The Soviet Union put its new arms control proposals to the United States on the negotiating table today in an extraordinary plenary session that lasted only 35 minutes.
A news blackout was imposed on details of the Soviet proposals in keeping with the two sides’ confidentiality agreement. U.S. spokesman Terry Shroeder revealed only the length of the meeting.
Viktor P. Karpov, the chief Soviet negotiator, told reporters as he entered the U.S. arms control offices: “We’re going to start introducing our proposals today.”
But Karpov refused to discuss details of the Soviet proposals. “I can only say that they are directed at drastic solutions to all the problems” at the negotiations.
Called by Soviets
Today’s session between all six principal U.S. and Soviet negotiators and their aides was called by the Soviet side. A second such extraordinary session, also called by the Soviets, was scheduled for Tuesday.
Asked if the proposals would allow for progress in the talks, Karpov said: “Let’s hope so. But it takes two for talks.”
In an unusual move, the chief U.S. negotiator, Max M. Kampelman, and the other two principal negotiators, John G. Tower and Maynard W. Glitman, came outside the building to greet the Soviet team.
Kampelman told reporters before the Soviets arrived that he hoped the Soviets would propose a “serious counteroffer.”
‘Don’t Know Details’
He said that, despite numerous media reports speculating on the contents of the Soviet proposals, “I don’t know yet the details of what we might receive.”
He did not say when the U.S. side would respond to the Soviet proposals. The Soviet proposals were outlined to President Reagan by Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze in Washington on Friday. U.S. reports said they call for reducing both superpowers’ offensive nuclear weapons systems by 50%.
Reagan welcomed Shevardnadze’s proposal but said he hoped the fine print will be “free of preconditions.”
Secretary of State George P. Shultz said the plan presented by Shevardnadze signified a change in the Soviet position, but there was no immediate indication the Soviets were prepared to accept U.S. space weapons research, which they have claimed would lead to an arms race in outer space.