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Public Papers - 1990

Remarks on the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Negotiations

1990-10-04

Yesterday in the Rose Garden, we celebrated the dawn of a new era for Germany and welcome the prospect of a Europe whole and free. But despite these dramatic political events, Europe is still the site of the greatest concentration of armed strength in the world. As Europe is transformed politically, we must also redraw the military map of the Continent and lift some of the shadows and fears that we and our allies have lived with for nearly half a century.

Today Secretary Baker will describe our latest efforts to ensure that the political transformation of Europe is matched in the military field in our negotiations to reduce and limit conventional armed forces in Europe, the so-called CFE talks.

Some of you here will remember when, in May of 1989 at the NATO summit, I proposed a series of initiatives to quicken the pace in CFE. I pledged then to devote our full effort to the speedy conclusion of a CFE agreement, a treaty that would decisively improve the balance of military power on the Continent and back our hopes for lasting stability. We followed through on that commitment, and there is still -- let's face it -- more work to do. I want to remind you that CFE is not an accord between the United States and the Soviet Union; it'll be a treaty among 22 states, East and West. All must be satisfied with the treaty's provisions.

We've consulted repeatedly with our allies about our efforts, both before New York and then during the many talks up there. We believe our allies are pleased with the progress being made. Pending further consultation with our NATO partners, we have agreed in principle with the Soviet Union on resolution of all the major remaining issues in CFE and on many of the essential details as well. Along with our allies, we will continue to push to complete this treaty next month so that the way is clear for convening a CSCE summit in Paris.

In conclusion, I want to thank the Secretary of State and the people that have been working with him during these negotiations, and let me just say how pleased I am with the progress that we have achieved here. And I would like to now turn to Secretary Baker who has a statement, and then he'll be glad to take your questions.

Well done.

Note: The President spoke at 2:14 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.

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