E. Europe grumbles about Soviet missiles
While the threatened installation of new Soviet missiles in Eastern Europe has been played down in the West, the plan may have aroused considerable official opposition in some communist states.
Romania's President, Nicolai Ceausescu, has spoken out bluntly against the deployment, and Western sources say East German leader Erich Honecker is privately opposed to the new arms.
The Kremlin has announced that, should NATO proceed with deployment of the 572 cruise and Pershing II missiles in Western Europe, the Soviet Union would counter by installing new missiles.
Western leaders reacted calmly to these announcements, noting that tactical missiles have been in place in some East European countries since the 1960s and the modernization was planned well before the NATO deployment. They say the new SS-21, SS-22, and SS-23s in East Germany and Czechoslovakia would not change the threat to the West appreciably.
There are more signs of unease in the Warsaw Pact about these new Soviet missiles, which some sources say have already begun to arrive. Romania has restated its opposition, and East Germany's Erich Honecker, generally considered to be a solid ally of Moscow, is newly reported to oppose the Soviet missiles.
A Western expert on East-West affairs who discussed the subject with Honecker recently said the East German leader told him directly ''he is not interested in the Soviet missiles.''
There is no question of the East German government confronting the Soviet leadership on this question. But the Western source speculated the East German regime may tolerate a certain amount of the antinuclear sentiment that has been displayed in public in recent months.