Bush, Kohl say zero option is best
BONN — German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Vice President George Bush stressed their governments' commitment to zero option as the best solution at the Geneva disarmament talks.
After private talks described as "warm and candid," Kohl called the Monday meeting the high point in recent talks begun with U.S. disarmament negotiator Paul Nitze.
The talks were to discuss East-West relations and to formulate a policy on disarmament, Kohl said. He stressed the importance of President Reagan and Soviet leader Yuri Andropov holding a meeting.
Bush said Reagan is willing to explore any serious Soviet suggestions on disarmament.
"Zero option is a valid, moral position. What could be better than to banish a generation of weapons from the Earth?" Bush said. Both governments are awaiting an indication from the Soviets that they are willing to seriously negotiate, Kohl said.
Kohl said he is certain that the United States is doing all it can in Geneva to reach an agreement on disarmament.
Of the U.S. troops in Germany, Kohl said, "Their service is also a service to the freedom of Germany." He said he and the German people condemn terrorist attacks on U.S. servicemembers.
Kohl closed by saying that he is looking forward to seeing Bush again in Krefeld, Germany, on June 25. At that time, the two are scheduled to take part in the tricentennial celebration of German immigration to the United States.
Bush said the purpose of his trip was the German-American joint effort to reduce weapons not only in Europe but also in the rest of the world.
Calling the German-American relationship essential to peace in Europe, Bush said it is based on the shared values of democratic institutions and human rights.
On Monday afternoon, on his arrival in Berlin, Bush said: "As an American who arrived here 20 years ago, this is the city of the proud and courageous who keep watch at the gate.
"Berlin has a special place in our hearts.
"Those who treasure freedom treasure Berlin, for no other city in the last four decades has so bravely stood up against the forces of oppression," he said.