The Soviet Union has offered to suspend its peaceful nuclear explosion programme to ease the conclusion of a total test ban treaty.
The Soviet Union has offered to suspend its peaceful nuclear explosion programme to ease the conclusion of a total test ban treaty. Communist Party leader Leonid Brezhnev made the offer in a presidential address at the Kremlin on Wednesday (2 November).
SYNOPSIS: The occasion was Kremlin rally marking the 60th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.
In his 90-minute speech, the Soviet President proposed a worldwide agreement simultaneously halting nuclear weapon production -- and offered the peaceful nuclear explosion suspension for the first time. Soviet insistence on excluding such explosions from treaty consideration has been a major stumbling block in Soviet-American arms talks in Geneva. Brezhnev's proposal for a coordinated halt to nuclear weapon production by all states, was not actually made during his speech. But it was part of an official text released by the Soviet Tass news agency, and Soviet sources said the omission did not reduce the strength of the proposal.
Brezhnev said that international relations were a sort of crossroads, which could lead either to a growth of trust and co-operation, or to a growth of mutual fears, suspicion, and arms stockpiles. He said China was aligned with the forces of reaction in the world arena -- a statement which prompted Peking's newly-arrived Ambassador Wang Yu-ping to walk out of the hall. Mr. Brezhnev implicitly warned President Carter against criticising the Communist countries on Human Rights. The Soviet Union could say a lot about what was going on in the United States. He said if the differences were emphasised, the result would be useless to the two countries -- and dangerous to the world as a whole.