Statement on the Arms
Control Provisions of the 1988 - 1989 Defense Authorization Bill
October 2, 1987
today the U.S. Senate passed the defense authorization bill for fiscal years
1988 - 1989. Included in this bill are specific provisions which undercut my
efforts to negotiate equitable and verifiable arms reductions and undermine U.S. national security. The
first legislates unilateral U.S. adherence to the narrow
interpretation of the ABM treaty, despite the fact that a broader one is fully justified.
A broader interpretation would enable us to save time and money in developing
effective defenses against a potential Soviet missile attack. The second
provision would force the United States to comply with certain
provisions of the unratified and expired SALT II
agreement, which was negotiated by the last administration.
bill that includes these provisions will be vetoed. These amendments would
undermine our negotiators in Geneva at a particularly
crucial time. I regret the action of the Senate, and I commend all Senators who
had the courage to vote against passage of the bill on these grounds. This vote
by the Senate is particularly ironic in view of the actions taken in recent
days by the Soviet
close to U.S. territory. We have protested
these Soviet actions as both unacceptable to this country and inconsistent with
General Secretary Gorbachev's claim to seek a
long-term improvement in our relationship.
Note: The President
referred to the test-firing of two Soviet ICBM missiles over the Pacific Ocean. The
dummy warhead of one of the missiles landed within 500 miles of Hawaii.