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Public Papers - 1990

White House Fact Sheet on the President's Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Initiative


After initial discussions with NATO allies, the President concluded that changes which have taken place in Europe over the last 3 months have made it possible to propose lower levels in the area of greatest concentration of forces: Central and Eastern Europe. However, the United States will maintain significant military forces in Europe as long as our allies desire our presence as part of a common security effort.

Therefore, in his State of the Union Address to Congress on January 31, President Bush proposed to revise NATO's current position in the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) negotiations to lower substantially the levels of U.S. and Soviet ground and air force manpower in Central and Eastern Europe to 195,000 on each side. Forces withdrawn will be demobilized. There would be approximately 225,000 U.S. ground and air force personnel in Europe after CFE reductions are completed. The proposal responds to rapid changes in Eastern Europe and is designed to help propel the CFE negotiations to an early conclusion in 1990.

The President's initiative would supersede an earlier proposal establishing a level of 275,000 each of U.S. and Soviet ground and air force manpower stationed outside of their respective national territories in the Atlantic to the Urals region.

The President has concluded that this proposal reflects the minimum level of U.S. forces needed in Europe to protect American interests and to sustain NATO's strategy of forward defense and flexible response. Even if -- as we expect -- Soviet forces in this region are reduced even further, the United States does not envision the further reduction of its forces in Europe below this new level.

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