Updated: 31-Oct-2001 1983

[ '45-'49 | '50-'59 | '60-'69 | '70-'79 | '80-'89 | '90-'99 | '00- ]
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Although no early progress is made on the arms control part of the double-track decision, a number of initiatives are launched which are later to meet with success. On 18 November 1981, President Reagan outlines a framework for new negotiations with the Soviet Union on strategic weapons, now to be termed Strategic Arms Reduction Talks or START rather than SALT. For the first time, emphasis is to be placed on reductions, as opposed to limitations on new deployments. Talks are also to be held on Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF). Here, a zero option is proposed whereby the US would forgo its deployments of the Pershing and Cruise missiles if the USSR withdraws the SS-20s.

A number of other major issues are also debated within the Alliance, including the equitable sharing of the defence burden, particularly between the European and American allies; improving conventional defence, and strengthening the European pillar of the Alliance. France proposes that the Western European Union be revitalised and used as an instrument of cooperation between the member states within an Alliance framework.

Talks in Geneva between the United States and Soviet Union on Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces begin on 30 November 1981, and on START on 30 June 1982. When the first Cruise components arrive in the UK on 23 November 1983, marking the start of NATO's INF deployments, the Soviet Union walks out of the INF talks and, on 8 December, it leaves the START negotiations without setting a date for their resumption. On 15 December, it brakes off the protracted negotiations on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions, which had begun in Vienna in October 1973.


23 Mar

President Reagan announces a comprehensive research programme aimed at eliminating the threat posed by strategic nuclear missiles (Strategic Defence Initiative).

22 July

Ending of martial law in Poland. New laws reinforce government controls.

1 Sept

A South Korean airliner with 269 people on board is shot down by Soviet air defence off the coast of Sakhalin.

9 Sept

Conclusion of CSCE Follow-up Meeting in Madrid.

25 Oct

Military intervention in Grenada by United States and East Caribbean forces.

25 Oct-11 Nov

Preparatory meeting in Helsinki for Stockholm Conference on Security and Confidence Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe (CDE).

27 Oct

The Montebello Decision. Defence Ministers meeting in the NATO Nuclear Planning Group in Montebello, Canada announce their decision to withdraw a further 1400 warheads from Europe, bringing the total of such withdrawals since 1979 to 2400.

Additional information:

  • NATO Basic Texts: The Montebello Decision on Reductions of Nuclear Forces, announced by the Nuclear Planning Group in Ministerial Session

  • NATO Ministerial Communiqués: Final Communiqu of the Nuclear Planning Group
23 Nov

Deliveries of Ground-Launched Cruise Missile components to the United Kingdom mark the beginning of NATOs intermediate range nuclear force deployments (INF). Decision by the Soviet Union to discontinue the current round of negotiations in Geneva on intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF).

8 Dec

Conclusion of the current round of US-Soviet Geneva negotiations on Strategic Arms Reductions (START) without a date being set by the Soviet side for their resumption.

8-9 Dec

Foreign Ministers meeting in the Ministerial Session of the North Atlantic Council issue the Declaration of Brussels expressing their determination to seek a balanced and constructive relationship with the East and calling on the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Treaty countries to respond.

Additional information:

13 Dec

Formation of a civilian government in Turkey following parliamentary elections under a new constitution.