Statement Made by President Mikhail Gorbatchev on Soviet Television

Moscow , 5 October 1991

Dear compatriots,

A week ago, US President George Bush put forward a important initiative on nuclear weapons.

This initiative confirms that new thinking has been widely supported by the world community. George Bush's proposals continue the drive started in Reykjavik. This is my opinion. I know that Boris Yeltsin and leaders of other republics share this opinion.

In this statement, I will announce our reciprocal step and counter-measures.

First. The following steps will be made as regard tactical nuclear weapons:

- All nuclear artillery ammunition and nuclear warheads for tactical missiles will be destroyed.

- Nuclear warheads of anti-aircraft missiles will be removed from the Army and stored in central bases. Part of them will be destroyed. All nuclear mines will be eliminated.

- All tactical nuclear weapons will be removed from surface ships and multipurpose submarines. These weapons, as well as weapons from ground-based naval aviation will be stored. Part of them will be destroyed.

Thus, the Soviet Union and the United States are taking reciprocal radical measures leading to the elimination of tactical weapons.

Moreover, we propose that the United States remove on a reciprocal basis from the Navy and destroy tactical nuclear weapons. Also on a reciprocal basis, we could remove from active units of front (tactical) aviation all nuclear ammunition (bombs and aircraft missiles) and store them.

The Soviet Union urges other nuclear powers to join these far-reaching Soviet-US measures as regards tactical weapons.

Second. Like the US President, I call for the earliest possible ratification of the treaty on strategic offensive weapons. This issue will be discussed by the first session of the Soviet Supreme Soviet of new convocation.

Taking into account the unilateral steps on strategic offensive weapons announced by President George Bush, we will take the following measures:

- Our heavy bombers, like US ones, will be removed from alert, and their nuclear weapons will be stored.

- We will stop work on a new modified short-range missile for Soviet heavy bombers.

- The Soviet Union will stop work on a mobile small-size intercontinental ballistic missile.

- We will scrap plans to make new launchers for intercontinental ballistic missiles on rail cars and modernise them. Thus, the number of mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles with multiple individually targeted warheads will not increase.

- All our inter-continental ballistic missiles on rail cars will be returned to their storage.

- We will remove from day-to-day alert status 503 inter-continental ballistic missiles, including 134 inter-continental ballistic missiles with multiple individually targeted warheads.

- We have already removed from active forces three nuclear missile submarines with 44 launchers for submarine-based ballistic missiles and three more submarines with 48 launchers are now being removed.

Third. We will make more radical cuts in our strategic offensive weapons than the treaty on strategic offensive weapons envisages. As a result, in seven years, we will have 5000 nuclear warheads instead of 6000 envisaged by the treaty.

We would welcome reciprocal steps by the United States.

We propose that immediately after the ratification of the treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union begin negotiations on further radical cuts in strategic offensive weapons, approximately by 50 per cent.

We are ready to discuss US proposals on non-nuclear anti-aircraft systems.

We propose to study the possibility of creating joint systems to avert nuclear missile attacks with ground- and space-based elements.

Fourth. We declare an immediate one-year unilateral moratorium on nuclear weapons tests. We hope other nuclear powers will follow this path towards the earliest possible and full cessation of nuclear testing.

We hope to reach an agreement with the United States on a controlled cessation of the production of all fissionable materials for weapons.

Fifth. We are ready to begin a detailed dialogue with the United States on the development of safe and ecologically clean technologies to store and transport nuclear warheads, as well as methods to utilise nuclear explosive devices and increase nuclear safety.

To increase the safety of nuclear arms control, we put all strategic nuclear weapons under single control and include strategic defensive systems into a single armed service.

Sixth. We hope that eventually, other nuclear powers will follow the example of the United States and the Soviet Union.

I believe time has come for all nuclear powers to make a joint statement to keep them from making first nuclear strike. The Soviet Union has long been adherent to this principle.

I'm convinced the United States will take vital step by making such a commitment.

Seventh. We welcome the US plans to reduce its Armed Forces by 500 000 people.

We plan to reduce our Armed Forces by 700 000 people.

In conclusion, I would like to stress that taking unilateral and bilateral steps and holding negotiations, we push forward the process of disarmament, approaching the goal proclaimed in early 1986 - a nuclear-free, safer and more stable world.

The governments, experts and departments will have much to do in this field. It will be a new stage of international development on one of its major directions.

Therefore, a question about a new Soviet-US summit meeting may naturally emerge. I have just had a conversation with US President George Bush and told him about our reply to his initiative. We had a good discussion. The US President gave a positive assessment of our proposals and expressed satisfaction with our approach towards solving key problems in world politics.

Thank you. All the best to you.

Source: 'Statement made by President Mikhail Gorbachev on Soviet Television', TASS in Russian, 5 Oct. 1991, in Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Daily Report - Soviet Union (FBIS-SOV), FBIS-SOV-91-194, 7 Oct. 1991, pp. 2-3.