BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) _ Under a secret agreement with the late Communist leader Janos Kadar, the Soviets stored nuclear weapons in Hungary for a possible attack on the West until the end of the 1980s, former Premier Karoly Grosz said Monday.
″When I became premier in 1987, I gained access to a variety of information, including materials pertaining to the armed forces,″ the former Communist Party leader told The Associated Press.
″It was then that I found out about the nuclear weapons.″
In July 1987, Grosz said, he started talks with Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev about removing nuclear weapons and Soviet troops from Hungary. The nuclear weapons were withdrawn only after his successor, Miklos Nemeth, became premier in late 1988, Grosz said.
The West long suspected that nuclear weapons were deployed in Hungary. Moscow had acknowledged stationing nuclear weapons in Czechoslovakia and the former East Germany, which bordered North Atlantic Treaty Organization territory in Germany.
Last October, Soviet chief of staff Gen. Mikhail Moiseyev disclosed that nuclear weapons had been removed from Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia.
Hungarian officials said initially that only launchers and planes capable of delivering nuclear weapons were deployed in Hungary, not the rockets themselves.
Lt. Gen. Antal Annus, state secretary in the Defense Ministry, told the daily Nepszabadsag last week there were indications but no proof that nuclear weapons were deployed.
Grosz said the agreement on Soviet deployments on Hungarian soil was signed by Kadar, Communist leader for 32 years after Soviet tanks crushed the 1956 revolt against Kremlin rule.
When Grosz asked Gorbachev why Soviet troops were deployed in Hungary, Grosz said, ″he told me that Moscow had expressed willingness to withdraw its troops in 1957, but Kadar was opposed.″
It was agreed, however, that Soviet troops would leave at Hungary’s request.
Gorbachev said the roughly 50,000 Soviet troops in Hungary could leave any time, Grosz said. Grosz said he asked that the nuclear weapons go first.
″Gorbachev immediately accepted my argument that it impinges on Hungary’s sovereignty to have a situation whereby Soviet troops stationed in Hungary could at any time use these weapons of mass destruction without Hungary’s knowledge,″ Grosz was quoted as telling Nepszabadsag.
He said he did not know how many and what type of nuclear devices were stored in Hungary.
Hungary was part of the Warsaw Pact, which bound eastern Europe to Moscow is now effectively defunct following dissolution of its military structures March 31. In talks on dissolving the military structures, the Soviets battled to avoid disclosure of what is thought to be a range of secret accords.