NATO Allies Call on U.S. to Retain SALT II
NATO foreign ministers agreed in a closed session today that the United States should continue abiding by terms of the SALT II nuclear arms treaty even if the Soviet Union does not, a British official said.
“The consensus view was to keep the constraints,” said the official, who requested anonymity. “That was the European advice.”
Moments earlier, at the public opening session of the foreign ministers’ meeting, West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher made the same appeal.
“Neither the observance of the ABM (anti-ballistic missile) treaty nor the respect of the SALT II agreement should be diminished in their value by the Soviet Union adopting an attitude contrary to their spirit and letter,” Genscher said.
The British official said British Foreign Minister Geoffrey Howe urged U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz at the private session not to hand the Soviets a propaganda advantage by violating SALT II.
“It’s very important not to throw away the very rules against which the Soviet performance could be judged, and not to give the Soviets a further propaganda stick with which to work on Western public opinion,” Howe reportedly said.
The 16 foreign ministers and NATO ambassadors held their closed session in an isolated hotel at this port city west of Lisbon.
The 1979 SALT II treaty, which expires Dec. 31, has not been ratified by either the United States or the Soviet Union, and President Reagan has said he considers the treaty fatally flawed. However, both sides have said they will abide by terms of the treaty as long as the other side does. The ABM treaty went into effect in 1972.
Reagan Refusal Urged
Several presidential aides are pressing Reagan to stop abiding by the pact in whole or in part, contending that Moscow has built two new intercontinental ballistic missile systems and is putting missile test data in code, all in violation of the treaty.
Reagan is expected to decide the issue this weekend, and Shultz on Wednesday cabled the allies’ concerns as indicated to him in private sessions. (Story on Page 5.)
On other issues, NATO sources said the foreign ministers today discussed President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, commonly known as “Star Wars.”
The British official said Shultz did not press the allies for any commitment on “Star Wars,” and another NATO source said the project probably will not be mentioned by name in the final communique of the meetings to be issued Friday.