Secretary Baker's address and ex- cerpts from the question-and-answer session at the National Press Club on June 8, 1989.
I know that most of you know that on NATO's 40th anniversary, we, the United States, and our allies renewed our commitment to collective defense, and we renewed our commitment to democratic values. But we did more than that. We also committed ourselves to an ambitious mission for the years ahead, and that mission is to make from a divided Europe, a new Europe, a Europe that is whole, a Europe that is free, and a Europe that is secure. This mission, of course, has far reaching security, political, and economic implications for NATO but also for the West as a whole. NATO's Security Proposals So let me begin with the security proposals which we discussed at the 40th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. From its inception, NATO has sought to protect the West's democratic values by preventing war. It's been very, very sucessful. The Soviet threat has imposed on the members of the alliance a significant burden of defense, but, through four sometimes tense decades, we have been able to avoid armed conflict.
Now a combination of Western strength and pressing economic problems within the Soviet Union appears to have convinced Moscow that the arms buildup really leads us nowhere. All NATO leaders acknowledge that a ray of hope has dawned-hope that Europe, the most heavily armed continent in the world, can really begin to disarm; hope that through negotiation and responsible action by governments, ways can be found to make all of us safer at lower levels of risk. But, I think we should all recognize that the dawn is not the day. That's why the President advanced proposals at the summit to bring us closer to that day when the shadow of still-threatening Soviet conventional advantages will be lifted.
The President's Conventional Parity Initiative promises to accelerate and lock in a potentially historic change in the balance of military forces in Eu-
rope. If accepted by the East, this initiative would reduce the size of NATO, and it would reduce the Warsaw Pact's conventional forces to equal and stable levels. These levels would substantially reduce the threat of surprise military attack and substantially reduce the danger of large-scale offensive operations against Western Europe.
I want to add here an observation about the summit process and about NATO itself. This summit, I think, showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that the alliance does have the flexibility to change while at the same time preserving and even enhancing its core principles and values. NATO's agreement on a comprehensive concept, including an agreement on short-range nuclear forces (SNF), demonstrates that we can maintain deterrence under new and changing political conditions.
In light of the conventional imbalances, the alliance agreed that the short-range nuclear forces negotiations leading to partial nuclear reductions would begin but only-and this is very important-only after the implementation of a conventional forces agreement is underway. We and our NATO partners further agreed that any shortrange nuclear forces reductions will not be implemented-they'll not be carried out-until the results of the conventional forces agreement have been implemented.
The economic and the political consequences of the President's security initiatives are far reaching and profound. If the Soviet Union truly wishes to channel needed resources from the military to the civilian sector, then these new proposals surely offer the opportunity. If the Soviet Union truly wishes the process of political reform in Eastern Europe to proceed freely, then the removal of 325,000 troops will surely reduce fears of Soviet military intervention.
These proposals point clearly to a long-term, dramatic transformation in Europe's strategic and political landscape. The time is ripe for General Secretary Gorbachev to respond positively to the opportunities presented by these initiatives. Indeed, we look for him to do so when he travels to the Federal Republic of Germany next week.
As the alliance came to agreement on the SNF issue last week, we added
an important call to the Soviet Union: We urged the Soviets to reduce unilaterally their short-range nuclear systems to NATO levels. Next week, the General Secretary can sustain this new spirit by answering this call and by announcing a real cut in Soviet shortrange nuclear forces. But whatever Mr. Gorbachev's response, I think we should remember that the West's efforts are aimed at removing more than just Soviet divisions; they are aimed, in fact, at removing the division of Europe itself. Beyond Containment to a New Europe
The Brussels summit also affirmed that NATO's mission goes beyond the military dimension of East-West relations. We want, as the President has said, to move beyond containment to a new Europe-a Europe that is whole, and a Europe that is free. That Europe is defined by a community of free nations from which no one is excluded. Its borders are set not by geography or barbed wire but by the reach of democratic freedoms. Its pursuits are the ways of peace, and it grows through the force of ideas. Today, it stretches from Montreal, San Francisco, and Rome to Tokyo, Helsinki, and Melbourne.
It is the community for which Chinese students have sacrificed their lives on the hard pavement of Tiananmen Square. It is the community of thought to which Sakharov belongs. It is the model in the minds of Hungarians and Poles as they strive to hammer out social compacts between government and the governed.
NATO has signaled its intention to engage in political and economic outreach to the East. We and our alliance partners realize that the cold war which began with the Iron Curtain …