Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Soviets view Reagan arms plan

US news media leaks early Sunday of President Reagan's expected May 9 proposal on strategic-arms reduction sufficed to spark Soviet criticism of the package, Monitor correspondent Ned Temko reports.

Western diplomats here feel the Kremlin is not likely to reject the Reagan proposal outright, as it did a US call for ''deep cuts'' in strategic arsenals early in the Carter administration.

About these ads

Yet a Pravda commentary May 9, just before Mr. Reagan's scheduled arms address, suggests Moscow is likely to raise a number of reservations on the Reagan plan, reportedly involving a limit on each superpower of 850 land- or sea-based intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying a total of no more than 5 ,000 warheads.

The Pravda commentary, and recent private remarks from Soviet officials, suggest some of the objections that are likely to be raised by Moscow:

* The plan would, in Soviet eyes, penalize Moscow for its greater reliance on large, multiwarhead land missiles.

* It apparently would not deal with the issue of cruise missiles, a weapons category in which Washington is said by Western experts to hold a considerable technological edge.

* It would count the Soviets' Backfire bomber as a long-range carrier to be included in a treaty sub-limit on bombers. The Soviets have argued that the Backfire has only a medium range and thus does not belong to the intercontinental, strategic-arms equation.

* The US proposal could simply leapfrog the question of ratifying the 1979 Salt II pact, a step the US Congress has not taken. The Soviets have avoided public demands that Mr. Reagan ratify Salt II unchanged, before new strategic arms talks, but have insisted that ''positive elements'' in that treaty should be preserved.

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.