President Reagan, in an upbeat assessment Friday of his foreign policy record, criticized the Soviet Union for its “continuing failure” to comply with arms agreements.
Addressing the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, Reagan said the Soviet radar facility near Krasnoyarsk in Siberia is a “significant violation of a central element of the (1972) Anti-Ballistic Missile agreement.”
Reagan said the dispute over the facility blocks any new agreements between the United States and the Soviet Union.
“Nothing is more damaging to the integrity of the arms control process than for one side to be able to choose which parts of a solemn agreement it will fulfill,” he said.
On Thursday, the Soviet government announced that it plans to turn the Krasnoyarsk facility over to the Soviet Academy of Sciences to be run by civilians as an international space research center.
Reagan said: “We are certainly listening to what they have to say. But our legitimate concerns must be met.”
His Administration has taken the position that the Krasnoyarsk facility can be used for battle management and that this makes it a violation of the terms of the ABM treaty, which limits defenses against ballistic missiles. The Administration insists that it be destroyed, and White House officials stood by that position Friday.
“We continue to believe the only way to comply with the treaty is to dismantle the Krasnoyarsk radar,” White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said.
Despite Reagan’s remarks about the radar complex, he seemed pleased at what he called a steadily increasing “questioning in the Soviet Union” centering on state control of industry, human rights “and even the ideology of world domination.”
He said in a question-and-answer session that it “would be a great setback” to the Soviet reform effort “if anything happened to prevent (President Mikhail S. Gorbachev) from continuing the program.”
“Pressures of change” are rising in Eastern Europe, he said, and he mentioned what he called a resurgence of the free-labor movement in Poland and “bold steps” toward economic reform in Hungary.
“And if there are any who doubt the immensity of the change that has come upon us in eight years,” he said, “perhaps they should seek out ethnic Americans and ask their opinion.”
He said his Administraion has promoted a “vigorous renewal of America’s advocacy of freedom.”
Reagan recalled the efforts of Winston Churchill and Harry S Truman “to meet the Soviet threat to world freedom,” and added, “Indeed, at the very moment when Europe seemed most vulnerable, the Truman Administration, working with a Republican Congress, produced the framework of strategic survival: the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan and NATO.”
He said his successor will have “critical foreign policy goals,” and he expressed support for the Contras in Nicaragua, the space-based anti-missile system known as “Star Wars,” strong defense and continued efforts to negotiate arms agreements with the Soviets.
Reagan expressed concern about the “scourge” of chemical warfare and said he hopes that an international conference scheduled for Jan. 7-11 in Paris will “put an end to this horror.”
In the question-and-answer session, he voiced strong support for Israel.