Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 228

A group of Russian generals and admirals, chaired by Duma Defense Committee chairman Gen. (retired) Lev Rokhlin, held a press conference in Moscow yesterday to publicize a two-month old statement by senior officers from around the world that calls for scrapping nuclear weapons. The document was developed in October at the San Francisco "State of the World Forum," sponsored by the Gorbachev Foundation, and was said to have been signed by more than 60 international senior officers, including 18 from the U.S. and 17 from Russia.

Some of these military men are apparently having second thoughts. Retired Gen. Boris Gromov, now also a member of the Duma’s Defense Committee, attended the Moscow meeting and was listed by the London Times as one of the document’s signatories. However, he claimed not to have signed it and noted that he did not attend the San Francisco meeting. Citing possible NATO encroachment on Russia’s borders, Gromov described the notion of nuclear disarmament as "premature." (Interfax, December 5) Rokhlin had similar views: he welcomed the idea of nuclear disarmament but said a new international security structure could not be built unilaterally and that Russia’s interest must be taken into account. (Itar-Tass, December 5)

The same caution was expressed on the other side of the Atlantic. U.S. defense secretary William Perry used the occasion to call for speedy Russian ratification of the START-2 nuclear arms reduction treaty. He told reporters that he did not believe in "unilaterally eliminating our nuclear weapons. You cannot uninvent the nuclear bomb." Perry said that the U.S. would be willing to start negotiations on further strategic nuclear cuts — START III — immediately after Russia had ratified START II. (Reuters, December 5)

Arms Exporters Believe They Are on a Roll.