency report, the ACDA Report on Soviet Noncompliance published in March 1986, includes a page of additional unclassified information on the specific Soviet Helsinki Act violation and on the larger Soviet/Warsaw Pact lack of transparency. An excerpt follows:

The Soviet Union’s August 14 notification of the September 4–12, 1981 maneuver “ZAPAD–81” did not include the maneuver’s designation, nor did it provide the types of forces engaged, and most importantly, it did not include the number of troops taking part. “ZAPAD–81” may have been the largest maneuver conducted by any signatory state, or group of signatory States since the Final Act was adopted. The United States asked the Soviet Union, through diplomatic channels, about its preparations for “ZAPAD–81” prior to the beginning of the maneuver. No further information was given by the Soviet Union until September 5, the second day of the maneuver, when the Soviet news agency TASS reported the name of the maneuver and the fact that approximately 100,000 troops were taking part. The information in the notifications issued by eastern States has normally been limited to the bare minimum of information required by the Final Act. Little, if any, additional relevant information, related to the components of the forces engaged and the period of engagement, has been provided. The eastern governments have invited observers to fewer than half of their major maneuvers and have frequently been unwilling to allow the observers adequate observation of the exercises.11

Department of State Report on Confidence Building Measures(CBM) History and Status—January 1984. A Department of State (GIST) Report on “Arms Control: Confidence Building Measures” was issued early in January in anticipation of the opening of the 35-nation “Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe” (CDE) in Stockholm, Sweden as a follow-up to the Madrid Conference (1980–1983). The report reviews the chronology of CBMs beginning with bilateral U.S.-Soviet measures focused on preventing war, including the 1963 Hotline Agreement, the 1971 Accidents Measures Agreement, and the 1972 Incidents at Sea Agreement. It links the multilateral CSCE-Helsinki process and the MBFR talk and reviews President Reagan’s current CBM initiatives (for both nuclear and conventional arms issues) under headings and with their text as follows:

[Book pg. 329]

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