Warsaw Pact Proposes Troop Cut of 1 Million
The Warsaw Pact communist military alliance today proposed cutting by more than 1 million the number of troops facing each other across the East-West divide in Europe by the early 1990s.
The proposed cuts--of more than 500,000 apiece by NATO and the Eastern Bloc--formed the core of a broad plan to reduce the threat to European peace from the Continent’s vast standing armies.
A NATO spokesman welcomed the proposal and said it would be studied carefully.
The proposal was announced by outgoing Warsaw Pact General Secretary Miklos Barity after Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and the leaders of the six other pact countries ended a two-day summit in the Hungarian capital.
Staged Cuts Proposed
In an appeal to NATO and all European countries, the Warsaw Pact proposed a first-stage cut of 100,000 to 150,000 men by each of the opposing blocs within a year or two.
The appeal specified that the cuts should include both land and tactical air forces and their arms and equipment, including tactical nuclear weapons with a range of up to 625 miles.
The pact said cuts of more than a million men would reduce by a quarter the forces deployed in Europe by the two military alliances. Large-scale troop cuts “would substantially reduce the danger of war in Europe,” it said.
The proposal is an elaboration of a plan put forth in April by Gorbachev. NATO officials said at the time they lacked details to respond to the plan.
Numerical Ratio Ignored
Florent Swijsen, a spokesman for NATO Secretary-General Lord Carrington, said today, “It would be wrong to comment on the details before these (Warsaw Pact) ideas have been properly studied, but we certainly welcome all constructive contributions toward our objective.”
In a first reaction, Western diplomats said the proposed equal cuts for each side ignored what NATO says is the current numerical superiority of Warsaw Pact forces.