Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

From Academic Kids

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was an agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union signed in Washington, D.C. on December 8, 1987 by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. It was ratified by the United States Senate on May 27, 1988 and came into force on June 1 of that year.

The treaty eliminated nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (300-3,400 miles). By the treaty's deadline of June 1, 1991, a total of 2,692 of such weapons had been destroyed, 846 by the U.S. and 1846 by the Soviet Union. Also under the treaty, both nations were allowed to inspect each other's military installations. The full title of the agreement is The Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles.

History

The agreement was stimulated by the Soviet deployment of their SS-20 missile from 1975 and the US response. The SS-20 replaced existing SS-4 and SS-5 missiles. The longer range, greater accuracy, mobility and striking power of the new missile was perceived to alter the security of Western Europe. After discussions, NATO agreed to a two part strategy - firstly to pursue arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union to reduce their and the American INF arsenals; secondly to deploy in Europe from 1983 up to 464 ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCM) and 108 Pershing II ballistic missiles.

Despite dissatisfaction with the deployment of US weapons in Europe, the Soviet Union agreed to open negotiations and preliminary discussions began in Geneva in 1980. Formal talks began in September 1981 with the US "zero-zero offer" - the complete elimination of all Pershing, GLCM, SS-20, SS-4 and SS-5 missiles. Following disagreement over the exclusion of British and French delivery systems, the talks were suspended by the Soviet delegation in November, 1983. In 1984, despite public protest, the US began to deploy INF systems in West Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

In March 1985 negotiations between the US and the Soviet Union resumed, covering not only the INF issue but also separate discussions on strategic weapons (START) and space issues (NST). In late 1985 both sides were moving towards limiting INF systems in Europe and Asia. On January 15, 1986, Gorbachev announced a Soviet proposal for a ban on all nuclear weapons by 2000, which included INF missiles in Europe. This was dismissed by the US and countered with a phased reduction of INF launchers in Europe and Asia to none by 1989. There would be no constraints on British and French nuclear forces.

A series of meetings in August and September 1986 culminated in a summit between Reagan and Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland, on October 11 1986. To the immense surprise of both men's advisors the two agreed in principle to removing INF systems from Europe and to equal global limits of 100 INF missile warheads. Gorbachev also proposed deeper and more fundamental changes in the strategic relationship.

More detailed negotiations extended throughout 1987, aided by the decision of Helmut Kohl in August to unilaterally remove the joint US-German Pershing IA systems in his country. The treaty text was finally agreed in September 1987.

Specific missiles destroyed:

External links

nl:INF

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