Both sides talk tough about troops in Europe
As the eight-year-old -and long stalled -talks on East West force reductions in Central Europe resumed Jan. 29, the tone of both sides reflected awareness of a tougher line from the new man in the White House in Washington.
It was the first meeting between representatives of the seven NATO and four Warsaw Pact states involved since Ronald Reagan took office. In press briefings after the first session, the change of US administration was alluded to only in passing. But the East-bloc spokesman put repeated stress on the communist powers' hope that the new US government would take a "constructive" attitude toward the "higher mutual interests" at stake in disarmament.
And the unequivocal Reagan line on East-West relations was evident in the terse firmness with which the NATO spokesman summed up the Western position on what it sees as the fundamental impediment to moving on to an agreement.
This is the question of data. The Western powers continue to challenge Warsaw Pact figures of its present strength in the reduction area, and these data are the basis on which reductions would be determined. NATO says the total is some 150,000 above the figure so far given.
At the Jan. 29 session Ambassador Willem J. De Vos told the Russians and their allies that acceptable data are the essential precondition to agreement. "Any agreement not based on data would lead to disputes," he said, " would not be juridically enforceable and verifiable, and would not be acceptable to Western governments, parliaments, or public opinion."
Polish delegate Tadeusz Strulak, the East-bloc spokesman, called on the West to drop its exaggerated estimate of the size of Warsaw Pact forces. He said the alliance was ready to move on to realistic confidence-building measures.
To a question about likely White Hose attitudes, NATO briefing officer William Davis said there would be no definitive policy statement until the President had had time for a full study of all aspects of disarmament. 52900100027323 NOVEMBER 15, 1981