USSR (Ministerial Visit)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd March 1988.

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Photo of Mr David Mellor Mr David Mellor , Putney 12:00 am, 2nd March 1988

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Why have the Soviets spent 15 years at the mutual and balanced force reductions talks and failed to agree a mandate on these issues? They do not even tell us exactly what their conventional strength is, but it is clear that they have 51,000 tanks pushed forward, many of them 600 miles from the border of the Soviet Union, and last year they produced some 3,400 tanks, 30 per cent. more than in 1983. That is the reality of the build-up of Soviet conventional forces. Until they are prepared to tackle that seriously and to bring about a reduction there can be no security and no reduction of tension in Europe.