127. Paper Prepared in the National Security Council Staff1
President Reagan is personally committed to peace.
Prevention of conflict and reduction of weapons are the most important public issues of our time.
For at least 30 years after World War II, the United States possessed a large military advantage over the Soviet Union. Our strength deterred aggression against us.
Our military objective has always been to maintain peace by preventing war. The irony of modern times is that it still takes weapons to prevent war.
Peace is a goal, not a policy. To achieve lasting peace, the President has two parallel paths—deterrence and arms reductions.
The combination of the Soviets spending more and the US spending proportionally less has changed the military balance and weakened our ability to deter war.
Together with our Allies, we have begun to correct the military imbalance. Part of that correction is the President’s decision on where to base the long-range Peacekeeper missile, formerly called the M–X, which has been developed under his three immediate predecessors.2
While modernizing our military, the President is also searching for significant arms reductions.
Never before has the US proposed such a comprehensive program of nuclear arms control as we have put forward in the past year.
Three major negotiations with the Soviets are already underway—aimed at completely eliminating intermediate-range missiles, at deep reductions in the long-range missile arsenal, and at cutting conventional military forces in Europe.[Page 494]
It is significant that the Soviets are negotiating seriously with us at Geneva and Vienna. They know that we are serious about our own strategic programs and that they must negotiate in earnest.
The latest additions to our arms control initiative are measures to reduce the risks of accident and misunderstanding and thus strengthen mutual confidence between the US and Soviet Union.
- Advance notification of all US and Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile test launches, and other such tests.
- Advance notification of major military exercises.
- Exchange of information about nuclear forces.
- Examination of the Hotline system between the US and USSR for possible improvements.3
The President’s commitment to peace continues to preserve our freedom, and it offers promise of a safer and less threatening world. We should support this dual approach—deterrence and arms reductions— as the best possible way to maintain the peace we now enjoy, and ensure it for future generations.
- Source: Reagan Library, David Gergen Files, Subject File, RR Arms Control Speech and MX—11/22/1982. No classification marking. Clark sent the paper to multiple recipients under cover of a November 22 memorandum, noting that it contained talking points related to the President’s November 22 address to the nation on strategic arms reduction and nuclear deterrence. For the text of the address, see Public Papers: Reagan, 1982, Book II, pp. 1505–1510.↩
- On November 22, 1982, the President announced that the United States would emplace 100 M–X missiles, known as “Peacekeepers,” in silos in a closely-spaced basing mode at an Air Force base near Cheyenne, Wyoming. For the President’s November 22 statement and his November 22 letter to members of Congress informing them of this decision, see Public Papers: Reagan, 1982, Book II, pp. 1502–1504.↩
- On June 20, 1963, at Geneva, U.S. and Soviet representatives to the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Conference (ENDC) completed negotiations on a memorandum of understanding (14 UST 825) establishing a direct communications link, known as a “hotline.” On September 30, 1971, a working group of the U.S. and Soviet SALT delegations updated the agreement to add two additional satellite circuits to the “hotline.”↩