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Carlucci Tells Soviets They Talk of Defense but Arm for Offense

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Associated Press

Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci told a top-level Soviet military class today that he has difficulty reconciling Kremlin claims of a defensive strategy with its excessive military spending and offensive weapons stocks.

Meanwhile, four missiles were blown apart at a test range in Central Asia as the Soviet Union began destroying more than 1,700 missiles banned by a superpower treaty.

On the first day of a visit expected to offer a close-up view of some Soviet bases and hardware, Carlucci and his host, Defense Minister Dmitri T. Yazov, both called for straight talk on the issues that divide their nations.

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Speaking at Moscow’s Voroshilov Military Academy, Carlucci said questions remain “by and large open” on the sincerity of Soviet claims to be rethinking defense strategy.

“We have difficulty in reconciling a defensive doctrine with what we see in Soviet force structure and operational strategy as an emphasis on the offensive,” he told the academy class.

“We also have difficulty reconciling the U.S.S.R.’s pledge not to be the first to use nuclear weapons with your continuing emphasis on heavy ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles), such as the SS-18,” Carlucci said.

Sees Stress on Preemption

He said he found Yazov and other senior Kremlin military men “articulate and willing” but deemed the signs of actual change in the system “ambiguous.”

Carlucci said the Strategic Defense Initiative, known as “Star Wars,” will remain part of the U.S. military plan as long as Washington sees on the Soviet side “a capability more compatible with a military doctrine that emphasizes preemptive nuclear strikes.”

“I am prepared to acknowledge that in many areas the United States enjoys a technological edge over the Soviet Union and I will say as well that we have every intention of further enhancing our technological capabilities,” he said.

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Carlucci hailed as a “great event” today’s destruction of four Soviet missiles at a test range on the steppes of Central Asia. They were the first of more than 1,700 Soviet missiles to be destroyed under the treaty banning intermediate-range nuclear weapons.

Tass said that at noon Moscow time, four Soviet short-range missiles known in the West as SS-12s were destroyed in the presence of U.S. inspectors at the Saryozek test range in Soviet Kazakhstan, about 1,800 miles southeast of Moscow.

Crater 65 Feet Wide

Western reporters watched from a distance of about two miles as a single explosion tore apart the four missiles.

The blast dug a crater about 65 feet wide, and spread debris from the missiles over several hundred yards, they said. The explosion sent a huge cloud of smoke into the blue sky over the steppe, the Western reporters said.

Col. Stanislav Petrenko, chief of operations, told reporters that the nuclear warheads mounted on the SS-12s had been removed before the rockets were destroyed and that the charges will be used for peaceful purposes.

Petrenko told Western reporters that an explosion will take place at the Saryozek site every day for the next 18 months. Tass, the official Soviet press agency, said other Soviet missiles banned by the superpower treaty will be destroyed over the next three years.

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The superpowers signed a treaty in December banning their medium- and shorter-range nuclear missiles. It is the first arms agreement between the two nations that calls for the destruction of an entire class of weaponry.

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