New Forest East



The Times – 30 December 1987

In attempting to criticise your words of caution on nuclear disarmament, CND Vice-President Frank Allaun (December 19) describes the INF (Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces) deal as "historic" and predicts that "further progress can only be achieved" by similar concessions on both sides. Yet, let us remember that this is the deal which was implicit from the outset in NATO's December 1979 "dual-track" decision to deploy cruise and Pershing II missiles unless an INF agreement could be reached.

The CND's revival, which did not get under way until 1980, was designed precisely to prevent NATO INF deployments  – whether or not the comparable Soviet missiles remained in place. Thus, when President Reagan made the "Zero Option" offer explicit in November 1981, the CND declared it to be "mainly about propaganda and not about disarmament"; criticised the fact that "Reagan has not offered to remove one single nuclear weapon from Europe"; and predicted that the Soviet Union was not likely to agree to it (Morning Star, November 19, 1981).

As grassroots level, CND activists repeatedly sneered at any suggestion that the "Zero Option" should be supported – until, of course, Mr Gorbachev belatedly took it up.

It is thus rather late in the day for Frank Allaun to bestow praise upon a deal which has been on offer in essence since 1979, and which he and his unilateralist colleagues in the CND would have rendered impossible if they had succeeded in their aim of preventing NATO's INF deployments irrespective of the Soviet missiles targeted against Western Europe.

The Coalition for Peace Through Security
London SE1