NATO hopes to draw East bloc into serious talks at Stockholm security conference
NATO countries have finished drawing up proposals that they expect to present to the just-resumed 35-nation Stockholm conference on security in Europe, but they are said to be divided on major negotiating points.
The discussions are part of an ongoing review of the West's negotiating position at these talks. This general review has led to considerable disagreement among Western governments on such points as a proposed accord on the renunciation of force and linkage of any progress to improvements on human rights in Warsaw Pact countries.
Earlier this month NATO ambassadors here accepted the details worked out by a team of national experts on six general proposals presented by the West shortly after the Stockholm meeting opened last January. What remains to be decided, according to several NATO sources, is the timing of the presentation of the proposals in Stockholm.
They hope the full proposals will draw the East bloc into more substantive negotiations in Stockholm on these subjects: a yearly exchange of military information, such as the structure and location of units; yearly forecasts of planned maneuvers and other military activities; the notification of such activities 45 days in advance; observation of these operations by other states; noninterference with efforts at verifying compliance; and improving the means of urgent commnication between participating states.
In the past the Warsaw Pact has characterized these proposals as ''trivial'' and ''legalized espionage.'' And its participants have put forward more general proposals including a pact on the renunciation of force, abandonment by NATO of any first use of nuclear weapons, establishment of nuclear-free zones in Europe, and reduction of military budgets.
Although the West has generally regarded such proposals as too general and unverifiable, there is considerable debate about whether to negotiate on a controversial pact on the nonuse of force.
President Reagan and leaders of several other Western governments recently said they were prepared to discuss a pact on the nonuse of force.
All NATO countries have made such pledges in the United Nations Charter and other international accords, but some are extremely reluctant to go further into undertakings that could undermine the use of NATO's nuclear deterrent capability. Alliance policy has refused to rule out the first use of nuclear weapons as a last resort to avoid being overrun by a superior Warsaw Pact conventional attack.