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Carlucci, Yazov Discuss Variety of Issues in First Such Talks

March 16, 1988

BERN, Switzerland (AP) _ A Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday that the first formal talks between the superpower defense secretaries were productive and friendly, despite the raising of sensitive issues by the United States.

Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci and his Soviet counterpart, Dmitri Yazov, discussed strategic nuclear weapons, the implementation of the superpower treaty to eliminate medium- and shorter-range nuclear missiles and the size of their respective armed forces, said Pentagon spokesman Dan Howard.

Carlucci and Yazov met privately with only their translators present for 10 minutes at the opening of the afternoon session, at the Soviet Embassy, and emerged quiet and grim. Neither side would comment on the private session.

Earlier, the mood had appeared jovial, although Carlucci raised U.S. allegations that the Soviets violated the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty by building a phased-array radar far from the Soviet border in Siberia. The pact requires such radars to be along the border.

The talks are scheduled to end Thursday.

″The tone has been very positive and cooperative throughout,″ said Howard, the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. ″We are pleased with the way things are going.″

During the afternoon session, Howard said Carlucci questioned Yazov about ″dangerous activities,″ such as the physical contact between U.S. and Soviet ships in the Black Sea last month and the fatal shooting of Army Maj. Arthur Nicholson by a Soviet soldier three years ago in East Germany.

The United States said the Soviet ships intentionally bumped the U.S. ships.

Carlucci said earlier he would seek a Soviet apology for the slaying of Nicholson and try to work out new guidelines to prevent friction between U.S. and Soviet ground, air and naval forces.

A spokesman for the Soviet Embassy in Bern, Vladimir Pozdniakov, said the Soviet delegation would not comment on the talks until Yazov and an aide, Col. Gen. Nikolai Chervov, address a news conference Thursday.

Carlucci was also to give a full version of the U.S. position at a news conference Thursday.

Yazov opened the formal talks Wednesday on a light note, said Howard.

Gesturing around the second-floor conference room of the U.S. Embassy, Yazov ″commented that (it) ... was a very small room, and said there is a saying in Russian that although we have close quarters, we shouldn’t quarrel.″

″Everyone got a laugh out of that,″ said Howard.

Reporters and photographers were allowed briefly into the rooms where the conferences and meals were held but were ushered out as talks began.

″The main point that Mr. Yazov made in the beginning was that he wanted to have useful discussions without having the pressure of negotiations ... to arrive at some sort of agreement,″ said Howard.

The defense ministers faced each other across a long table, Carlucci flanked by Assistant Defense Secretary Ronald Lehman and a translator, and Yazov by a translator and Chervov, a top Soviet arms control spokesman.

Before leaving Moscow, Yazov said he was ″prepared to discuss issues of preventing incidents between the armed forces of the United States and the U.S.S.R.″

And he said he hoped for ″a frank, constructive discussion″ of arms control issues including strategic arms, nuclear testing, chemical and conventional weapons.

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