Swedish Campaigners Feel Rebuffed
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The administration told a Stockholm-based peace group Friday that it is committed to the ultimate elimination of all atomic weapons, but the visitors were nevertheless offended.
Participants in the ″Great Peace Journey″ charged that the administration had rebuffed them and in doing so hurt America’s international image.
After requesting a meeting with President Reagan or Secretary of State George P. Shultz, the visitors were received by a division chief at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and given incomplete answers to most of their questions, complained the Rev. Elisabeth Gerle, delegation leader.
″It is our first experience at not being received at the requested level. We are not at all satisfied with our reception in this country,″ Ms. Gerle told a news conference. ″If they are not willing to answer our questions it shows they don’t even have willingness for international cooperation.″
She said movement representatives since last year have been able to meet personally with 116 heads of state or government seeking ″yes″ or ″no″ answers to five questions on peace, disarmament and the environment.
But French President Francois Mitterand hasn’t even answered the movement’s letters, Ms. Gerle said, adding that the French ″trust the nuclear deterrent. I don’t.″
Moscow and Washington were left to the end because ″all the people in the world are fed up with the superpowers and their way of deciding things for us,″ she said.
Another team expected to meet in Moscow with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev or former Ambassador to the United States Anatoly F. Dobrynin, Gorbachev’s policy adviser, Ms. Gerle said. The overall results will be presented next Tuesday to U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar in New York.
Ms. Gerle displayed a letter given her group by Jon Gundersen, chief of the U.S. disarmament agency’s division of international security policy. It answered ″yes″ to two questions and said positive answers to the three other questions would conflict with collective security rights and agreements with U.S. allies.
The first U.S. ″yes″ was to the question of readiness to ban nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction if all other U.N. member countries did the same. ″The United States is committed to the ultimate goal of total elimination of all nuclear weapons,″ the letter said.
The other U.S. ″yes″ was to readiness to promote availability of clean water, food, elementary health care and schooling throughout the world.
The other three questions were on willingness to prevent sending troops, military advisers and weapons abroad if all U.N. members agree to do so, and readiness to pledge peaceful settlement of all conflicts.