10. Februar 1990
"Baker: US, Soviets 'Have Made Substantial Progress." Press conference in Moscow.
Quelle: Public Diplomacy Query TL128151

Title: "Baker: US, Soviets 'Have Made Substantial Progress." Press conference in Moscow. (900210)
Date: 19900210
29 UNCLASSIFIED N/A 02/10/90
*WF-U18 02/10/90
BAKER: U.S., SOVIETS "HAVE MADE SUBSTANTIAL PROGRESS" (Transcript: Baker's 2/9 press conference in Moscow)
Washington -- Secretary of State James A. Baker says the United States and the Soviet Union "have made substantial progress. . .across the full range of our agenda" during two days of discussions in Moscow.
Baker was in the Soviet capital for meetings and negotiations with President Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Shevardnadze.
During a late evening press conference February 9 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Center, Baker said the U.S.-Soviet relationship is now in better shape and "we're moving from competition to dialogue and, hopefully, to cooperation."
On START (Strategic Arms Talks) negotiations, the secretary said, the two powers had "settled in principle"
GE 3 UNCLASSIFIED the issue of non-deployed missiles and telemetry encryption and had made "considerably more progress" than anticipated on the question of sea-launched cruise missiles.
Baker also reported he had "covered the full range of economic issues" with both Gorbachev and Shevardnadze, adding, "we have made a lot of forward motion" on a commercial agreement, a bilateral investment treaty, a tax treaty and technical economic cooperation, among others.
"On regional issues," he said, "we've discussed a wide array" of matters, including Afghanistan, Central America, Angola and the Middle East.
Regarding the Middle East, Baker said, "we agreed with the Soviets that we should continue our efforts to achieve a dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians," because, without a dialogue, "we will never achieve peace."
Following is an "uncleared verbatim transcript" of the press conference, provided to State Department:
(Begin transcript)
Secretary Baker: I have a brief statement and then I will be happy to respond to your questions. First, let me say that we have come to Moscow at a time of fundamental change. As you all know, I have had extensive discussions today with both President Gorbachev and Minister Shevardnadze. We discussed their plans to accelerate Perestroika and the problems that they are determined to overcome in order to make reform work. My appearance tomorrow before the Supreme Soviet, I think, is another indication of change, as is the new Soviet openness to ideas and information.
Change continues also in United States-Soviet relations, change for the better, I think, as we develop a stronger basis for cooperation. Much like in Wyoming and Malta, we have made substantial progress at this ministerial across the full range of our agenda.
On arms control, we and the Soviets will make a joint announcement on chemical weapons that embraces all of the elements of the President's initiative. A bilateral agreement to destroy substantial stocks of our chemical
GE 5 UNCLASSIFIED weapons, a commitment once a multilateral convention is entered into to move to destroy all but a tiny fraction of our chemical weapons stock by the eighth year, and a willingness to destroy all of these stocks by year ten once all chemical weapons-capable states have joined the convention. I think that this is an important step forward that demonstrates our mutual determination to act and not just to talk about chemical proliferation.
On CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe), we have moved closer to each other on the manpower issue. On START (Strategic Arms Talks), I think we've stayed on track for the goal that was set in Malta to agree in principle on the major elements of a treaty by the time of the June summit. We have settled, in principle, the issue of non-deployed missiles and telemetry encryption. On ALCM's (air-launched Cruise Missiles), we've agreed on all the differences that we had coming in here, except for one, and that's range. As you arms controllers out there in the audience will know, there are three major issues with respect to ALCM's, counting rule, distinguishability, and range. The major
GE 6 UNCLASSIFIED issues of long standing in this area have been resolved, but there is one issue that remains for resolution. On the question of sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCM's), we've made, I think, considerably more progress than any of us anticipated before this ministerial started. I would characterize it at the very least as very significant movement. We have moved toward a declaratory approach for SLCM's outside of START. There are only two issues that remain here and we have referred these to our negotiators in Geneva.
With respect to a CSCE (Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe) summit, we share the view that a summit would be an important development in Europe and we generally agree on the purpose of this session within the Helsinki process.
On regional issues, we've discussed a very wide array of issues, Afghanistan, Central America, Middle East, Angola, Cambodia, Northern Territories, Korean Peninsula, and even some others. We've spent most of our time at this ministerial on -- during the ministerial portion of this
GE 7 UNCLASSIFIED visit -- we spent most of our time on arms control and regional issues, although we did, as we always do, address issues involving human rights, bilateral relations and trans-national problems. I'd be delighted to respond to your questions.
Q: (Inaudible).
A. Let me see if I can repeat the question so that I can start answering it. The question -- has there -- is a report from somewhere that the delay in ...
Audience: From Tass.
A. ... From Tass. Tass reported that the delay this evening was occasioned by the fact that President Gorbachev made a manpower proposal to us today and is that correct and would you expand on that a little bit? The answer is that that is not correct. The delay is due to the fact that almost all of the meetings that we had, including the meeting that I had with President Gorbachev ran over considerably. I think we spent almost four hours, either in a one-on-two or in a larger group with President Gorbachev. The ministerial meetings, particularly those on
GE 8 UNCLASSIFIED arms control ran over the time that was allotted because we had a lot of very important work to do. And we've worked up until just about 15 minutes ago. It had nothing at all to do with the proposal.
Q: Can we leave delay out of it? Mr. Secretary, may we leave delay out of it? (Chorus calls of "Microphone, Microphone").
A: Let me tell you what was mentioned to us. I have checked with the press spokesman here and he has said, "Yes, I suppose you should go ahead and tell them." So, let me tell you exactly what President Gorbachev suggested and that's the reason I say in my remarks that I think we are moving closer on manpower. The Soviets have indicated that they would agree to either 195,000 or 225,000 for Europe as a whole. They do not want to deal with the Central Zone as such. There would be no overall pact-to- pact manpower ceiling. Now your next question would be what is our reaction to that? And let me give it to you, so you won't have to ask it. We indicated that that was a very interesting proposal. We noted, with a great deal of
GE 9 UNCLASSIFIED interest, that it was very, very close to the president's proposal. In fact, when it was made to us, the Soviet side indicated it was very close to the president's proposal. I intend to consult with our allies about it. After all, CFE is a multilateral negotiation, not a bilateral negotiation. I will be seeing the foreign ministers of our allies in about 48 hours and we will be consulting with them with respect to this proposal.
Q: Allies aside, as the Secretary of State speaking for the United States, can the United States comfortably do without those 30,000 extra troops that President Bush's proposal would allow the U.S. to retain in England, and in Spain, in Italy, in Greece and Turkey?
A: Well, interestingly enough, the proposal was stated in the alternative. Either 195 or 225 and I have just indicated to you I am not going to give you a bottom line on that until I've had a chance to consult with our allies, which is what we ought to do.
Q: I just want to find out, in principle, whether you believe that it's more right for each side to have the same
GE 10 UNCLASSIFIED number, or is the United States or NATO committed to the idea of asymmetry, as the Soviets do, that is 225 for all of Europe plus 195 (inaudible) ... what about the question of ...?
(Call for microphone)
A: The question is what about the question of symmetry? Let me simply say that the United States is obviously not wedded to the concept of linkage.
In fact, we felt that there are some very good reasons why there should not be linkage, but I'm not going to get further into what our reaction would be to that manpower proposal until I've had a chance to consult with our allies.
Q: Mr. Secretary, on the chemical agreement, could you go into a little more detail? The Soviets accepted our proposal that we each go down bilaterally to 80 percent of current U.S. levels. Is that the figure we're dealing with?
A: Well, I don't want to put specific figures on it. We will have a written agreement for you, a joint
GE 11 UNCLASSIFIED statement, and I'd rather let it speak for itself and I think that's almost ready. Is that not finished, Bob? It's very close. I think we might have that later this evening. Now, let me say one other thing. There will be a joint statement with respect to the entire ministerial and all the elements of it, but that probably will not be available until tomorrow, because I came straight over here as soon as we concluded.
Q: I just want to clarify the portion that ... is it ten years after a worldwide or multilateral agreement on chemicals, then we will destroy all stocks? Or is it as soon as there is a multilateral agreement, we'll destroy all stocks?
A: We will destroy these stocks by year 10, once all chemical weapons-capable states have joined the convention. That language is the language of the president's proposal.
Q: Mr. Secretary, can you tell us whether you discussed the external security situation of a unified German state with either General Secretary Gorbachev or Minister Shevardnadze, and if so, can you fill us in a bit
GE 12 UNCLASSIFIED on the discussion -- the feelings of the two sides on how that might do?
A: Well, let me simply say that Germany was one of the issues that I discussed with both the President and the Minister. With respect to Germany, I explained the thinking of the United States on the issue. I pointed out that reunification or unification had been a policy goal of the United States for over 40 years, and that it remained a policy goal of the United States. I indicated that I thought that the process was going to occur sooner rather than later, that I think most people are of the view that it is going to take place more rapidly that some had thought as recently as the end of last year. I made the point that it is the United States' view that this process with respect to the external aspects of it should take place with due regard for the security concerns of Germany's neighbors.
I indicated that the United States does not favor neutrality for a Unified Germany; that we favor continued membership in, or association with, NATO and that we also
GE 13 UNCLASSIFIED feel that there should be no extension of NATO forces eastward in order to assuage the security concerns of those of the East of Germany.
Now, those were the general points that we covered. I'm not going to characterize the Soviet reaction. That's for them to do and as the minister will be speaking, we'll have a press conference tomorrow. I will only say that I think that they were interested in what we had to say and they were attentive as we said it, but with the Chancellor due to arrive here tomorrow, I'm not going to characterize the Soviet reaction beyond saying what I've just said.
Q: Yesterday, there was a report that Mr. Gerasimov had said there would be a joint communique in which the United States and the Soviet Union would condemn the relocation of Soviet Jewish immigrants on the West Bank in Gaza. Is that a correct report?
A: You will see in the joint statement tomorrow that there will be no such provision. There was a discussion of the general subject of settlements in the territories and we, of course, as we always do, stated the United States'
GE 14 UNCLASSIFIED policy position with respect to settlements, which is that we see them as an obstacle to peace.
Q: Mr. Secretary, given the progress that you say you have made, do you expect to be able to either sign memorandums of understanding or treaties themselves at the time of the summit or this year applying to both START and CFE? And secondly, what do you say to those who suggest that you are moving too quickly to prop up and to encourage Mr. Gorbachev?
A: Well, with respect to the latter, I say they're wrong and, with due respect to the former, I would say that we're making what I think is pretty good progress. As I indicated in my opening remarks, what we're shooting for, of course, is to conclude agreement on the major unresolved issues by the time of the June Summit, so that there will be some change or opportunity that we can achieve a start treaty this year. With respect to CFE, it would seem to me that the major outstanding issue now is in the area of aircraft.
Q: Can you do it?
A: Well, we certainly hope we can. I'm not going to stand up here and tell you it is a foregone conclusion, but it's still a goal of ours and we're still going to shoot for it.
Q: Mr. Secretary, we do not have any idea what you did during the approximately two hours of talking with Mr. Gorbachev. Can you run over your private conversations with him? Number one. And can you give us an idea of what moving toward dealing with SLCM's outside of the treaty means to the United States? You're moving toward it. You haven't agreed to that. Is that correct?
A: Well, first of all, let me answer the first question. I've just told you generally what we said, what I said during that portion of the discussion with the president having to do with the question of reunification of Germany. The other issues that were addressed in the one-on-two session were the developments with respect to the plenum, Afghanistan and Central America. Now, you had a second question. Then we can go back to ...
Q: The second question deals with dealing with SLCM's outside (the) context of a start treaty.
A: Well, I think that there is pretty much irrevocable agreement that we're going to adopt a declaratory approach to this issue. That is, each side would through a public declaration let the other side know what its situation is with respect to sea-launched cruise missiles. And where we are now is we are still negotiating with the Soviet side over the exact form that that written declaration would take. There are two issues only that I think -- I think that is correct, only two issues that are unresolved -- we're referring those to the negotiators in Geneva. I think this is a very, very important -- you asked me what the significance of it is -- I think its' very important because the question of sea-launched cruise missiles has been one that has been a major obstacle to concluding a start treaty for quite some time and if we can handle it through a declaratory approach outside of a start agreement, it will be a major boost, I think, toward a START treaty. Obviously, one reason it's been such a
GE 17 UNCLASSIFIED problem all along is because there are major verification problems with respect to SLCM's.
Q: Can you describe Secretary Gorbachev's discussion about the plenum? Can you describe your reaction to it, if you don't want to describe his words?
A: Well, he pointed out the rather fundamental changes that we debated during the course of that plenum; the fact that there is a draft party platform now scheduled for adoption by a party Congress coming up, I think, in June; that that party platform has some very far-reaching provisions respecting restructuring and re-ordering of the executive branch of government in the Soviet Union. That was basically the nature of the summary that he gave me of the plenum.
Q: Mr. Secretary, regarding that summit, there's been a report that the dates of the summit have been fixed and that they are the 11th to the 17th of June. And secondly, it was anticipated that at this meeting you will be talking about some potential economic interaction with the Soviet Union in the coming months with a trade treaty or something
GE 18 UNCLASSIFIED to be done in June. Can you bring us up-to-date on what has happened on the economic front?
A: Well, that's another thing going back again to John's question. There was a discussion in meetings both with the President and the Minister about the challenges that are faced here with respect to the economic situation -- some of the things that they have in mind with respect to meeting those challenges. With particular reference, Don, to your question, we covered the full range of economic issues, the question of MFN, the negotiation of a commercial agreement, a bilateral investment treaty, a tax treaty, a whole range of issues, including the question of technical, economic cooperation.
Q: Did you make any forward motion on...?
A: Well, we made a lot of forward motion, I think, before we left Washington because we agreed on specific dates for the negotiation of these agreements and, in fact, some of those negotiations have already started.
Q: What about the dates of the summit?
A: I can't confirm that. Maybe somebody down here can, but...that's the general time-frame we're talking about, but I can't confirm those dates for you.
Q: You said that we would be happy for German membership in NATO or association with NATO. Can you explain that? And second, on SLCM's, would the declaratory statement be binding? Would it be submitted to the senate for ratification?
A: Boy, that's one that I'm not sure I can answer. I don't think it will be. I'm pretty certain it won't be. It will be politically binding and we had a discussion of that. But I'm quite certain that the thinking is that it will not be submitted. And, of course, the preferred position of the United States is that Germany retain its membership in NATO. However, it is our view that NATO itself is going to change in character, as I outlined to some extent in my remarks in Berlin, and so it will become perhaps less of a security alliance and more of a political alliance. And that's all I meant by that. I didn't mean
GE 20 UNCLASSIFIED to send any signal that we're in any way changing that aspect of our position regarding German reunification.
Q: Mr. Secretary, since you spent some time with the President on regional issues, and particularly Afghanistan and Central America, could you give us some more detail on that? Could you flesh it out for us and also tell us specifically whether or not you came to any accommodation in either area?
A: Well, frankly, only with respect to Afghanistan, we outlined a discreet proposal from the standpoint of process or substance. With respect to Central America, we agreed that we both supported the concept of free and fair elections in Nicaragua; that we both supported the turnover of power by the Sandanistas if they should lose in a free and fair election in Nicaragua; that we had a disagreement, as you would expect, with respect to Cuba and the provision of MIG 29's to Cuba. I think there was general agreement between us that there should be a political settlement of the conflict in El Salvador; that the FMLN should agree to a ceasefire and come to the table. You're familiar with
GE 21 UNCLASSIFIED the proposal on Afghanistan if you read the United States newspapers, and those articles have been basically accurate. It is not in my view a major policy change from the standpoint of the United States, but what we are saying is: our goal remains self-determination for the Afghan people and a termination of the Najibullah regime. The one change that we have suggested in order to try and achieve a political settlement is that it would not be a precondition that Mr. Najibullah step down in advance of beginning discussions on a political settlement or transitional government, provided that everyone was assured that he would leave at the conclusion of any such negotiation or discussions.
Q: You said that you had made progress in all areas. What progress has been registered as regards to Middle East? And secondly, why has the U.S. side refused to have a joint declaration concerning the resettlement of Soviet Jews in the occupied Arab territories?
A: What was the last part?
Q: Why did the United States refuse to go along with the joint declaration on the people who were living here and going to live in Arab occupied areas?
A: Well, we did not agree to a joint declaration because we did not think it's productive for us to join together in a condemnation of a strong and important ally of the United States as Israel. That's why we didn't agree to that. The first part of the question was?
Q: What did you discuss on the Middle East?
A: The Middle East. Let me state it this way. We agreed with the Soviets that we should continue to pursue our efforts to achieve a dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, because without a dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, we will never achieve peace in the Middle East. The minister has, I think it's fair to say, (been) very supportive of the efforts that I have personally been making to achieve such a dialogue.
Q: Mr. Secretary, this is the first time in recent memory that a visiting U.S. secretary of state has not met with a group of opposition leaders or dissidents. I'm
GE 23 UNCLASSIFIED wondering if it's your feeling that these kinds of public gestures are no longer necessary or desirable and, if so, why?
A: I would not say that they are not desirable. Here it is, though, and it's almost midnight or whatever time it is, and you can see how busy we've been with all of our meetings. Further to that I would say that we both agreed that progress on the human rights leg of our agenda has been quite good over the past two or three years. The list of refuseniks has dwindled considerably. The Soviet Union is permitting much freer emigration. They are even legislating that into their laws. So, we do have a changed situation. We will always have human rights on our agenda, but there's a different situation than there was three to four and five years ago.
Q: I wonder if I could ask you to give us a sort of umbrella statement about where we stand at the end of these two days of talks in our overall relationship with the Soviet Union, whether we have moved closer to an element of cooperation in our relationships?
A: Let me just say be way of follow-up that we have exchanged names as we always do. We have raised with the Soviets those cases that we think they should specifically take a look at. So we are continuing all of those same practices. Now, where do we stand? I said in Wyoming, John, that I thought we we moving from competition to dialogue and hopefully to cooperation. I think that's even more true today -- after Malta, after this ministerial. We are looking forward to another summit meeting between the two presidents in June. This will require additional intensive preparatory work by foreign ministers --June is not all that far away now. I think the relationship is in better shape than it has been in the past. Do we still have some differences? You bet. I've already mentioned one. Cuba.
Q: Mr. Secretary, I either didn't understand on the basis of what I heard you say, or I missed what you said, are you planning to get back to the Soviets before you leave and essentially strike a compromise on the question of the 30,000 troops difference in Europe? Is it that
GE 25 UNCLASSIFIED close to a compromise at this point? And secondly, can you tell us whether you were able to achieve the challenge that the two presidents set for you and Mr. Shevardnadze for this meeting, which was to resolve those three technical issues on START?
A: The answer to the first question is no, Ralph, and I hope I've made it clear this is a multilateral negotiation. The president did not make his proposal of 195,000 in the central zone, 225,000 Europe-wide without first consulting with his allies, and we should not accept, reject, or respond in detail to this counterproposal until we've had a opportunity to consult with our allies and that's what we will be doing. The second part was?
Q: ...Achieve the three goals set...
A: Well, we've clearly achieved the disposition of non-deployed missiles telemetry encryption. We are, I'd say, 75 to 80 percent of the way there on ALCM's, but we made other progress that has not (been) set as goals before this ministerial which I think is perhaps even more significant. And I'm referring to the joint statement on
GE 26 UNCLASSIFIED chemical weapons and the progress we made on SLCM's. So, if you ask me, am I pleased with what we've been able to do here over these last two days, I'm very, very pleased. And I think, frankly, that it moves the process of moving forward towards a START agreement along very, very smartly.
Q: When you meet with the foreign ministers in Ottawa, are you going to take to them a recommendation on the CFE discussion that you had between yourself and Gorbachev?
A: I would rather imagine that we would, since it involves United States troops. But they'll hear it from me, not from you.
Q: And the other question, very quickly, is have you set a date for your next ministerial with Mr. Shevardnadze?
A: No, we haven't. We've talked about a General time-frame, but we don't have it locked in yet, but it'll be between, I'd say, the middle of March and the middle of April sometime.
Q: The phrase which you used of association with or membership in NATO. Given that you said that NATO could
GE 27 UNCLASSIFIED evolve into a different sort of alliance, do you envisage the possibility that the federal republic would at some stage have a different form of membership of NATO from, say, the United Kingdom and a similar form of membership to that of, say, France, but at the same time the GDR could evolve a different form of membership of the Warsaw pact? And could I also ask as a supplementary to that whether you have any plans to meet with chancellor Kohl tomorrow?
A: The answer to the second question is no. The answer to the first question is you shouldn't read anything into what I said. What I'm saying is that we will have under the circumstances of continued German membership in NATO, you will have the GDR as a part of that membership. Now, that's clearly, at least in the eyes of -- in the position of the United States -- not likely to happen without there being some sort of security guarantees with respect to NATO's forces moving eastward or the jurisdiction of NATO moving eastward. It is still the view of the United States and the hope of the United States that German reunification will occur with the successor Germany
GE 28 UNCLASSIFIED as a member of NATO. But you've got to understand that there is some chance -- who knows how this will all turn out -- but there is some chance that there would be some special arrangements within NATO respecting the extension of NATO forces eastward. That's all I meant there.
Q: But could that mean that the GDR would, in fact, become part of NATO with Warsaw Pact forces still on its soil, and particularly the western group of Soviet forces still on its soil...?
A: You know, there are all sorts of hypotheticals that one could dream up and think about here, but I'm not going to go beyond what I said. I think I've outlined the United States position and I'm told I have to go, but Barry gets the last question.
A: Have you in fact contemplated the possibility of utilizing the Berlin four-power agreement as a vehicle for discussing the future of Germany, the future disposition of troops, of American and Soviet troops in Germany; is this a possible vehicle for the future?
A: Let me say only that that question has obviously been discussed among the full -- I'm sure among all the countries involved. That is not the approach that we think would be the most productive.
(End transcript) (Leningrad minimize considered) NNNN
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Last modified: Fri Apr 26 13:04:20 CEST 2002