Courtesy Reuters

Europe and America: The Future of SALT and Western Security in Europe

The problem of including medium-range nuclear missiles in an eventual SALT III negotiation is bound to become, in the coming months and probably years, one of the basic issues between the Western nations and the Soviet Union on the one hand, and within the Atlantic Alliance on the other, as well as a problem of internal policy for a good many European nations.

This, in itself, is already a new phenomenon. Up till recently, questions related to doctrine of use or the deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe have not been subjects of public debate and, on the whole, were decided upon by the United States. Only France, at the beginning of the 1960s, made objections to the concept of flexible response (although not proposing another solution). But since she left the integrated military organization in 1966, it looks as if the most perfect harmony of views has prevailed in the Defense Planning Committee or the Nuclear Planning Group of the Alliance.

As for the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, although they concern one leg of the triad on which European security is founded (conventional forces, theater nuclear forces, and strategic forces) and the most important component of deterrence, the consultations in NATO, from 1969 right to the present, have been more in the nature of a sharing of information by the U.S. representatives than of a discussion among equally interested partners. The Europeans have in the main left it to Washington to take care of the interests of the West as long as forward-based systems were excluded-that is, the aircraft stationed in Western Europe (land-based or on carriers) but capable, in terms of range, of reaching the territory of the Soviet Union, and above all the strategic nuclear systems of France and the United Kingdom.

In the last two or three years, however, the issue has moved into the so-called gray area, of possible additional weapons deployed within the territory of the West European members of NATO but capable of reaching the

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