From Inception Until the Soviet Walkout
The first phase of INF negotiations began on November 30, 1981, in Geneva, proceeded through six negotiating rounds over two years, and culminated with Soviet termination of the talks on November 30, 1983. It contained several notable features: a tactically astute U.S. "zero option" opening proposal calling for the elimination of all longer-range INF missiles on both sides; U.S. Ambassador Paul Nitze's negotiating tour de force--the "walk-in-the-woods" proposal--which sought unsuccessfully to synthesize the U.S. and Soviet positions; and a variety of negotiating proposals by both sides essentially representing variants of their basic approaches.
As the INF negotiations began in Geneva, the U.S. delegation was led by Ambassador Nitze, a highly experienced negotiator with a long history of distinguished government service in both the State and Defense Departments. Nitze, who was seventy-four at the beginning of the INF negotiations, had a rich background on arms control issues. He had been a member of the SALT I negotiating team and was a main architect of the ABM Treaty. He chose not to participate in the SALT II negotiations for reasons of principle, but nonetheless played a major role as an outsider in defining the U.S. nuclear arms control debate in the late 1970s. Above all, Nitze had a well-deserved reputation for resolving thorny problems--in the