Official: Bonn Will Insist on Keeping Pershing 1As With AM-Arms Talks
BONN, West Germany (AP) _ The government will insist on keeping its Pershing 1A rockets out of any superpower missile accord, despite Moscow’s demand they be eliminated, a Defense Ministry spokesman said Friday.
Ministry spokesman Horst Prayon said West Germany will continue to hold on to the Pershing 1A missiles as long as it faces the threat of superior Soviet conventional forces in Central Europe.
″They (the Soviets) should remove their threat and then the Pershing 1As would no longer be a problem,″ Prayon told a news conference.
The Soviet Union has insisted that nuclear warheads for the West German Pershing 1As should be destroyed as part of any East-West missile accord. The Pershing 1As are owned by West Germany, but their nuclear warheads are controlled by U.S. forces.
Prayon said the missiles are a ″symbol of the unity of the NATO nations.″
He also said the missiles ″are an option that make NATO strategy believable″ as long as the Soviet Union maintains a larger number of tanks, troops and other conventional forces in central Europe than does the Western alliance.
Prayon declined to predict how the Bonn government would react to a decision by its NATO allies to scrap the Pershing 1As.
Meanwhile, Juergen Todenhoefer, disarmament spokesman for Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s conservative Christian Democratic party, criticized the Soviet Union for bringing the Pershing 1As into the Geneva arms talks between the superpowers after it appeared a missile accord was likely.
The Pershing 1As ″were never a part of the Geneva negotiations in the past,″ Todenhoefer said in a statement.
Horst Ehmke, a security expert for the opposition Social Democratic Party, charged that the Bonn defense ministry officials were misleading the public with their comments on the Pershing 1As.
Ehmke has said the missiles were not essential enough to West German security to allow them to serve as an obstacle to a superpower arms agreement.
The Social Democrats have said it is logical for the Soviets to demand the missiles, and their American-controlled warheads, be part of any East-West accord.