President Reagan plans to use the forum of a major speech before the European Parliament to propose that the Soviet Union and the United States establish a direct military communication link to aid in managing potential crises, a White House spokesman announced here Monday.
Reagan, who arrived in Madrid earlier in the day for a state visit, will outline the plan and discuss his arms reduction proposals before the Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday, the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.
A military communications link has been proposed in the past at the diplomatic level by the United States, but the Soviets have balked at the proposal. White House spokesman Larry Speakes indicated that the White House believes that the proposal will be taken more seriously by the Soviets if the President presents it at a major forum.
Links Two Capitals
Washington and Moscow already have the so-called hot line, which provides an instant communications link between the two capitals.
Reagan and his wife, Nancy, were met upon their arrival here by King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia and later dined with the royal couple at their Zarzuela Palace residence.
Reagan met for 35 minutes with Socialist Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez and discussed general East-West issues, officials said. Substantive discussions are expected to take place today. Earlier Monday, before leaving West Germany, Reagan explained to a crowd of several thousand young Germans that he wants peace and the elimination of nuclear weapons but that the world must be “realistic” about Soviet intentions.
Up to this point in his European trip, the President had stressed the importance of strengthening defenses because of the Soviet threat and had spoken optimistically about the possibility that his Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars”) research program eventually will develop into a space-based defense system capable of repelling nuclear missiles.
But on Monday in Madrid, the White House changed the subject to U.S.-Soviet cooperation, with Speakes saying that the military communications linkup would be designed to help both countries deal with such crises as the shooting down of a South Korean airliner by Soviet fighter planes on Sept. 1, 1983, after it strayed into Soviet airspace, and the fatal shooting of Army Maj. Arthur D. Nicholson Jr. last March by a Soviet sentry after the American entered what the Soviets said was a restricted area in East Germany.
Military Information Link
Under Reagan’s proposal, Speakes said, the military forces of both countries would provide each other with notification and other information concerning military activities, including any deviation from training exercises.
In his speech at Strasbourg the President is expected to spell out other details of his proposal and to announce he has directed Secretary of State George P. Shultz to go to Vienna next week to broaden the dialogue with the Soviet Union on ways of reducing tension. Shultz will meet in the Austrian capital with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko.
Reagan ended his five-day stay in West Germany at Hambach Castle, an 11th Century fortress, where he addressed an estimated 7,000 German youths. He told them that “nothing could bring (him) greater happiness” than to negotiate an agreement with the Soviet Union that would “rid the Earth of nuclear weapons forever.”
“But my young friends,” he added, “I must also plead for realism. For unless and until there is a changing by the other side, the United States must fulfill a commitment of its own--to the survival of liberty.”
And as every U.S. President has done since the Cold War began, Reagan told the Germans, to loud applause, that “America will stand by you in Europe, and America will stand by you in Berlin.”
Pushed ‘Star Wars’ System
Reagan also pushed for his “Star Wars” defense system, which is looked upon with particular skepticism in Europe.
Currently, the President said, the Atlantic Alliance “must rely on a (deterrence) system based on the threat of nuclear retaliation called mutual assured destruction. But someday, your children may be protected and war could be avoided by a system we call mutual assured survival.”
Reagan has been attempting--so far unsuccessfully--to persuade the European allies to join the United States in the “Star Wars” research program. Only French President Francois Mitterrand, however, has flatly rejected the idea.
Besides trying to explain his defense policies to a generation that tends look on him suspiciously, Reagan went to Hambach Castle to deliver a pep talk to the grandchildren of men who fought on the side of Adolf Hitler.
Only the day before, the President had made what he called a “painful walk into the past” under gray skies at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and Bitburg cemetery. But on Monday, under bright sunshine, Reagan was all smiles as he delivered a basic message of hope to the frequently applauding young people: Be proud of your German heritage, despite the Nazi terror of 40 years ago, and look to the future.
Sigler Sabastian, 21, a university student from Hanover, estimated that 95% of the carefully selected young people invited to the rally were political conservatives. According to Sabastian and other Germans, invitations were distributed throughout the country by local political supporters of West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. It also helped to have some American connections.
Down the mountain from the castle, in the small towns of Hambach and Neustadt, several thousand other young people demonstrated against Reagan and his policies, shouting, “Yankee go home” and making obscene gestures at the presidential motorcade.
The castle event was bizarre in some respects. The crowd, packed uncomfortably by German authorities--apparently for television impact--onto a small hilly area, was entertained before Reagan arrived by Up With People, a youthful song-and-dance group that frequently performs at conservative political functions in the United States.
Warming Up the Crowd
An Up With People spokesman said the group was on tour in Europe and was asked by the West German government to warm up the crowd for Reagan at the castle.
The hilltop castle, called the “cradle of German democracy” because it was the birthplace of a short-lived democratic movement in 1832, was decked out with gently waving German and American flags on Monday.
“Those first patriots cried out for a free, democratic and united Germany, and we do so again,” Reagan said, referring to the division between democratic West Germany and Communist East Germany. The young Germans cheered lustily.
Reagan clearly was trying to impress upon the German youth, many of them confused and embittered by the controversy over his visit Sunday to the German military cemetery at Bitburg, that he and all Americans do not blame them for whatever sins their fathers or grandfathers may have committed.
“I may not say it well,” Reagan said at the start of his speech, his head cocked to the side in a patented gesture, “but I can truly say, ‘Wir fuehlen hier ganz zu hause’ (we feel completely at home here.)”
‘Age of the Entrepreneur’
Reagan asked the conservative-oriented youth, as he might a similar American group, “to consider joining with your friends now or in the future to start up your own business, become part of a great new movement for progress--the Age of the Entrepreneur.”
After the speech, the President and Mrs. Reagan walked to a terrace overlooking a valley of vineyards far below and talked to a selected group of 40 German students. A young man asked Reagan what he and his colleagues could do to improve international relations.
“You need to realize,” the President replied, “that you are the generation that will, within a short time, be in charge. Look to the miracle that your parents and grandparents brought about. For the first time in centuries, a war did not sow the seeds of another war. Friendship is the way.
“Take that message and you will find young people in every country think that way.”