95th Congress COMMITTEE PRINT 2d Session I
PROSPECTS FOR THE VIENNA FORCE
PREPARED FOR TIIE
COMMITTEE ONFOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND NATIONAL.
CONGRESSIONAL. RESEARCH. SERVICE
LIBRARY -OF- CONGRESS
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 30-724 WASHINGTON : 1978
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
JOHN SPARKMAN, Alabama, Chairman FRANK CHURCH, Idaho CLIFFORD P. CASE, New Jersey
CLAIBORNE PELL, Rhode Island JACOB K. JAVITS, New York
GEORGE McGOVERN, South Dakota JAMES B. PEARSON, Kansas
DICK CLARK, Iowa CHARLES H. PERCY, Illinois
JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR., Delaware ROBERT P. GRIFFIN, Michigan JOHN GLENN, Ohio HOWARD H. BAKER, JR., Tennessee
RICHARD (DICK) STONE, Florida PAUL S. SARBANES, Maryland MURIEL HUMPHREY, Minnesota NORVILL JONES, Chief of taff ABNER E. KENDRICK, Chief Clerk
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EUROPEAN AFFAIRS
JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR., Chairman CLAIBORNE PELL, Rhode Island- ROBERT P. GRIFFIN, Michigan
JOHN GLENN, Ohio CLIFFORD P. CASE, New Jersey
JOHN B. RITCH
STEPHEN D. BRyEN
Despite their glacial movement, the negotiations underway in Vienna since 1973 on mutual and balanced force reductions (MBFR) continue to offer the possibility of reducing the potential for East-West hostilities in central Europe. Because of the protracted nature of the negotiating process, and the fact that differing perspective on MBFR have emerged in recent years, I recently requested the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress to prepare a fresh evaluation of the Vienna talks. Pursuant to this request, Stanley R. Sloan, a CRS Specialist in European Affairs and formerly a member of the UJ.S. delegation to MBFR, traveled to Europe earlier this year to assess the negotiations. His report, I believe, clearly describes the current status of MNBFR, as well as the diverse factors shaping the positions and negotiating tactics on both sides. Its main message, and my own view, is that the United States should continue to explore patiently through the Vienna forum every avenue that might reduce military tension in Central Europe, but without any sense of urgency that might lead us to accept an unfavorable accord. I am releasing the report so that it might be available to Congress and the administration at a time when the Vienna negotiations may be approaching a crucial turning point.
JOSErHR. BIDEN, Jr.,
Chairman, Sub committee on European Affairs.
This report, prepared at the request of the Subcommittee on European Affairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is based on interviews conducted for the most part in February and Mai-ch of 1978. Discussions have been held with U.S. Government officials in Washington, at NATO headquarters, and in Vienna, at the site of the negotiations. The author consulted British and West German officials in London, Bonn, and in Vienna, where he also met with representatives of the Soviet and Polish delegations to the negotiations. In addition, discussions have been held with a number of American, British, and West German nongovernmental experts on arms control in Central Europe.
This report does not attempt to cover all the, issues encompassed by or related to the force reduction talks. Its main purpose is to discuss the current state of play, particularly in light of the new initiatives tabled by the two sides- in the spring of 1978, and to examine some perspectives on the future of the Vienna negotiations.
Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2013
Foreword ----------------------------------------------------------- III
Preface ------------------------------------------------------------- V
Summary and findings ----------------------------------------------- Ix
Introduction --------------------------------------------------------- 1
Background --------------------------------------------------------- 3
Western and Eastern negotiating positions ------------------------------ 5
A. Setting the ground rules ------------------------- -------------- 5
B. The Western approach and its evolution ------------------------- 6
C. The Eastern approach and its evolution -------------------------- 9
The data discussion: Freeing or freezing the negotiations? -------------- is
Perspectives on the future of the negotiations -------------------------- 17
A. Break off the talks -------------------------------------------- 17
B. Continue the talks along the current path ----------------------- 19
C. Modify the Western proposals ---------------------------------- 20
D. Reformulate Western goals and positions ------------------------ 21
Conclusions ---------------------------------------------------------- 27
Selected chronology of developments related to the Vienna Force
Reduction Talks, June 1967-June 1978 ---------------------------- 29
SUMMARY AND FINDINGS
The Vienna negotiations on the mutual reduction of forces and armaments and associated measures in Central Europe-known in the West as MBFR-appear to have reached an impasse which cannot be broken without a major concession by the Eastern side or further compromises by the West which would be a serious political liability for the Carter administration and potentially divisive within the NATO Alliance.
At the heart of the impasse is a disagreement between the Eastern and Western sides concerning how many forces the Eastern side currently maintains in the reduction area. Western experts still strongly believe that the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies have an additional number of men under arms in the reduction areaa discrepancy of over 150,000-above and beyond what the East has admitted. Thie East does not seem at all inclined to budge from its assertion that no significant numerical disparity exists between Eastern and Western forces in the reduction area.
It would seem risky at best for the Western negotiators in Vienna to move toward an agreement which would either throw Western intelligence estimates seriously into question or would tend to dismiss the existing disagreement over Eastern force levels as inconsequential for Western security. Such an agreement would be divisive within the Alliance and would face an uncertain future in the U.S. Senate.
This does not suggest, however, that the. United States should consider scrapping the entire effort. It seems clear that the Vienna negotiations have intrinsic value as on-going East-West discussions of military security issues', even if an agreement is not at hand. But now, it would appear, a posture of patience would be of benefit to the West. The approach of the Western negotiators in Vienna, therefore, could be one of continued probing and exploration, without any sense of panic or great urgency to conclude an agreement. At this time, it probably would not be judicious either to indicate. discouragement by calling a recess in. the negotiations or to indicate optimism by holding out the prospect of a high-level meeting to propel the talks forward.
It would appear that the time has arrived when the United States and the other NATO allies involved in the Vienna talks could profit from a thorough policy-level review of Western positions and tactics for the negotiations. This review could include examination of the following questions:
To what extent have changed political conditions-in the U.S.
Congress, within the Alliance, and between East and Westaffected the original assumptions and positions of the Western
side in the negotiations?
To what extent have changes in Eastern and Western military
capabilities in Central Europe in the past 5 years and the advent
or potential of new technologies affected the original assumptions
and positions of the, Western side in the negotiations?
What has been learned so far concerning Soviet and East European goals for the negotiations and tactics employed by the Warsaw Pact participants?
Are there other approaches to the Vienna talks which might be
more likely to enhance security in Central Europe; specifically, are there positions that the West could take that might be compatible
with Western security a Jy interests ind still negotiable with the East? How might the Vienna talks relate to the French proposal for a
European disarmament conference "Irom the Atlantic to the
How night the Vienna talks relate to a discussion of "grey,
area l nuclear systems if and when a SALT II accord is ratified?
Undertaking such a reexamination need not imply that the, Vienna negotiations or negotiators have failed; indeed, it remains possible that, given the political willow both sides, agreement could eventually be reached on new definitions of the forces to be reduced that would get around the current impasse.
There is sufficient doubt about the possibilities of such a compromise, however, to suzuest that the United States might seriously examine, whether there are other approaches to pursue. Such a posture need not impede -the efforts already underway within the NATO alliance to rectify through force improvements clear imbalances in the military situation. in Central Europe. Nor would such a reexamination necessarily imply the opening of a new chapter of military build-up in Europe. The current negotiating framework does not inhibit qualitative improvements in the forces of either side, and neither sideseems interested in substantially increasing the forces that it keeps under arms in thepotential reduction area. Thus, an examination of new approaches does not seem likely materially to affect what either side is currently planning to do militarily to enhance its own sense of seelirity pending negotiated arms control agreements that could still emerge from the Vienna talks.
The Vienna talks between NATO and Warsaw Pact countries on mutual force reductions in Central Europe are and always have been a political negotiation about military security issues. The origins of the, negotiations and the initial positions of the two sides reflected the poI itical. factors which were operative at the time.
When the talks began in 1973, both sides presented negotiating proposals designed for political impact rather than for negotiability. The Eastern proposals seemed aimed at strengthening Soviet insistence that the existing military balance was a safe one and that equal percentage reductions would maintain that balance at lower levels of armed forces. The East's proposal for an initial symbolic reduction presumably was aimed at enhancing the Western public's sense of detente, without significantly affecting the Pact's military capabilities. And, of course, the Eastern side believed that its agreement to join in the force reduction talks proposed by the West would grease the skids for its much-desired conference on European security to slide quickly to a conclusion.
The West's position seemed designed to illustrate its perception of the excess of Soviet and East European forces which raised questions about the "peaceful" intentions of the Eastern side. In particular, the West sought to emphasize the offensive orientation of Soviet forces by calling for withdrawal of an entire Soviet tank army-the heart of the Soviet offensive capability in Central Europe. The position was also designed, at least in part, to convince the U.S. Congress that it should not reduce U.S. forces in Europe unilaterally and to forestall further reductions in West European defense efforts.
It seems clear that while the fundamental goals of the, two sides in the negotiations have changed very little in the past five years, the political framework in which they exist and to which they should relate has changed considerably. First, it is an important fact that the mood of the U.S. Congress in 1978, rather than calling for unilateral U.S. troop reductions in Europe, supports improvements in NATO defenses. Second, it is also important that our European allies in 1978 generally share the American appreciation for the necessity of strengthening NATO's defense posture. It can be said that, in general, there is today a much stronger foundation for the maintenance of Western military defense capabilities than there was in 1973; the political will of the Allies has been fortified in particular by the g owing realization of the vast improvements that have been made since, about 1968 in Warsaw Pact offensive capabilities. It could also be added, without resorting to "linkages" or cold war rhetoric, that Western perceptions of Soviet intentions in Central Europe are influenced by Soviet policies elsewhere in the world.
Within this broad framework, this report examines the current :status of the Vienna negotiations. The main questions examined are:
Do the positions defended by the two sides in 1978 offer
prospects for agreement?
Are U.S. interests still served by the negotiations and by the
current Western approach to the talks ?.
What alternatives to the structure and approach of the Vienna
talks have been suggested and how should the United States and
the NATO allies deal with such proposals?
In January 1973, representatives of 12 NATO and seven Waniaw 'Pact states gathered in Vienna, Austria to prepare negotiations on mutual force reductions in Central Europe. Nearly 5 months later, President Nixon and Soviet Partv Secretary Brezhnev were able to announce that formal negotiations" would open that fall. On October 30, the talks 1 officially convened in Vieniia;-they have continued ever since without yielding the basis for a possible agreement.2
The proposal for "mutual and balanced force reductions" had been conceived by the NATO countries in the late 1960's essentially as a diplomatic counter to Soviet proposals for a European security conference. A series of diplomatic linkages were arranged, particularly through U.S.-Soviet bilateral discussions, in which Western willingness to initiate discussions leading to a "security conference" were tied to a new quadripartite agreement on Berlin (between the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union) and simultaneous preparatory discussions on force reductions in Central Europe. A Berlin agreement was reached in June 1972, following West German ratification of normalization treaties with the Soviet Union and Poland. Also in June, President Nixon signed the SALT I accord in Moscow and the NATO foreign ministers, meeting in Bonn, agreed "to enter into multilateral conversations concerned'w'ith a Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe" and "that multilateral exploration on mutua;1 and balanced force reductions should be undertaken as soon as practicable, either before or in parallel with multilateral preparatory talks on a Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe." The iDSCE discussions opened in Helsinki, Finland, in November 1972.
In spite of all the linkages-tacit and otherwise-it was clear that the Western MBFR proposal was set against the general inabil% on the part of theNATO countries to match the conventional force e ort of the Warsaw Pact. Two factors combined to worsen this situation: a weakening of support in the United States for a continued substantial troop presence in Europe; and the growth of detente expectations in Western Europe.
First, the involvement of the United States in Vietnam had created sentiment in the United States which questioned all foreign entanglements. In the late 19601s, Senator Mike Mansfield found increasing support for his perennial proposals to reduce U.S. forces in Europe. Most analysts agree that the administration, sensitive to this mounting congressional pressure and preoccupied by Vietnam, saw the prospect of mutual force reductions as a deterrent to Senate passage of a troop reduction resolution as well as a better way of reducing U.S. forces
I Officially titled negotiations on "Mutual Reduction of Forces and Armaments and Associated Measures in Central Europe" (MURFAAMCE).
2 The historical development of the talks is detailed in a chronology Included as an appendix starting on page 29.
than if they would be reduced unilaterally otherwise. It was, in fact, something of a mystery why the Soviets agreed to the negotiations in the first place. Almost all observers were surprised when in My17 Soviet leader Brezhnev suggested Eastern willingness to discuss troop reductions, challenging the West in a speech in Tiflis to "taste the wine" of mutual reductions.
Benefiting from hindsight, Soviet motivations may not be that dif ficult to interpret. Moscow wanted a security conference for the purposeC of ratifying the status quo in Europe-Soviet leaders wanted such a confernce badly enough to agree to force reduction negotiations. Willingness to talk did not require a commitment to make specific reductions; and the simple existence of the negotiations could serve to augment the aura of detente which had already had a positive effect-according to Russian interests-on West European public opinion. The Soviets also might have foreseen opportunities for meddling in NATO affairs, disrupting the Western -alliance, and possibly winning a formal role in the determination of future West E uropean, and particularly West German, military capabilities. Or, it is possible the Soviet Union may simply have regarded an American withdrawal
-from Europe as potentially destabilizing, particularly to the extent that it would have increased the relative importance of "West German military capabilities.
The second factor, which went hand in hand with the pressure for troop reductions in the United States, was the growing belief in Europe that Soviet intentions were essentially benign; that U.S. involvement in Vietnam was in fact a greater threat to ,world peace than Soviet behavior; and that detente would permit reallocation of limited resources from defense to social programs.
The combination of American weakness and West European perceptions of a reduced Soviet threat-both driven in part by the American involvement in Vietnam-put the Soviet Union in a very strong bargaining position when the, negotiations, for mutual force reductions began.
WESTERN AND EASTERN NEGOTIATING POSITIONS
A. SEMTrIG THE GROUNDRULEis
The force, reduction negotiations ran into trouble right away when the two sides attempted to determine during the spring 1973 preparatory talks whose forces and territory would be includedl in the negrotiations. The central issue was the desire of the 'West (a desire not shared with equal fervor by all the allies) to include Hungarian territory and forces and, most importantly. Soviet forces stationed in Hungrary, in the negotiations. The East objected to such inclusion, and threatenedi to press for the inclusion of Italian territory and forces if the W est persisted. Ultimately, a ",compromise" was reached in which the East essentially got its way, with Hungarian territory and forces excluded from the talks, footnoted by a unilateral claim by the West to the right to raise the question at some point in the future. In addition, the Western side agrreed to leave the word "balanced" out of the formal title of the negotiations. The East objected to the tern, because of its connotation that the Warsaw Pact should make significantly larger reductions than the NATO particip ants.
The outcome of the preliminary round (formally concluded on June 28, 1973) included the following aspects:
1. The negotiations would be formally titled "Mutual Reduction of Forces and Armaments and Associated Measures in Central Europe" (MURFAAMCE) ;
2. The negotiations would open in Vienna on October 30, 1973; 3. The general objective of the negotiations would be "to contribute to a more stable relationship and to the strengthening of peace and security in Europe" and that "specific arrangements will have to be carefully worked out in scope and timing in such a way that they will in all respects and at every point conform to
the principle of undiminished security for each party;"
4. The "potential participants in possible agreements" who
"will take the necessary decisions by consensus" are, on the 'Western side, Belgium, Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, Luxembourg, the -Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States; and, on the Eastern side, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, Poland, and the Soviet Union;
5. Participants with a "special status" will be, on the 'Western
side, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Norway, and Turkey; and, on the
Eastern side, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania; and
6. The "area for reductions" will include, on the 'Vestern side,
the Federal Republic of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg; and, on the Eastern side, the German Democratic
Republic, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.
B. Tmi WESTERN APPRoACh AND ITS EVOLU~TON
The Western approach to the negotiations was based on the premise that the Eastern side enjoyed clear advantages in geography, manpower, and the structure and equipment of its forces over NATO forces and that these disparities were the principal threat to security in Central Europe. The West specified as its goal in the negotiations to seek agreement on approximate parity in the form of a collective common ceiling on the overall -armed manpower of each side in the reduction area.
POTENTIAL AREA FOR REDUCTIONS AND
PARTICIPANTS IN THE VIENNA TALKS
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EUROPE --.. -.
Potential Area For .v
Force Reductions sr
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Biet 354s9 10 ht
Western Participants Eastern Participants
Direct Special Direct Special
Belgium Denmark Czechoslovakia Bulgaria
Canada Greece East Germany Hungary
West Germany Italy Poland Romania
Luxembourg Norway Soviet Union
The Netherlands Turkey United Kingdom United States
On November 22, 1973, the West tabled its formal proposal. The plan called for reductions in two separate phases resulting from two separate rounds of negotiations. In the first phase, the concept of the goal of overall parity as the outcome of the two phases would be agreed in principle. United States and Soviet ground forces would be reduced by 15 percent, which according to NATO calculations would have meant 29,000 U.S. troops and 68,000 Soviet forces. The Soviet share of the reduction, according to the original proposal, would have to be taken in the form of a tank army of 68,000 men and 1,700 tanks.
In the second phase, all the direct participants would reduce forces to reach a common ceiling of approximately 700,000 ground forces in the reduction zone for each side. According to Western calculations, the Warsaw Pact would have been required to reduce an additional 225,000 men while NATO would have been required to reduce another 77,000 men (above and beyond the United States and Soviet reductions taken in the first phase). In addition, other measures would have to be agreed along with reductions, including measures to enhance the possibilities for verifying compliance, safeguards against the withdrawals from Central Europe resulting in build-ups of forces on the flanks, and further measures designed to build mutual confidence in the intentions of the two sides, such as prior notification of troop movements in the reduction area.
As the negotiations have proceeded, the Western side on two occasions has made significant modifications of its proposals. First, on December 16, 1975, the West tabled its so-called Option 111.3 The modifications to the original Western position featured the declared willingness of the United States to withdraw 1,000 of its nuclear warheads along with 54 nuclear-capable F-4 aircraft and 36 Pershing missile launchers. In addition; the West agreed to the inclusion of air force manpower in reductions and suggested that if ground and air manpower were considered together, the common ceiling for the two sides could be 900,000 instead of 700,000, in that Western estimates placed air force manpower of the two sides at approximately 200,000. It should be noted that when Option III was tabled, the West specified that it was a "one-time offer" that, in theory, could be withdrawn should the East not respond with concessions on its side.
Finally, during 1977 the NATO countries formulated another packag( of concessions. This new Western initiative was approved in NATO ini December 11977 but was not tabled until April 19, 1978. It had been held hostage to agreement on an exchange of disaggregated data on Eastern and Western forces, an exchange which occurred in March :11(I April of 1978. The Western initiative, made two important concesSi n)Vs to Warsaw Pact concerns. First, it withdrew the Western requirera"eIt t'Iot the Soviet Union take its first phase reductions in the form 4: tank arv .111d suggested that reductions of the, 68,000 men and 1 ,700 tanks cold be taken where the Soviet Union chose. Second, it 41 dii hat, if other VWestern conditions were fulfilled, the first phase ,'I',1il, t co
4 Atlianti News (Brussels). "NATO Submits New 'MBFR' Initiative to East European C'rontries in Viena." No. 1019, April 19, 1978, pp. 1-2.
C. Tmn EASTERN APPROACH AND ITS EVOLUTION
The apparent initial premise of the Eastern approach to the negotiati'ons was that the "existing correlation of forces" in Central Europe had been successful in preserving peace and security in the area during the post-World War II era. On November 8, 1973, the East tabled a draft agreement consisting of ten articles. Aimed at preserving the existing correlation of forces, it proposed equal percentage reductions of the forces on either side, to consist ultimately of roughly 17 percent of Eastern and Western troops in the reduction area. Thle reductions would take place in three phases. In the first round of cuts, the East subsequently explained, the United States and the Soviet Union would reduce 10,000 troops, West and East Germany would cut 5,000 troops -each, and the other Eastern and Western direct participants would divide up 5,000 in reductions among themselves-for a total reduction in the first phase of 20,000 troops. In the second phase of reductions, another 5 percent reduction would be required, and in the third phase a 10 percent reduction on each side.
The proposal required that both sides reduce entire units and the conventional and nuclear weapons associated with these units; forces from nations outside the reduction zone would withdraw their forces but nations whose territory was included in the zone would disband their forces and remove their equipment from the country's inventories. The proposal importantly specified that countries participating in the reductions would subsequently be required to maintain their national force and equipment levels at or below the post-reduction levels. This provision clearly covered the Soviet desire to see a permanent ceilings placed on West German arm ed forces.
On February 19, 1976, the East modified its initial proposal in response to the West's tabling of "Option III" in December 1975. The modification included what was touted as a major concession to the Western approach: the East agreed to the concept of reductions occurring in two phases with the first phase limited to U.S. and, Soviet reductions. The modification also made specific what weapons systems the East thought should be included in reductions. The proposal did not yie ld, however, on two points that most troubled the Western side. First, it did not include agreement on the ultimate objective of a common ceiling on forces in the reduction area. Second, it still required national sub-ceilings for the direct participants in the negotiations. In addition,' the East still called for the second phase reductions to be negotiated along with the first -phase reductions whereas the Western position called for two negotiating as well as reduction phases.
Also late in 1975 and early in 1976, a subtle but important change apparently was taking place in the Eastern approach to the negotiations. For 2 years, the Eastern argument in support of "the existing correlation of force," their refusal to accept the concept of a common ceiling for the two sides, and their argument that many of their forces performed tasks that were performed by civilians in the West, had seemed clearly to imply that the East recognized that it possessed a numerical superiority in the reduction area which it would not be willing to trade away. Starting late in 1975, however, the East began to suggest that rough parity in fact existed between Eastern and
Western forces -in the reduction zone., This shift4was an'apparent prelude to the East's tabling of its estimate of its ground and air forces in the reduction area-for which the West'had been- pressing. The East claimed that it had a total'of 987,300 troops in the reduction area of which 805,000 were ground forces.
Because these totals came out considerably below NATO estimates of Eastern manpower in the reduction area (see table 1 for summary data comparisons), the West pressed on with the data discussion, insisting that the gross data that had been tabled would have to be disaggregated in order to try to find where the discrepencies occurred. After nearly 2 years of haggling over the form and content of such an exchange, more detailed ("'disaggregated" in the MBFR lexicon) ground force data were tabled by the two sides in March 1978 and, subsequently, data on the respective air forces.
TABLE I.-GROSS DATA COMPARISONS
Western manpower in reduction area Eastern manpower in reduction area Western Eastern Western Eastern
figures' estimate Discrepancy estimate figures Discrepancy
Ground -- ----------- 791,000 --------------------------- 962,000 805,000 157,000
Air-------------------- 193,000-------------------------- 200:000 182,300 17,700
Total------------ 984,000 ------I-------------------- 1, 162,000D 987,300 174,700
IIncludes, French forces stationed in West Germany.
Source for data: See Prendergast, William B. Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction, Issues and Prospects; American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington, D.C., 1978, pp. 34-35.
The exchange of more detailed manpower data (which did not alter the totals presented in table 1 above) opened the way for the next substantive moves in the negotiations. The Eastern response to the 'West's initiative of April 1-9 was swift (which should be no surprise given the history of the negotiations and the fact that the details of the Western initiative had been widely published well in advance of its formal presentationn. On June 8., 1978, the East tabled a new proposal which accepted the West's call fo,'r a common ceiling of 700,000 ground forces and an overall ceiling of 900.000 ground and air forces as the ultimate goal of the negotiations. The new proposal accepted the Western idea of a tradeoff between American tactical nuclear weapons and Soviet tanks, albeit offering only 1,000 tanks versus the 1,700 requested by the West. The East also modified its position on national sub-ceilings, keeping the principle intact but making the terms more lenient. Following an agreement, a NATO or Warsaw Pact member could increase its ground forces by the equivalent of half the unilateral reductions made subsequently by another ally, provided that such increases did not bring the country's ground forces above the pre-agreement level.
The new Eastern proposal created the appearance, of significant movement in the negotiations. It was at least a. successf ul tactical move by the East. Western negotiators had hoped that their tabling of the new Western initiative iii April would leave the West,as one We-stern negotiator described it, "on the high ground" from which to call for significant Soviet conceessions. It now appears that the Soviets can lay equial claim to "the high ground," at least for the purposes of public consumption.
The East has, as a cumulative result of its 1976 and 1978 modifications, moved generally toward acceptance of Western concepts concerning the form and content of an agreement. The significance of these moves should therefore not be dismissed; they. at least indicate a serious intent to negotiate. At the same time, it is possible to see the Eastern moves as actually conceding very little to the West; the acceptance in principle of a common ceiling is of questionable value as long as the East insists that rough parity exists at present. Thus, the future of the negotiations-even in wake of the Soviet modificationsseems to rest on the crucial difference between East and West over how many forces the East has in the reduction area at the present time.
THE DATA DISCUSSION: FREEING OR FREEZING THE NEGOTIATIONS?
Some observers regard the West's success in bringing the Soviet Union and its allies into a discussion of specific data as a major accomplishment to date, in the negotiations. Most observers would agree that the simple fact that the two sides have discussed their respective perceptions of the opposing military forces is a constructive contribution to the East-West dialogue on military security. It is additionally significant that civilian leaders in the Kremlin have managed to convince presumably skeptical military leaders that the Eastern negotiating position is not credible without a foundation in specific data.
Whether the data discussion has moved the negotiations any further toward an agreement is a separate question entirely. As of June 1978, the data discussion appeared in some ways to have locked the two sides more firmly into divergent positions that could be difficult to reconcile. If the data, question cannot be reconciled, it will be impossible to reach an agreement based on the terms currently being discussed in Vienna.
When the negotiations opened in 1973, the Eastern participants were extremely reticent about providing any information concerning their perception of the military balance in Central Europe. The East's initial attitude, as discussed earlier, in fact seemed tacitly to accept Western estimates of a 150,000 manpower advantage for the East.
The, West, nonetheless, decided to press the East for an exchange of data on which an agreement could be based. On June 10, 1976, the East tabled figures claiming that it had 987,300 troops in the reduction area,5 805,000 ground forces, and 182,300 air force manpower. The figures seemed, to many observers, to be designed to prove the East's assertion that "approximate parity" already exists, since the total was but a few thousand above what the West had declared as NATO force totals in the reduction area. Even today, 2 years after these figures were tabled, some Western officials privately describe the Eastern submission as a "barefaced lie."
After the Soviet Union and its allies tabled their force total figures in 1976, the West suggested more detailed data exchanges, hoping to probe for reasons for the discrepancies between Western estimates and Eastern official figures. Finally, after a lengthy period of delay by the East, and a bit of maneuvering by both sides in order to prevent the form of the data exchange from prejudicing other interests, detailed ground force data was exchanged in March 1978. Detailed data on air force manpower was exchanged subsequently.
5 See table 1 on p. 10.
Is In particular, the East sought to avoid explicit or implicit commitments to expand the, data exchange further; the West sought to avoid submitting its data In a form that would imply acceptance of the concept of national subeellings in a subsequent agreement, a concept that the Soviet Union has sought in order to place a specific ceiling on West German forces.
The more detailed data provided by the East did not, as was noted earlier, change their previously tabled totals. The discrepancies between the Eastern data and Western estimates were greatest where the Eastern forces were most numerous (Polish and Soviet forces in the reduction area). The discrepancy between the Eastern disaggregated figures and Western estimates for Czech forces was remarkably small.
The reaction in the West to these figures was mixed. Some observers close to the negotiations thought that the new data left room for further negotiation and exploration with the possibility of narrowing or dismissing as insignificant some of the differences. Other observers, particularly among military and intelligence experts, saw the new data as confirming their belief that the East simply was not telling the truth about its forces, and one analyst observed that the narrowness of the difference over Czech forces supported his feeling that Western estimates of these forces were too low.
It. now would appear that Western negotiators confront a dilemma. The Eastern side has tabled what it claims to be an accurate tally of its forces which would be subject to reduction. It has locked itself into its previously-submitted total in the process of breaking that total out into its national components. It seems highly unlikely that the East, having committed itself to its figures so thoroughly, will be willing to "find" additional troops which they neglected to include in their previous form totals. Therefore, if the West wants to continue to pursue an agreement based on manpower reductions to a common ceiling, it would have either: to dismiss the difference between Eastern official figures of their force strength as inconsequential; or, to admit that Western intelligence estimates were inaccurate.7
In theory, it would be possible to avoid this dilemma if the Soviets would agree to "find" some additional forces which they conceived as not countable originally (due to definitional misunderstandings) and the West, for its part, would agree to admit to some overestimation. It may also be possible that the breakdown of national component figures tallied by the East offers some room for Western flexibility. In particular, that portion of the discrepancy which is to be found with regard to Polish forces.-which are further from the "front" in a potential East-West conflict in Europe and are not as highly considered as Soviet or some other East European troops-could be regarded as providing room for Western flexibility. The discrepancy in this area could be regarded as less significant and therefore easier for the West to disregard than with regard to Soviet, East German, or Czech forces. Or, the West could grant some flexibility on the asumption that many Warsaw Pact troops are in fact performing duties performed by civilians in the west. Potential tradeoffs based on this line of reasoning have in f act already been su ggested in a paper prepared by an American scholar under contract to the State Department following his discussions with United States and other delegations of participants in the Vienna, talks.8
7 For a discussion of this dilemma see Ruehi, Dr. Lothar. "MBFR Talks: Present Situation. Prospects." Europa Archiy, Bonn, July 10, 1977, p.399-408. $This unclassified report, prepared early in 1978 by Prof. Paul B. Zinner, Is entitled "A Report On The Status Of MBFR Negotiations As Observed In Vienna In The FaMl Of 1977," pp. 43-44.
Whether such tradeoffs could be arranged remains to be seen. Important questions persist concerning the negotiability of such data compromises. Do the Soviets want an agreement badly enough to show flexibility in an area where so far they have displayed rigidity? Does the West want an agreement badly enough to finesse a major discrepancy between Western estimates and Eastern official figures?
Further, and perhaps more importantly, would an agreement based ,on such tradeoffs be viable? Would even a tacit admission by the West of inaccuracy in its intelligence estimates cause serious problems within the United States and other Western governments and create opposition to a final accord? Would the U.S. Congress be willing to accept an agreement reached by what could be interpreted as a numnerical sleight of hand?
PERSPECTIVES ON THE FUTURE OF THE NEGOTIATIONS
Ever since the Eastern side tabled its force data in 1976, speculation has increased that, an agreement, based on the terms under discussion in Vienna would not be possible. Because it now appears that the extended data exchange has so far tended to solidify East-West disagreement over data rather than resolve differences, it is essential that the United States and its NATO allies carefully reflect on the current situation and the possible directions for the future of the negotiations.
In one, recent examination of MBFR by a former U.S. defense official, four options for the future Western approach to the Vienna talks were suggested.9 The four general options are: (A) break off the talks; (B) continue essentially along the same path, searching for a way out of the data impasse; (C) modify the Western proposals by adding new incentives or subtracting disagreeable aspects; and (ID) reformciulate Western goals and positions in light of changed circum.stances, with a view toward re-focusing the negotiations. These four options provide a useful framework within which to examine perspectives on the future of the Vienna talks.
A. BREAK OFF THE TALKS
No participant in the Vienna talks on either the Eastern or 'Western side seems prepared even to consider aborting the negotiations. Many officials and experts believe in fact that the negotiations are, in and of themselves, a confidence building measure. Some observers accuse the 'West Germans of preferring continuing negotiations to a negotiated agrreement. The fact that some West German officials may in fact feel this way does not detract from the argument that there is intrinsic value in the process of Eastern and Western negotiators sitting down to discuss military security in Central Europe. In addition, initial fears that the negotiations would cause serious splits in NATO have not materialized, largely because the allies have continued to honor the principles inherent in the "collective common ceiling" concept, and have respected the requirement for careful consultation within the Alliance through the NATO forums in Brussels and the Western "ad hoc group" in Vienna.. Now, continuing the negotiations is not a. difficult problem for the allies, whereas breaking them off could cause serious strains within NATO to say nothing of the blow that would be dealt to East-West relations.
It is also important to note that there is very little reason for the Soviet Union to walk out of the Vienna talks. While in 1973 there might have been justifiable concern on the Western side that the Soviet commitment to remain at the bargaining table was not firm, there is very l ittle cause for fear on this count in 1 978. Soviet withdrawal from
9 Prendergast, op. cit., pp. 63-73.
the negotiations, no matter what the pretext, would do immeasurable damage to Moscow's attempt to project an image of peaceful intentions generally and to seek the other fruits of detente, trade with the United States and Western Europe in particular. Also, Moscow surely recognizes that walking out of the Vienna talks could galvanize the emerging Western consensus on improving NATO's defense capabilities.
The same commitment to the Vienna talks is not necessarily shared by those outside the negotiating framework. In particular, the French skepticism about MBFR has matured into a proposal for a new European disarmament conference. The proposal, which first emerged in the context of the French electoral campaign in 1977, was included in a series of French proposals to the United Nations Special Session on Disarmament in May 1978. Under the French proposal, all the participants in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) would participate in the new forum, which would encompass forces and armaments "from the Atlantic to the Urals."
The NATO allies have taken a wait-and-see attitude toward the French proposal. They recognize that the proposal is potentially dangerous in that it could possibly undermine the already-established MBFR forum. As one West German official commented: "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." One French official, when asked whether Paris hoped to drown MBFR in the pool of their European disarmament conference, provided the French perspective on this question, reportedly replying "It is impossible to drown a corpse."
Most European officials and experts are pleased that the French have shown renewed interest in European arms control, and are particularly pleased that the French have forcefully made the point that European security depends not just on the narrow MBFR reduction area but on what forces are present on Soviet European territory as well. But European and American officials find serious defects in the French proposal. The Vienna talks have been complicated enough with the more limited number of participants involved than would be invited to the French conference; the entire format is seen as unworkable for serious arms control efforts. In addition, the French approach, these officials argue, would have to cope with data problems similar to those which plague the Vienna talks. And, force reductions in the French framework would have to be on a national basis, which would be objectionable to the West Germans; there would be no collective basis available for avoiding specific national sub-ceilings as there is in the blocto-bloc MBFR framework.
The fact that the Western MBFR participants would like to react favorably to the French proposal while not prejudicing the MBFR negotiations has created something of a dilemma. One, suggestion for a Western approach to the proposal, however, seems to have considerable merit. France's NATO allies could propose that the French initiative be put on the agenda of the next follow-up meeting of the CSCE scheduled for Madrid in 1980. Because the participation the French have suoested for their conference matches that for the CSCE, and beea se the CSCE already has dealt at least peripherally with military secui'ityN issues, the Madrid meeting might offer the appropriate format for exlt)lorimg the French proposal, without placing in jeopardy the continuation of the Vinna talks.
B. CONTINUE THlE TALKS ALONG THE CURRENT PATH
iEven though there is an apparent consensus among the participants ithe Vienna talks that the negotiations should continue, there is no consensus regarding how they should be continued. Among some officials closely involved in the negotiating process in Vienna, there is a tendency to argue for continuation of the current approach to the negotiations. These officials believe that the past 5 years have helped clarify many of the issues separating the two sides. They admit that the manpower base of the negotiations has its defects, but argue that other bases for negotiation could be more problematic. They contend that one should no't look lightly on the success that has been realized in initiating the negotiations, in drawing the Eastern side into a discussion of data, and in moving the East somewhat closer to the concepts advocated by the Western side. They feel that tinkering with the basics of the Vinna process could destroy what has been accom-plished already.
The view that agreement can be reached on the terms currently being discussed in Vienna has been reflected in Professor Zinner's paper. Zinner, following a number of visits to Vienna -and discussions with participants, concluded that "workable compromises should not be beyond reach within the context of the negotiations" because, Zinner continues, "MBFR as originally conceptualized is an outstanding example of antagonistic cooperation between East and West, that c'onsists essentially of an exploration of ways to cooperate for the achievement of mutually compatible objectives without giving up the fundamental tenets of rivalry." 10
Zinner goes on to suggest that "There are large numbers of asymmetrical relationships ..within MBFR, which can probably not be eliminated or rectified, but they could be paired off so that they essentially balance each other." 11 He then suggests how some of the balancing could take place:
It is clear that while the sensitivities of the Federal Republic of Germany must be respected, that country, like other participants, will ultimately have to reconcile itself to accepting some infringement of sovereignty by virtue of any meaningful agreement that is likely to be signed... STo foster confidence among the Western powers, the Soviet Union should give tangible. demonstrations of a constructive approach to MBFR. For example, although Western apprehensions about the advantages geography bestows on the Soviet Union may be somewhat exaggerated ... the Soviet Union would do well to acknowledge that these fears are genuine, and to assuage themn it could agree to place some sort of limitation on the deployment of its troops in Western Russia....
With respect to data, the West might consider relenting from its campaign to force the East to make further revealing admissions of its actual troop strength. It is likely that the figure of 805,000 ground troops tabled by the, Warsaw Pact does not really correspond to the actual number of men in uniform in Warsaw Pact military formations in the reduction area. But it may be a reasonably accurate extrapolation based on the deletion from the total of such uniformed personnel as the East believes to be performing duties which are performed by civilians for the military in the West. . The West might discover that reductions to an agreed limit can be carried out even without knowing exactly at what level they started. It is mo .re important to be able reliably to verify that the set limit has been attained and to monitor that it is being honored. The Soviet Union
10 Zinner, op. cit., p. 42.
may not irrevocably oppose verification and inspection procedures affecting Warsaw Pact troops outside the territory of the U.S.S.R. The question is whether the Federal Republic of Germany would object to reciprocal verification and inspection of NATO troops stationed on its territory.
With respect to the modalities of reduction, the outlines of a compromise are already visible. Reduction should proceed in phases, but there should be adequate guarantees against an inordinate delay between phase one and phase two, and ironclad commitments that in phase two all countries will in fact reduce in some proportional manner to their troops in the field. As for residual force levels, the acceptance of the principles of a common ceiling for both sides is absolutely essential. Reductions would not be credible if they did not create verifiable quantitative parity.
The principle of collectivity advocated by the West must also be implemented, for it is sound, quite apart from being solicitous of West German sensitivities. But to make collectivity acceptable to the Warsaw Pact, judicious modifications might be considered. It should be possible, for example, to stipulate that the military forces of neither side should be lopsidedly dominated by a single country. and therefore a subeiling of, say, 45-50 percent of the total agreed-on number of ground forces manpower should be adhered to as the maximum allowable limit on the troops of any member state of an alliance may have in the reduction area. . This should satisfy the legitimate security concerns of the West Germans without alarming the Russians who would have assurances that their worst fears concerning the national force composition of NATO would not come true, and West German forces would be quite contained within the alliance.'
The Eastern side, in its initiative of June 8, 1978, actually moved in directions that would seem to accommodate the approach recommended by Zinner, particularly with regard to the principles of collectivity and common ceilings and partially with regard to national sub-ceilings. But the outstanding question both about Zine' approach and the new Eastern initiative remain's whether the data dispute can be resolved. It is conceivable that the two sides could move toward agreement if both accepted revised definitions of the forces to be reduced, but this would require major Eastern concesions to produce a data outcome that the West could buy.
C. MODIFY THE WESTERN PROPOSALS
The West, in effect, has employed this approach already, most recently by tabling in April 1978 a new initiative which removed the requirement for the Soviet Union to take its first phase reductions in the form of withdrawal of a complete tank army (to which the Russians were highly unlikely to agree, at least in the context in which it was presented) and by adding, as an incentive, that the Western participants were willing in a first phase agreement to make a firm commitment to second phase reductions by all direct participants.
It is conceivable that this approach could be expanded upon without revising the fundamental Western goals in negotiations. Most prominent within this approach to the negotiations is a school of thought which calls for initial "small steps," such as token reductions, as a means of breaking the current logjam.
One strong advocate of this approach has been Mr. Alfons PawelIczyk, Member of the West German Bundestag and Chairman of the Bundestag Disarmament Subcommittee. Pawelczyk, and others who take this approach, accept that there are disturbing trends in the NATO-Warsaw Pact military balance which could eventually accummulate to NATO's disadvantage. But they believe that "when all
"2ZInner, op. cit., pp. 42-45.
factors are accounted for, both sides [currently] possess a b)altmce o)f Options and capabilities, in other words, the situation is stable." 1' Th danger, hie argues, is that if the Vienna negotiations do not prodluce a result, "9an arms race would( ultimately force cou ntries into 1 ncreas-ingly higher and in the long run unbearable expenses for defense purposes. This expenditure would inevitably limit the states performiance in other important fields and recreate a 'Cold War' situation." 14 In sum, Pawelezyk argues that it would be better to start with almost any kind of liniited agreements-without sacrificing basic Western ooals-in order to get the process started.
In a speech delivered before the Soviet Institute for World Economy and International Relations in Moscow on February 27, 19 78, Pawelczyk arued, among other things, that "NATO's renunciation of the neutron weapon with a simultaneous W~arsaw Pact renunciation of this weapon plus some curtailment of its offensive potential could become a negotiation package at the Vienna talks." 15 While supporting the basic Western negotiating position, he argued in this speech for the countries involved to seize on whatever agreements could be reached to begin the force reduction process:
Every possibility must be examined which seems suitable for eliminating instability in the armament situation between the East and the West. That includes a policy of small reduction steps (symbolically) if :
1. A great reduction step cannot be achieved in a first agreement;
2. The arms race-even in some partial fields-can be stopped that way,
3. These steps will be collectively agreed without standing in conflict with
the parity target." "6
This approach appears to be a minority view both in W~est Germany and throughout the rest of the Alliance. It does strike responsive chords elsewhere, particularly among European Socialists and Social Democrats. It is clear, for example, that while British Foreign Secretary David Owen has not been as explicit as Pawelczyk in his advocacy of forward movement he is favorably inclined toward initiatives in this direction. This apparently was indicated once again when British Prime Minister Callaghan at the Washington NATO summit meeting in May 1978 suggested that a meeting of the Vienna talks at the level of foreign ministers might be useful in propellinga the talks forward.
An essential in the Pawelczyk approach is the assumption that agreements can or should be reached in spite of differences over how many forces the Eastern side maintains in the potential reduction area. It must be added that while such an approach might be entirely agreeable in a different East-West political climate, the majority opinion in 1978 would seem to militate against minimizing data differences or taking symbolic first steps.
D. REFORMULATE WESTERN GOALS AND POSITIONS
At what point modification of the current Western positions would constitute a new approach to the negotiations is hard to determine. But the fact is that there are a growing number of experts who believe that
'1 Pawelezyk, Alfons.. Report on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions [to the Military Committee of the North Atlantic Assembly] North Atlantic Assembly U 119 MC (77) 11, September 1977, p. 2.
14 Ibid., p. 2.
15 Pawelczyk, Alfons. Speech as reported by Frankfurter Rundschau, Mar. 25, 1978. 16 Ibid.
such a wholesale reexamination may be warranted. Many experts and officials are questioning the wisdom of portions or all of the Western negotiating proposals to say nothing of the defects of the Eastern proposals. This criticism implies that there may be approaches which better serve U.S. and Western interests than the current Western MBFR proposals.
A West German correspondent has summarized the situation in the following terms:
Criticism from distinguished security policy and strategic research institutes of the MBFR negotiations in Vienna soberly questions what security advantage the West would have if it achieved what it demands from the Soviet Union as the main objective, namely, reduction of the ground forces of both sides to identical maximum personnel strengths between the eastern borders of France and the western borders of the Soviet Union. Parity is unimportant. The Soviet Union would then retain multiple superiority of its divisions in combat tanks and artillery and-vis-a-vis the United States-all advantages of "internal line" for the use of the air force and the transport of reinforcement.117 ISenator Sam Nunn is perhaps the most influential official in the West backing this line of argumentation. Lobbying late in 197-7 against Western submission of NATO's new initiative (subsequently tabled in April 1978), Nunn concluded that "NATO's continued search for an MBFR agreement oriented toward manpower reductions is a search for a meaningless agreement. It is also a search for an inherently unverifiable agreement." Instead, Nunn continued, NATO should reorient its negotiating goals to seek measures that would increase warning time:
This means focusing on obtaining removal of forward-deployed Soviet combat units as units, together with all of their equipment, including artillery and armored personnel carriers-not just tanks. There are undoubtedly other feasible confidence-building measures which would increase warning time, but an important political decision first must be made by NATO to change the focus and direction at MBF.R.
As a practical negotiating proposal, the most important defect of the Nunn approach i-s that the West would not appear willing to accept the same terms that it would require 'of the East (particularly regarding equipment withdrawals) and the East would not be likely to accept an agreement which did not involve general reciprocity.
As the Nunn criticism suggests, another source of interest among Western experts is measures which could build confidence in the intentions of the two sides, particularly those which could make it more difficult to conceal preparations for a surprise attack. Limited confidoee-building measures have been agreed and applied through the CSCE. In the force reduction talks, the West has insisted from the beginning that reductions would have to be accompanied by measures to help verify compliance with any accord and to sustain confidence on either side subsequent to the agreement that its letter and spirit were being carried out.
The Soviet Union has traditionally opposed such measures that might involve on-site inspection, and has essentially refused to discuss such measures in the Vienna talks until reductions are agreed. This issue was confronted even in the preparatory talks when the Soviet Union only reluctantly agreed to include reference to such measures
17 (~I1Ie en er. F'rankfurtor Allgemelne, Nov. 29), 1977.
'~Ntnn, Sam. -'Forep Rteduction Negotiations: A New Focus Needed." The Baltimore Sun, De.19, 1977, p). 15.
as "associated measures" in the official title of the negotiations. The term apparently was regarded as sufficiently ambiguous by Moscow and the adjective '"associated" was intended to denote their dependence on the reduction aspect of the talks.
In spite of acknowledged Soviet resistance to such meiisures, it has been suggested that exploration of this area would be a f ruitf ul avenue for the future of the Vienna talks. As William Prendei-gast, has suggested:
This option, it is true, shifts the talks -away from their original major purpose-force reduction. But there are other ways of approaching the general goal set for the Vienna negotiations, that of increased stability and security in Central Europe. If the danger of surprise attack could be lessened by agreeing on mutual constraints other than force reduction, this agreement could be worth making, if it is possible to do so."'
Prendergast goes on to suggest some directions that this approach might take:
One possible line of negotiation in Vienna is in the direction of strengthening quasi-commitments assumed by both NATO and Warsaw Pact countries under the Helsinki [CSCE) final act. This might include such proposals as extending the obligation to give prior notification of maneuvers so that it will apply to exercises involving fewer than 25,000 men and specifying that each alliance must include the other's military personnel among observers invited to its maneuvers. Possibly major movements of military units to locations within some given area close to the border between East and West could be subject to prior notification. . .1
In addition, measures that have been considered as potentially contributing to a more stable security situation in Central Europe are: mutual aerial inspection; exit and entry point observer posts; limitations on troop rotation procedures; and extensive mutual information requirements.
In fact, even before Senator Nunn's attack on the Western MBFR posture, Congressman Les Aspin had called for a new Western approach to the Vienna talks, focusing on confidence-building measureS.21 Aspin suggested that three measures in particular warranted close examination: first, requiring the presence of international observers at Pact and NATO installations in Central Europe; second, restricting the number of people that could be involved in maneuvers and limiting the frequency of exercises that could be held each year; and third, limiting the number of troops that could be rotated into Europe at any given time and mandating preannouncement of moves into the area. In suggesting that negotiations on such measures become the centerpiece of the Vienna talks, Aspin commented that: These are the types of steps that could increase warning time before an assault. Obviously, some aspects of an agreement would be asymmetrical. For example, our rotation of troops is already piecemeal so we would lose nothing by setting controls on movements. However, there are other things we have-such as tactical nuclear weapons-that could be offered in exchange and that seem quite important to the Soviets.
To be sure, further study will produce other ideas. What is required is a thorough study to determine the key indicators of mobilization, then through the MBFR talks we can seek agreements that will give both sides continuous information on what the other side is doing about those indicators.'
119 Prendergast, op. cit., p. 71.
20 Ibid., P.'72.
21 Aspin, Les. "A Surprise Attack on NATO-Refocusing the Debate." NATO Review, No. 4. Mignst 1977, pp. 6-13.
= Ibid., p. 12.
Another critic has dismissed the current negotiating framework as, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant until the West restructures its forces so that it could negotiate from a position of equivalent strength, if not numbers. In an article included in a print of hearings held by the House Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East, Steven Canby judged that:
Before signing an agreement, NATO must solve its own security problem. MBFR cannot resolve these deficiencies; it is even possible that an incautious agreement might codify these deficiencies to the detriment of Europe's future ...
The problem pure and simple is conceptualization-NATO's tactical doctrine, organization for combat, and deployment are not suitable for armored warfare, or for tactical nuclear warfighting should that eventuality arise. Restructuring NATO's forces in accordance with accepted military theory collapses many of the complications underlying Western MBFR negotiating positions and establishes a new military framework and security perspective.'
Some experts, from the very beginning. have argued that NATO was building itself a position which would lead to an agreement that would not be verifiable by national unilateral means. These experts believe that while it would be possible to verify the withdrawal of specific units-such as a tank army-and the dismantling of facilities, it would be virtually impossible strictly to verify continued compliance with a negotiated common ceiling. The verification issue, which this report does not deal with in any detail, presents serious problems for the West, largely because those aspects of an agreement that could enhance verification of Eastern compliance (such as the removal of entire units and the deactivation of facilities) would be far more disadvantageous to the West if applied to Western as well as Eastern withdrawals.
Another West German analyst, Dr. Lothar Ruehli, has examined in detail what he sees as the defects of the current negotiating framework in a variety of publications. Ruehl believes that Option III is one of the more serious defects of the Western position, particularly because it could result in limitations on U.S. forward based nuclear delivery systems in exchange for Soviet withdrawals of a limited number of tanks while no restrictions would be placed on Soviet medium range nuclear delivery capabilities. Meanwhile, Ruehl points out, the Soviets have been narrowing the advantage once enjoyed by the West in the theater nuclear area at a dramatic rate while the West has not been closing the large gap that favors the East in armored capabilities.
Ruehl, in an article published in 1977,24 suggested that should a treaty appear impossible or inappropriate because of the fundamental differences over Eastern force levels, four options would be possible. First, the two sides could voluntarily limit at current levels the strength of forces on both sides in Central Europe for 3-5 years; such a limitation could also apply to specific weapons, such as tanks. As a second option, the two sides could each reduce forces, without international obligation, on the basis of voluntary but complementary public statements by the two sides. As a third option, the two sides could
2 Canhy, Steven. "MBF'R: A Military Perspective of Tts Underpinnings." Appears in: P.S. Congress. House. Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East of the Committee on International Relations. Western Europe in 1977 : Security, Economic, and Political Issues. Hearings. 95th Cong., 1st sess., Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977, appendix 2, p. 292.
iuehl, op. cit.
accept that irrespective of whether a treaty or mutual reduction without a treaty is forthcoming, the negotiations would continue as a moreor-less permanent forum on military security in Central Europe. Or fourthly, the Vienna talks could be adjourned for a period of at least one year with a specific time set for reconvening. he inter evening t iII le would be used for reflection on the lessons of the Vienna talks and preparation of new initiatives.
Ruehl warns, however, that in all but the third option there are calculated risks involved. It must be admitted, by all those who are dissatisfied with the current negotiations and the W\estern po-i ( ions in the talks, that there are considerable problems associated with changing the focus of the negotiations. As Guenter Gillessen has described them:
Changing the Vienna concept would demand great internal negotiations of the alliance, first between the foreign and defense ministries of every Western capital and then, after a vote in the alliance, the achievement of at least grudging agreement of the French ally, as before. All this would be more complicated than it sounds. Also it must be taken into consideration the doubts that would be cast over the seriousness of the West's preparedness to negotiate in Vienna if NATO decided to change course in midstream.'
Nonetheless, if the current negotiations have in fact reached a dead end, the NATO governments might be well-advised to consider seriously where to go from here. And, if the prospect of stabilizing the security situation in Central Europe remains a desirable goal, then a new approach to the Vienna talks might be found to be in the best interest of all concerned.
2 Gillessen, op. cit.
There are, unfortunately, very good reasons for both sides inl tile force reduction negotiations not to agree to the essentials of the 1)ositions advocated by the other. Why should the Soviet Union and iPs allies agree, as the Western demand for an agreement based on We-tern data would require, to give uip an advantage in military strength that they have acquired through the expenditure of precious resolinFes and the fact of which apparently Iy makes them feel more secure? Why should the Soviet Union, facing a period of leadership transition and still worried about potential instability in Eastern Europe, agree to large reductions in its force posture in Eastern Europe if such reduictions might be the wrong "signal" to dissidents in the Soviet~ Union and in Eastern Europe? Why should the leaders of some East Euiropean regimes which lean heavily on the Soviet presence for their legitimacy want to weaken the nature of that support?
And, why should the West want to accept reduction formulas based on Eastern calculations which would, in fact, codify the existing imbalance in opposing manpower in the reduction area? Why should the West agree to reduce its forces unless the East would accept provisions (beyond national means of verification) for ensuring compliance and limiting the ability of either side to mount a surprise attack? WVhy should the West agree to explicit national subceilings on forces, which would achieve the Soviet aim of constraining West German military potential but would also severely restrict the flexibility of W1 estern defense and give the Soviets a particular "clroit de regard" in West European defense arrangements?
These conflicting interests help explain why the Vienna negotiations in mid-1978 appear to have reached an impasse based on data disagreements that may not be possible to resolve without concessions that. neither East nor West seem willing or able to make in the near future.
This report concludes that it would be risky at best for the WVestern negotiators to move toward an agreement which would either throw Wstern intelligence estimates seriously into question or would tend to dismiss the existing disagreement over Eastern force levels as inconsequential. Such an agreement would be divisive within the Alliancp, and would face an uncertain future in the United States Senate.
This does not suggest, however, that the United States should coilsider scrapping the entire effort. It seems clear that the Vienna, negotiations have intrinsic value as on-going East-West discussions of military security issues, even if an agreement is not at hand. But, now. it would appear, a posture of patience would be of benefit to the West. The approach of the Western negotiators. in Vienna, therefore, could be one of continued probing and exploration, without any sense of panic or great urgency to conclude an agreement. At this time, it probably would not be judicious either to indicate discouragement. by calling a recess in the negotiations or to indicate optimism by holding out the prospect of a high-level meeting to propel the talks forward.
It would appear, nonetheless, that the time, has arrived when the United States and the other NATO allies involved in the Vienna talks could profit from a thorough policy-level review of Western positions and tactics for the negotiations. This review could include examination of the following questions:
To what extent have changed political conditions-in the U.S.
Congress, within the Alliance, and between East and Westaffected the original assumptions and positions of the Western
side in the negotiations?
To what extent have chancres in Eastern and Western military
capabilities in Central Eurqp '3e, in the past 5 years and the advent or potential of new technologies affected the original assumptions
and positions of the Western side in the negotiations?
What has been learned so far concerning Soviet and East
European goals for the negotiations and tactics employed by the
Warsaw Pact participants?
Are there other approaches to the Vienna talks which i lit be
more likely to enhance security in Central Europe; especially, are there positions that the West could take that might be compatible with Western security interests and still negotiable with
How might the Vienna talks relate to the French proposal for an
European disarmament conference "from the Atlantic to the
How might the Vienna talks relate to a discussion of "O""ey really
nuclear systems if and when a SALT II accord is railed?
Undertaking, such a reexamination need not imply that the Vienna negotiations or negotiators have failed; indeed, it remains possible that, given the political will on both sides, agreement could eventually be reached on new definitions of the forces to be reduced that would get around the current impasse.
There is sufficient doubt about the possibilities of such a compromise, however, to suggest that the United States might seriously examine whether there are other approaches to pursue. Such a posture need not impede the efforts already underway in the NATO alliance to rectify through force improvements clear i M*balances in the military situation in Central Europe. Nor would such a reexamination necessarily imply the opening of a new chapter of military build-up in Europe. The current negotiating framework does not inhibit qualitative improvements in the. forces of either side, and neither side seems interested in substantially increasing the forces that it keeps under arms in the potential reduction area. Thus, an examination of new approaches does not seem likely materially to affect what either side is planning to do militarily to enhance its own sense of security pending negotiated arms control agreements that could still emerge from the fienna talks.
SELECTED CHRONOLOGY or DEVELOPMENT& RELATED TO THE VIENNA FORCE REDUCTION TALKS JUNE 1967-JUNE 1978
June 14: The North Atlantic Council, meeting in Ministerial Session in Luxembourg, included in the final communique an expression of interest in mutual force reductions. This first tentative indication of interest by NATO in mutual force reductions was expressed in the following terms: "If conditions permit, a balanced reduction of forces by the East and West could be a significant step toward security in Europe. A contribution on the part of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries towards a reduction of forces would be welcomed as a gesture of peaceful intent."
December 14: The North Atlantic Council Ministerial Meeting In Brussels adopted the Harmel Report on the Future Tasks of the Alliance. The report asserted that the NATO countries would seek detente in parallel with maintainIng defense. The NATO foreign ministers agreed to study various arms control measures, including possible balanced force reductions.
June 25: Meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, the North Atlantic Council Ministerial Session issued as an annex to its communique a Declaration on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions. The so-called "'Reykjavik signal" announced that the "Ministers agreed that it was desirable that a process leading to mutual force reductions should be initiated. To that end they decided to make all necessary preparations for discussions on this subject with the Soviet Union and other countries of Eastern Europe and they call on them to join in this search for progress towards peace." With the exception of the December 1968 Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council (following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August), subsequent NAC spring and fall ministerial repeated the Reykjavik signal.
April 16: U.S.-Soviet negotiations on strategic arms limitations (SALT) opened in Vienna, Austria.
May 27: The North Atlantic Council, during its spring Ministerial Meeting in Rome, issued a Declaration on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions and requested Italy to transmit it to all interested governments. The declaration included four principles for MBFR negotiations: first, reductions should be compatible with NATO',% vital security interests and should not operate to the military disadvantage of either East or West, taking into account geographical and other dlsparlties ; second, reductions should be reciprocal, and phased and balanced in scope and timing; third, reductions should Include stationed and 'Indigenous forces and their weapons systems in the area; and fourth, there must be adequate verification and controls to ensure observance of agreements.
June 22: The Warsaw Pact Political Consultative Committee, meeting in Budapest, Hinigary, issued the East's first formal reply to NATO's MBFR Initiatives. The Pact's communique stated that the reduction of foreign troops in Europe might be discussed in a special organ to be created by a Euronean Security Conference.
August 12: The Federal Republic of Germany and the Soviet Union signed a Non-aggression, Treaty in Moscow.
December 4: The NATO Ministerial Session concluded, welcoming President Nixon's pledge that, given similar approaches by other Allies, the United States would maintain and improve its forces in Europe and not reduce them except in the context of reciprocal East-West reductions.
December 7: The Federal Republic of Germany and Poland signed a Treaty on Normalization of Relations in Warsaw.
March 30: Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev, at the 24th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, stated that he favored dismantling foreign military bases and reducing armed forces and armaments in Central Europe.
May 14: General Secretary Brezhnev, speaking in Tiflis, called on the Western powers to "taste the wine" and begin exploratory negotiations on the reduction of military forces and armaments in Europe.
June 4: The North Atlantic Council Ministerial Meeting took note of Soviet expressions of interest in mutual force reductions and called for intensified bilateral contacts between NATO and Warsaw Pact members to prepare the way for negotiations.
September 3: The first stage of the Four Power Agreement on Berlin was signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union.
September 18: West German Chancellor Brandt and Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev, in a joint communique issued in Moscow, announced that they had exchanged views on the reduction of armed forces and armaments in Europe without detriment to the participating states.
September 25: Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev and President Tito of Yugoslavia, in a joint communique issued in Belgrade, expressed the view that the time for reducing arms and armaments in Europe had become ripe.
October 6: A special NATO Council meeting with the participation of Deputy Foreign Ministers in Brussels designated Manlio, Brosio, former NATO Secretary General, to begin exploratory talks with the Soviet Union and other interested governments. (Brosio, was never invited to Moscow to permit "exploration.9")
December 8: Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev in a speech in Warsaw expressed the view that a solution of urgent all-European problems, including a cut in armed forces and armaments, would correspond to the interests Iof all mankind.
December 10: The North Atlantic Council Ministerial Meeting reaffirmed Western readiness to begin multilateral exploration of European security and cooperation as soon as Berlin negotiations were successfully concluded.
January 26: The Warsaw Pact countries, meeting in Prague, expressed the view that achieving agreement on reducing armed forces and armaments In Europe would also correspond with the interest in strengthening European security.
May 26: The United States and the Soviet Union signed an interim agreement in Moscow on strategic arms limitations.
May 29: In Moscow, President Nixon and General Secretary Brezhnev endorsed the goal of ensuring stability and security in Europe through a reciprocal reduction of armed forces without diminishing the security of any participant in reductions.
May 31: The North Atlantic Council Ministerial, at the conclusion of Its meeting in Bonn, agreed to join in multilateral preparatory talks for a Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). A11 but France (which had abstained from NATO MBFR initiatives from the outset) proposed multilateral explorations on mutual and balanced force reductions.
June 3: A Four-Power Agreement on Berlin was signed by the Foreign Ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Uniion.
September 21: It was reported that the Soviet Union, during a visit to Moscow by Henry Kissinger, had accepted in principle the Western position that an East-West conference on the reduction of military forces In Central Europe should be convened separately from the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
November 21: SALT II negotiations opened in Geneva.
November 22: Multilateral preparatory talks on a CSCE opened In Helsinki, Finland.
January 31:o Representatives of 12 NATO and seven Warsaw Pact countries met in Vienna to initiate exploratory talks on mutual force reductions. June 14: President Nixon and General Secretary Brezhnev announced in a joint communique that "the negotiations on mutual reduction of forces and armaments and associated measures in Central Europe" would beg-in on October 30, 1973.
June 15: The North Atlantic Council Ministerial Meeting In Copenhagen announced WNestern willingness to enter into a first round of CSCE negotiations in Helsinki on July 3, 1973.
June 28: The Vienna preparatory talks concluded, formalizing agreement of the participants to convene force reduction negotiations on October 30, 1K73.
October 30: Substantive force reduction talks opened in Vienna. The Senate confirmed the nomination of Stanley R. iResor, former Secretary of the Army, as U.S. Representative for Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction Negotiations.
November S: The Eastern side tabled a draft agreement in Vienna proposing equal percentage reductions of the forces on either side to consist ultimately of approximately 17 percent of Eastern and Western troops and associated equipment in the reduction area.
November 22: The Western side tabled its formal reduction proposal, calling for two phases of negotiations and reductions, beginning with agreement on U.S. and Soviet troop cuts with the ultimate objective of attaining a common ceiling in the reduction area for Eastern and Western groundforce manpower; according to Western estimates, such a plan would require significantly larger Soviet and East European than U.S. and West European reductions.
January 17: The Vienna negotiations reconvened following a recess for the holiday season, entering a lengthy period during, which virtually no movement was recorded in the negotiations.
November 24: President Ford and General Secretary Brezhnev, meeting in Vladivostok, reached agreement on limitation of United States and Soviet strategic nuclear arms.,
December 10: Secretary of Defense Schlesinger, arriving in Brussels for a meeting of NATO defense ministers, stated that the So viets had, at Vladivostok, abandoned, the position that so-called forward based systems-nuclear-capable U.S. strike forces in Europe-should be included in SALT.
December 11: Secretary Schlesinger stated that NATO Defense Ministers had done no more than agree to explore the proposal made by Dutch Defense Minister Vredeling that nuclear weapons be included as bargaining counters in the Vienna talks.
July 31: Addressing the summit finale of the OSCE in Helsinki, Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev stated that the next principal aim of American and European leaders must be to reduce armed forces in Central Europe.
August 1: The CSCE Final Act was signed in Helsinki.
September 27: Reports indicated that the NATO Allies had agreed in principle to a U.S. proposal that the West offer, in the Vienna negotiations, to cut back the number of American tactical nuclear weapons in Western Europe. ,December 12: The North Atlantic Council Ministerial Session approved the tabling of additional proposals in Vienna.
December 16: The NATO Allies formally tabled in Vienna their so-called "Option III" package of nuclear sweeteners for the Western negotiating position in the force reduction talks. The proposals featured the declared willingness of the United States to withdraw 1,000 of its nuclear warheads along with 54 nuclear-capable F-A aircraft and 36 Pershing missile launchers. In addition, the West agreed to the inclusion of air force manpower in reductions and suggested that if ground and air manpower were considered together, the common ceiling for the two sides could be 900,000. The West specified that this was a"one-time offer" that could be withdrawn should the East not respond with concessions on its side.
February 19: The East modified its initial proposal in response to the West's tabling of "Option III." The modification included Eastern agreement to the concept of reductions occurring in two phases with the first phase limited to U.S. and Soviet reductions. The proposal did not yield, however, on the West's objective of attaining a common ceiling without national subeeilings. In addition, the East still called for the second phase reductions to be negotiated along with the first phase reductions, whereas the Western position called for two negotiating as well as reduction phases.
April 8: The eighth round of Vienna talks ended with each side blaming the other for lack of progress. The NATO spokesman said that the Warsaw Pact nations were "hampering progress" by refusing to divulge information on their forces in the reduction area. The Pact spokesman urged NATO to "renounce attempts to obtain, by means of our negotiation, unilateral military advantages."
June 10: The East tabled figures in Vienna claiming that it had 987,300 troops in the reduction area, of which 805,000 were gro-ind forces. The totals fell well below Western estimates of Eastern forces in the area.
December 10: The North Atlantic Council Ministerial Meeting in Brussels rejected proposals from the Warsaw Pact countries for a mutual renunciation of the first use of nuclear weapons. The NATO ministers also rejected a Pact proposal for freezing current membership in the two alliances.
December 16: In Vienna, NATO and Warsaw Pact negotiators recessed their talks with spokesmen admitting that during the three years of talks the two sides had increased, rather than reduced, force levels in Central Europe.
July 14: West German Chancellor Schmidt and President Carter reportedly agreed to formulate a new initiative for the Western position in the Vienna talks.
October 10: During a closed meeting of the Belgrade CSCE Follow-Up Conference, the Soviet delegate reportedly reproached the West for not taking up Soviet proposals in the Vienna negotiations.
December 9: The North Atlantic Council Ministerial Meeting approved a new Western initiative for the Vienna negotiations but deferred tabling the initiative until a more detailed exchange of data on manpower levels in the reduction area could be agreed with the East.
December 15: Nikolai N. Tarasov, Soviet delegate to the Vienna talks, said that any trade-off between European troop reductions and the deployment of new American weapons such as the cruise missile and neutron warheads could create "insurmountable obstacles" to the success of the Vienna negotiations. NATO sources noted that the Western side had introduced no such trade-off possibilities into the negotiations.
January 25: In Paris, the French Government made public a package of disarmament proposals. The package included the convening of a "European disarmament conference, whose competence would extend from the Atlantic to the Urals." The French statement judged that "action should not be restricted to the central part of Europe, but should cover all the existing potentialities" and "must give priority to promoting confidence and to reducing the most destabilizing elements of the present situation. It is natural to associate with such an action all the States which, in signing the Helsinki Final Act, showed their desire to contribute towards security and cooperation in Europe."
February 23: Dutch Defense Minister Kruisinga told the Dutch Parliament that the neutron warhead should be discussed in the Vienna talks.
March 16: The two sides in the Vienna talks exchanged more detailed data on their groundforee manpower in the reduction area. Data on air force manpower was exchanged subsequently. The exchange of data did not narrow the overall difference between Western eStiDlates and Eastern calculations regarding Eastern rnanl)ower in the reduction area.
April 19: The Western participants In the Vienna talks tabled a new initiative. The initiative inade two iniportlint concessions to Warsaw Ilact concerns. First, it withdrew the Western requirement that the Soviet Union take its first phase reducLiops In the form of a tank army and suggested that reductions of the 68,000 men and 1,700 tanks could be taken where the Soviet Union chose. Second, it said that, if other Western conditions were fulfilled, the first phase agreement on U.S.
and Soviet reductions could include a firm pledge by the other Western direct participants to make reductions in a second phase.
May 24: In an address before the United Nations General Assemidy Special Session on Disarmament, French President A'alery Giscard d'Estaing formally proposed that a European disarmament conference be convened, with the signators of the Final Act of the CSCE participating in discussions to lead to a force reductions "from the Atlantic to the Urals."
June 8: In Vienna, the Eastern participants in the negotiations tabled a new proposal in response to the Western initiative of April 19. The new Eastern proposal accepted the ultimate objective of reaching a common ceiling of approximately 700,000 ground force manpower and 200,000 air force manpower on either side. To do so, however, the East said that it would be required to cut only 105,WO men and the West 91,000 men. The Eastern proposal accepted some of the terms of the West's "Option III" but indicated willingness to withdraw only 1,000 tanks in the bargain, rather than the 1,700 that the Western proposal had suggested. The East also modified its position on national sub-ceilings, keeping the principle intact but making the terms more lenient. Following an agreement, a NATO or Warsaw Pact member could increase its ground forces by the equivalent of half the unilateral reductions made subsequently by another ally, provided that such increases did not bring the country's ground forces above the preagreement level.
June 16: It was reported that Ambassador Stanley B. Resor, head of the U.S. delegation to the Vienna talks, would be appointed undersecretary of defense for policy.
June 25: In a major speech in Minsk, Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev scored the Western powers for fueling the arms race in unison with "the Peking rulers." Brezhnev described the East's latest initiative in Vienna as "a new important step in order to get at last the Vienna talks out of the deadlock." Brezhnev stated that "The Socialist countries suggest a reasonable, realistic compromise" which 'twent further than . half of the way. We say to the NATO countries: Let us get down to business at last. No doubt, we already have a basis for agreement. Now everything depends on the West's political will."
June 26: President Carter, responding to a question about the status of the Vienna talks, commented that "The prospects now are much better than they were a month ago. We, along with our NATO allies, have been pursuing what we ,call a mutual and balanced force reduction in the European theater for a number of years in the talks at Vienna. And the Soviets this past two weeks . replied in a very affirmative way." The President noted that the two sides still differed over the number of Eastern forces in the reduction area and said "We are negotiating now with the Soviets to see where this disparity lies and what we want is to have a balanced reduction so that at the end of this reduction the two forces will be roughly equivalent to each other and that they will be at a lower level than before." The President then characterized the new Eastern initiative as "a step in the right direction" which the United States would pursue.
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