Global Double Zero: The INF Treaty from Its Origins to Implementation

By George L. Rueckert | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6.
From Reykjavik to the Treaty Signing

The Reykjavik meeting of October 11-12, 1986, was held at Gorbachev's initiative. It was billed by the Reagan Administration as a leadup to a summit to be held later in the United States. Although significant progress had been achieved on INF during the preceding months, the Reagan Administration did not expect the meeting in Reykjavik to achieve major results. 1 Shortly before the meeting, Reagan Administration officials indicated that President Reagan intended to "hold firm" to his position and did not intend to "introduce new proposals". 2 As it transpired, however, Reykjavik marked the turning point in the INF negotiations. At that meeting, the core issues standing in the way of an INF Treaty were essentially resolved at the highest level, and the way opened for the two delegations in Geneva to begin hammering out a mutually acceptable text. Although difficult and important issues remained, both sides were now committed to reaching an agreement.

Both leaders brought their top arms control experts to Reykjavik, including Ambassadors Nitze and Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev. During the Summit, Nitze and Akhromeyev headed a special arms control working group which, in marathon negotiating sessions, formulated language incorporating the major decisions reached in discussions between Reagan and Gorbachev.

Important progress was made at Reykjavik on a wide range of arms control issues involving INF, START, nuclear testing, and strategic defense. However, the Soviets wanted all agreements to be approved as a single package. In the end no final agreement was reached because of

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