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US, USSR clash on agenda for European peace talks

The United States and the Soviet Union clashed sharply over what should be discussed at the month-old Stockholm conference on reducing the risk of war in Europe.

The dispute was sparked by a tough Soviet speech at a closed plenary session Wednesday, warning the West the 35-nation conference would face ''catastrophe'' if sweeping Soviet proposals were not discussed.

The Soviet proposals include calls for a nonaggression pact, non-first use of nuclear weapons, limiting military budgets, nuclear free zones, and a chemical weapons ban in Europe.

The West considers Soviet proposals unverifiable and incompatible with the Stockholm mandate.

''Non-first use (of nuclear weapons) is being made a precondition for discussing what we came here to discuss,'' chief US delegate James Goodby said.

''The time for serious negotiations is running out,'' he added.

The first session of the three-year conference ends March 16.

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