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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 20, 1983


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    CPSU Central Committee and USSR Minister of Defense, Marshal of the Soviet Union D. F. Ustinov make a statement to Warsaw Treaty member states addressing the decision by the US and NATO to deploy new American medium-range missiles in Europe. He appeals for improvement of the Unified Forces.
    "Statement by CPSU Central Committee and USSR Minister of Defense, Marshal of the Soviet Union D. F. Ustinov, at the extraordinary session of the Committee of Defense Ministers of Warsaw Treaty Member States on 20 October 1983 [in Berlin]," October 20, 1983, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Federal Archives of Germany, Military Branch (BA-MA), Freiburg i. Br. Call Number: DVW 1/71040. Translated for CWIHP by Bernd Schaefer.
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[Federal Archives of Germany, Military Branch (BA-MA),
Freiburg i. Br. Call Number: DVW 1/71040]

Translation from Russian
Highly Confidential!

Statement by CPSU Central Committee and USSR Minister of Defense, Marshal of the Soviet Union D. F. Ustinov, at the extraordinary session of the Committee of Defense Ministers of Warsaw Treaty Member States on 20 October 1983 [in Berlin]


This extraordinary session of our committee is convened due to the grave escalation of the international situation and, in consequence, of the growing danger of war against the socialist community. It is due to the need to apply effective countermeasures to preserve the security of our states.

The source for the growing danger of war is evident. It was clearly defined at the Prague meeting of the Warsaw Treaty member states Political Consultative Committee, and at the Moscow meeting by the leading representatives of or states. This source consists of the openly aggressive policy from the United States and NATO against the USSR and the other countries of the socialist community, and against all progressive forces in the world.

A particular danger for the countries of the socialist community is the insistent effort by U.S. and NATO to deploy new American medium-range missiles in Europe. With this, the U.S. Administration and the highest representatives of leading NATO countries have openly declared the fight against the socialist community. They join a path of far-reaching war preparations against the Warsaw Treaty states.

Dangerous tendencies, both in aggressive intention and practical actions by Washington and NATO, get confirmed by an entire range of circumstances.

First, the “crusade” against communism and in fact against the USSR and the other countries of the socialist community, announced 1 ½ years ago by U.S. President Reagan, has not just stayed a slogan but became a program of action and basis for U.S. and NATO policy. Its main goal consists in is determination to “destroy socialism as a social-political system”. Nothing more, and nothing less.

And now both the political and military leaders of the U.S. are guided by this policy in their actual actions. The leaders of NATO countries also want to achieve the goals defined by this policy. These goals express themselves through all measures economic, political, and ideological, and military as pursued by U.S. and NATO. From appeals and slogans, the ultra-reactionary forces of imperialism have moved toward its actual implementation. This is where we see the particular threat to peace and the future of our planet.

Second, the U.S. and its NATO allies attempt with all their force to destroy the achieved military-strategic balance between USSR and USA, between the Warsaw Treaty and NATO. They bank on the buildup of new nuclear weapons systems, both strategic and medium-range - which are viewed as means for a first strike, the “decapitation strike”. Here we have the intercontinental ballistic missiles MX (they first want to deploy 100 and later 200 more), the first and second modification of the Trident systems (24 submarines), and the strategic bombers B-18 and B-52 with long-range cruise missiles. This way the number of warheads on strategic carriers will increase at the start [of a first strike] about 1.5 times, and it will consist of about 16,000 units (currently they have 11,000 units). There are also plans to install long-range cruise missiles on submarines and ships.

The American Pershing and cruise missiles scheduled for deployment in Europe are part of this strategy to reach superiority over the Warsaw Treaty countries and to conduct a nuclear first strike.

With unprecedented means and speed, U.S. and NATO are pushing the modernization of conventional armaments and general-purpose forces. Over the next years the battle options of ground forces and the fleets of NATO naval forces are supposed to grow by more than a quarter, and tactical aircraft forces are scheduled to increase 1.5 times. They have set course to supply their forces with new precision arms, automated drone strike capacities included, and other new systems which in their yield capacities come close to tactical nuclear weapons. As a result, the percentage of new armaments within NATO armies will increase year by year. Compared to overall military expenditures, investments in these areas of modernization will grow faster.

They are about to develop plans to militarize space.

In one word: Currently there is no direction of military efforts, and no type of armaments, where U.S. and NATO do not strive for superiority and follow a mission to overtake the USSR and Warsaw Treaty countries at any cost in order to create an unfavorable situation for us.

With unprecedented speed, the U.S. and NATO increase their appropriations for war preparations in order to receive ever more billions for their goals. The Reagan administration is anything but shy to use all means, lies, propaganda, pressure, and blackmail at its disposal. An example was the large-scale provocation, intentionally schemed up by U.S. intelligence services, by a South Korean airliner in Soviet airspace in the Far East. Right after this provocation and literally one day later, massive anti-Soviet propaganda enabled the American ‘hawks' in the U.S. to get the colossal 1984 military budget of over 280 billion dollar through Congress. This amount almost doubles U.S. military spending from just about three to four years ago!

Some NATO allies of the U.S. are no less eager to contribute towards war preparations against the USSR and the other countries of the socialist community. One just has to mention that the pace of growth in military spending by Western European countries was two- to three-fold in recent years.

Third, the U.S. administration and NATO leaders maneuver by any means to have their hands free for increased war preparations. At the same time, they are eager to evade honest negotiations about the cessation of the arms race, and about arms limitations. Since the current U.S. administration came into power, due to its fault all negotiations over these extraordinarily important issues have been interrupted or moved into a dead end. We even must say that the U.S. only came to negotiations over limitations of nuclear forces in Europe due to pressure by Soviet initiatives and global public opinion. Currently the Americans abuse these negotiations for the betrayal of peoples and a fake show according to which the U.S. allegedly also wants arms reduction. In reality, “our negotiation partners”, as Comrade [CPSU General Secretary Yuri] Andropov recently declared, are by no means in Geneva to reach an agreement. Their task is different – they want to buy time and then deploy ballistic Pershing-2 missiles and long-range cruise missiles”.

The so-called U.S. flexibility in these negotiations is also worthless. It actually boils down to a juggling with numbers in the sense of how many missiles the USSR must reduce. and how mane American missiles are to deploy in Europe.

The lack of any good will on the U.S. side to conduct negotiations and reach arms limitation agreements on the basis of parity and equal security results in the opening of every new channel to build more arms.

Under these circumstances the likeliness of unpredictably dangerous events is increasing. If the policy of the U.S. and other NATO countries will not change, the world will be pushed more and more towards a fateful line whose crossing can result in the unleashing of a nuclear catastrophe.

Fourth, in synchronization with the arms build-up by the U.S. and NATO the scope of their military exercises expands year after year. They are arranged with wide territorial expansion from the Arctic Sea to the Mediterranean, from the depths of U.S. territory to the borders of the countries of the socialist community. […]

Fifth, the U.S. and NATO have launched a limitless “psychological” offensive against the USSR and the countries of the socialist community. It aims at preparing broad public opinion for the inevitability to prepare for the fight against socialism and communism by military means. It aims at deceiving the peoples and camouflaging the true desire of imperialist reaction for global domination. This is why they pursue the deeply inhuman slander and lies, even vulgar hollering against the socialist countries. This is also the source for large-scale ideological diversion, blackmail, and provocative acts against the countries of the socialist community.

Manipulation of people in their own countries, ideological diversion and blackmail against the countries of the socialist community have become in the U.S. and NATO countries a part of official government policy and an important element for war preparation.

All this serves as evidence for a wide-ranging and targeted preparation for an aggression against the USSR and other Warsaw Treaty countries by the imperialist reactionary circles of United States and NATO. With blind imperialist lunacy they openly talk about conducting a nuclear war to reach their selfish goal, namely the achievement of global domination. Policy and actions by the current U.S. administration and some NATO politicians represent extraordinary great danger for the security of the countries of the socialist community and entire mankind.

In July [1983] already Comrade Andropov made it absolutely clear in his meeting with FRG Chancellor Kohl: “If there will be a deployment [of U.S. missiles in Europe], then we will not cede our position and weaken our defense. We will implement timely and efficient countermeasures to guarantee the security of the USSR and its allies”.

The leading representatives from parties and states of the socialist community have stated their firm and unshakeable position at their Moscow meeting where they declared the Warsaw Treaty countries “will not under any circumstances tolerate a military superiority of others”. Yet the leaders from the NATO bloc did not respond to our warnings at all. Even now they do not display even most basic reason in their decisions. They remain deaf to our constructive proposals guided by sincere efforts to reach agreement on treaties to limit nuclear armaments.

In recognition of its responsibility toward its fraternal countries and the entire world, and to prevent a nuclear catastrophe, the Soviet Union is undertaking everything to create a real balance against U.S. attempts to shift the balance of strategic arms.

However, we do not strive for nuclear superiority and will not tolerate the abuse of nuclear blackmail to implement a policy of strength against us. To each attempt to destroy the existing military-strategic balance, the Soviet Union will give an appropriate response. For us, words and deeds are identical.

In response to the deployment of American medium-range missiles in Europe we will apply required and efficient measures. The USSR will abandon its moratorium of deploying its medium-range missiles in the European part of the Soviet Union. It will begin with additional deployment of such missiles, land-based cruise missiles included. We will also strengthen clusters of our long-range operative-tactical missiles.

We will also implement measures to make it transparently clear how frightening U.S. considerations actually are pertaining to the geographical remoteness of its territory.

The Soviet government will undertake everything to ensure permanent combat readiness of USSR forces, in particular for those units within the Unified Command [of the Warsaw Pact] commissioned to act in the Western and Southwestern theater of war, against a strong and technologically well-equipped adversary. Those units will be preferably treated with the most modern armaments.

It is obvious that these measures will not come along easy for us. Notwithstanding this, the USSR makes those major efforts and expenditures since the question of maintaining reliable security for our state and all states of the socialist community, as well as the guarantee of socialism's existence as a social-political system, is at stake.

In fulfillment of its internationalist duty, the Soviet Union will continue in the future to increase the combat strength of its forces in the interest of our common defense. In the current situation we also expect an increase in contributions from our friends to the common cause of increasing defense capabilities of the socialist community.
The solution of the main problem – improvement of technical equipment for the Unified Forces – requires s series of measures. On one hand combat strengths of fraternal armies can be decisively improved through deliveries of most modern technology and armament from Soviet production what were presented to you this summer. Such modern equipment represents more than one third (about 35 percent) of all arms slated for the equipment of allied armies and naval forces.

On the other hand it is mandatory to exploit the developed economic basis of the countries of the socialist communist in a more complete way.

We must achieve that the Unified Forces of the Warsaw Treaty and allied armies are not just in no way inferior to the probable adversary - neither in armaments, nor in training, nor in combat readiness; but that they are superior to this adversary.

Our repeated appeals to the leadership of U.S. and NATO on the highest level, with the explicit admonition to weigh soberly and objectively the dangerous tendencies in the present development of international relations and draw reasonable conclusions meeting broad interests of mankind, are hitting a wall of muteness.

The Reagan administration and the governments of leading NATO countries have decided to begin the deployment of American missiles in Europe at any cost without taking into account the dangerous consequences of this lunatic move. Now they are enforcing realization of their intended plan. Major parts of equipment and the first series of missiles will be delivered to the bases in Italy, England and the FRG in November already. Final construction to build infrastructure on these bases is already completed, and they have started to train personnel.

If there will be no agreement in Geneva until the end of the current year, and U.S. and NATO will not refrain from the already confirmed dates for the deployment of new American medium-range missiles, then negotiations over nuclear arms limitation in Europe will be devoid of any purpose. […]

On 5 January 1983 the leading representatives of our states made in Prague the unanimous decision to issue a clear order to the Unified Command and the Defense Ministries to continuously and attentively monitor war preparations by the U.S. and its allies. They were ordered to work out and implement measures in time to safeguard a reliable defense capability of Warsaw Treaty members and to keep the Unified Forces on a high level of combat readiness. And it is our duty to fulfill this order given to us exactly and with honor. Nobody will relieve us, the military, from this task.

And this is no accidental mood held by one man [referring to himself, B.S.] but a vital necessity. It is the demand coming from the military-political situation we have. Any deviation from this course is dangerous to our peoples and countries.
[Translated for CWIHP by Bernd Schaefer]