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Dealing With Gorbachev's Soviet Union
Address before the World Affairs Council in Dallas on April 8, 1986. Ambassador Armacost is Under Secretary for Political Affairs.
It is a pleasure to speak in Dallas' "Salute to the World' before a distinguished audience on a topic I hope you will find timely: dealing with Gobachev's Soviet Union.
Our relationship with the Soviet Union shapes the atmosphere of international relations. The Soviets are our principal rivals as well as a necessary partner in averting nuclear war and preventing conflicts from escalating into global confrontation.
U.S.-Soviet Relations Since the Summit
Public perceptions of this relationship oscillate between euphoria and despair. Neither is appropriate. The November Geneva summit between President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev raised our relations to a somewhat higher plateau. Progress was modest, to be sure, but new hopes were aroused. To date, they have not been fulfilled.
On the positive side, we have concluded bilateral agreements which promise to expand educational, cultural, and people-to-people exchanges. We are exploring possibilities for increasing trade in nonstrategic areas. Civil aviation agreements have been signed which will permit U.S. carriers to fly to the Soviet Union and which will increase cooperation in ensuring the safety of flights in the North Pacific air corridor. We will soon open a U.S. Consulate in Kiev.
In the human rights area, we welcome the Soviet release of Anatoliy Shcharanskiy; the decision to permit the wife of Andrey Sakharov, Yelena Bonner, to receive medical treatment in this country; and the resolution of a number of divided family cases. We note with regret, however, that the rate of Jewish emigration remains at a trickle.
In the arms control area, we welcome dialogue with the Soviets on the nonproliferation of chemical and nuclear weapons. At the same time, however, there has been no progress on the key nuclear and space arms issues under discussion in Geneva, despite General Secretary Gorbachev's summit agreement to accelerate work in these areas.
Specifically, Mr. Gorbachev agreed to early progress in areas where there is common ground, including deep reductions in nuclear arms and an interim agreement on intermediate-range nuclear forces. Unfortunately, the Soviets have been unwilling to engage in serious give-and-take on these issues at the negotiating table in Geneva. Instead, they have devoted themselves to propaganda statements and public diplomacy. They have yet to respond in Geneva to specific proposals we tabled last November.
Finally, there has been little progress in attenuating regional conflicts, which involve Soviet troops and Soviet proxies in such places as Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Angola, and Ethiopia. Yet, there can be no lasting improvement in our relationship without concrete progress in resolving these regional disputes.
In sum, developments on bilateral issues, human rights, arms control, and …