West Europe's peace groups attack 'interim' solution
The European peace movement is unimpressed by any American effort to scale down its plan for medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe. In fact, it plans to double its 1983 campaign against NATO strategy.
To a considerable degree, pressure on President Reagan to propose an interim plan for cruise and Pershing deployment stems from the peace movement's so far spectacular impact on European opinion. But peace activists make it clear that their goal remains no cruise and Pershing missiles at all.
Behind their words also lies a concern that European public opinion might be impressed with an interim proposal from the US - at a time when NATO governments have also been stepping up their rhetoric against peace movement ideas.
A spokeswoman for the European Nuclear Disarmament (END), Jane Diblin, said in an interview that an interim proposal would be welcomed if it meant that the US and the Soviets were negotiating seriously and not just propagandizing.
''But,'' she said, ''our goal is to stop all deployment of cruise and Pershing missiles. . . . We want to clear Europe of nuclear weapons from the Ural Mountains to the Atlantic, so that Europe will not become a nuclear battlefield.
''We see no reason to relax our efforts now.''
On the same day, Bruce Kent, general secretary of Britain's largest peace movement, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), said:
''I don't think an interim proposal makes much difference. It gives us heart, great heart, because it shows that government positions are not absolute. Three months ago an interim proposal was unthinkable. . . .
''But the peace movement wants no deployment of cruise or Pershing missiles at all, and it wants no Soviet SS-20 missiles either. We don't accept (a plan) that may seem to be plausible but which is only a means of creating a pause in the arms race. Any US cruise or Pershing deployment would still be a major increase in potentially first-strike weapons.''
The peace movement as a whole has planned protests around Europe this year aimed at maximum television coverage.
They include a ''human chain'' of 40,000 people on Good Friday from the US Air Force base at Britain's Greenham Common, where cruise missiles are to be stationed, via Aldermaston (where Trident warheads are being developed) to the Royal Ordnance Factory at Burghfield.
A large peace gathering is scheduled for West Berlin May 9 to 13, and more demonstrations are planned for summer and autumn.
The official NATO goal is the so-called ''zero option'' - under which NATO would forgo its planned deployment of 572 cruise and Pershing missiles starting later this year if Moscow would eliminate all its own SS-20, SS-4, and SS-5 missiles.
''We favor a genuine zero option - no land, sea, or air-based missiles,'' said Mr. Kent. ''We are not convinced by a so-called zero option that takes in only land-based systems which exist on one side but don't exist on the other.''
Now the peace movement, from Britain to the Netherlands, from Scandinavia to Italy, enters a new phase.
Earlier this year, governments began to counterattack. But lately, European governments, including West Germany's, have begun to call for an interim proposal as a way to ease domestic political pressure against cruise and Pershing missiles.
By mid-February, the peace groups were trying to hammer out counterstrategy. At Bradford University in England, about 160 activists from 20 countries, including the US and Canada, discussed options. Sources say they discussed setting up ''alternative talks'' in Geneva to parallel the US-Soviet talks.
The idea would be for peace spokesmen to ''negotiate'' in a new effort to gain public attention. No final decision on whether to go ahead has yet been taken.
In light of the NATO drive against peace movement ideas, the Bradford group plans:
* To tighten cooperation between European and American peace groups. This means that groups such as END, CND, IKV, and others in West Germany, France, Italy, the Benelux area, and Scandinavia, are to talk more with American groups supporting a nuclear freeze and disarmament.
Attending the meeting were Americans and Canadians from The Freeze, US Citizens for a Sane World, War Resisters International, Clergy and Laity Concerned, and Fellowship and Reconciliation.
* To ask Scandinavian and northern European peace movements to send speakers and funds to southern European groups, such as Italian activists opposing deployment of cruise missiles at Comiso in Sicily.
* To give more help to French peace groups, which find their government hostile to demonstrations and which see it favoring the broad lines of NATO missile policies.