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Soviets Propose Arms Control Trade-Off, Report Says

September 9, 1985

BOSTON (AP) _ The State Department has declined comment on a report that the Soviet Union has offered to reduce its missile and bomber forces if the United States bans tests of ″Star Wars″ space defense systems.

The Boston Sunday Globe quoted an unidentified Soviet bloc diplomat as saying the offer to cut its strategic missiles and bombers up to 40 percent over the next five years was part of an arms control plan that also included on-site inspections and ″radical reduction″ in Soviet medium-range missiles.

The Soviets want an agreement in principle on the deal at the November summit between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and President Reagan, with details to be negotiated afterward, the diplomat said.

White House spokesman Albert Brashear and State Department spokeswoman Anita Stockman said Sunday they had no comment on the report.

According to the Globe, senior U.S. officials said the diplomat’s report seemed to represent a far more detailed description of purported Kremlin thinking on an arms control package than they have heard previously. However, the officials reserved judgment until the Soviets spelled out their proposal directly.

If an agreement in principle were reached, the diplomat told the Globe, the Soviets would make ″substantive progress″ on such issues as human rights, bilateral relations and regional problem areas.

The diplomat said the suggested pact included:

-A phased reduction of up to 40 percent in land- and submarine-based missiles and long-range bombers over five years.

-A ban on tests and deployment of the Strategic Defense Initiative, also known as Star Wars, antimissile systems and antisatellite weapons, with research permitted.

-A freeze, then a rollback in the number of medium range weapons.

-On-site inspections.

U.S. analysts said talk of a 40 percent cut in missiles and bombers was higher than Gorbachev’s public reference to a cut of 25 percent or more and was consistent with recent private Soviet hints, according to the newspaper.

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