Soviets rap Reagan missile 'ploy'
Moscow — President Reagan could have predicted that his offer to cancel deployment of the Pershing II and cruise nuclear missiles if the Soviets would withdraw their SS-20, SS-4, and SS-5 missiles would be dismissed as ''a mere propaganda ploy,'' Monitor contributor Carol Lind writes.
The official Tass news agency said the Reagan proposal was designed to stalemate the Nov. 30 Geneva arms talks and to present the American course of escalating the arms race and ensuring military superiority as a ''peace initiative.''
Tass charged that in his proposal Mr. Reagan failed to include the US forward-based systems - all the land-, sea-, and air-based nuclear weapons already in place in Europe and the Middle East.
It disputed Reagan's figures proving Soviet superiority, in accordance with President Brezhnev, who has said rough parity already exists between East and West.
By leaving out the forward-based systems, Tass said, Washington clearly expected the Soviets to withdraw their defenses and leave the field wide open to NATO.
Reagan's speech was only the latest salvo in a battle between the two leaders for the sympathies of the West European public. Mr. Brezhnev has pledged previously that no nuclear-free nation would ever be the target of a Soviet nuclear attack. He also proposed a moratorium on deployment of new missiles while arms talks go on, which the West rejected, saying it set in concrete what it sees as a current Soviet advantage.