Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Gorbachev Attacks Reagan Plan
Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev attacked President Ronald Reagan's new arms control proposals Tuesday.
Gorbachev said also that the timing of the next summit meeting hinged on an "understanding" about the banning of nuclear tests or elimination of medium-range missiles in Europe.
The Soviet leader made his remarks in convening the 27th Communist Party Congress. He sharply criticized Reagan's stand on space weapons, his rejection of a freeze on British and French arsenals, and his call for cuts in the Soviet Union's Asian nuclear forces.
"It is hard to detect in the letter we have just received (from Reagan) any serious preparedness . . . to get down to the business of eliminating the nuclear threat," Gorbachev told the 5,000 delegates to the congress.
Gorbachev said the next summit meeting, to be held this year under an agreement reached at the first session in November, "ought to produce practical results in key areas of limiting and reducing armaments."
"There are at least two matters on which an understanding could be reached: the cessation of nuclear testsand the abolition of U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range missiles" in Europe, Gorbachev said.
"Then, as a matter of fact, if there is readiness to seek agreement, the question of the time of the meeting would be resolved of itself: We will accept any suggestion on this count. But there is no sense in holding empty talks."
Gorbachev commented for the first time on Reagan's response to his proposal of Jan. 15 for a three-stage elimination of nuclear arms by the year 2000.
The plan would begin with the elimination of Soviet and U.S. medium-range missiles in Europe and the freezing of British and French nuclear arsenals, followed by cuts in strategic missiles and a ban on space weapons.
Reagan's reply was delivered Sunday. U.S. officials have said Reagan agreed that medium-range missiles should be eliminated as a first step but rejected a freeze on British and French arsenals. …