For openness on arms control
From a statement to the United Nations last fall by the US deputy permanent representative to the UN, now appointed to head the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
In the United States and in all open, democratic societies, the workings of a free, multisided media ensure that essential information about security and disarmament is readily available to the public. Scores of public and private institutions are working actively to propagate their views on arms control and security issues. No censors or commissars impede the flow of public information. Demonstrations are not staged, nor is participation in them restricted to those invited by the government.
Unfortunately, this is not the case everywhere. In the Soviet Union, and in other countries following similar domestic repressive policies, only that information which supports official government positions can circulate freely and be openly and publicly discussed, even when it affects the most profound issues for mankind.
For our part, we are giving concrete expression to our commitment to increased freedom and openness, not only at home but in the international arena as well. Let me review briefly some of the recent initiatives which the United States has undertaken in this regard.
* President Reagan proposed a number of new strategic confidence-building measures to foster greater openness and greater understanding. These include reciprocal US-USSR exchanges on advanced notification of major strategic exercises and on launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles within as well as beyond national borders and an expanded exchange of strategic force data.
* The United States also has supported and respected arrangements promoting greater openness in military matters as an outgrowth of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
* At the second special session on disarmament this summer, President Reagan proposed the convening of an International Conference on Military Expenditures to give a much needed stimulus to reporting of military budgets by countries, some of which continue to shroud their real military spending in secrecy and mask it behind patently false statistics.
* In yet another effort to shed light on an important matter of world concern , the United States has strongly supported the efforts to induce the governments of the Soviet Union, Laos, and Vietnam to facilitate access to areas where chemical weapon attacks have taken place over the last several years, so that the UN group of experts can conduct an impartial and complete investigation of these profoundly disturbing illegal and inhumane practices.
* And in arms control negotiations, we have pressed for acceptance, on a mutual basis, of appropriate verification measures to enhance mutual confidence, credibility, and trust.
Americans in nine states exercised their right to vote in referenda on various disarmament issues. We regret that supporters of peace elsewhere still lack these basic rights. But we urge all other countries to undertake - in deeds , not only in words; at home as well as abroad - concrete efforts to promote an unhindered flow of information to all peoples of the world and to permit the widest possible freedom of public expression and assembly on the crucial issues of world peace and disarmament.