NATO on Friday issued estimates showing the Warsaw Pact holds a huge military advantage in Europe on the ground and in the air and challenged it to disclose the size of its conventional forces.
In a report outlining its future position in East-West arms negotiations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization gave estimates that showed the Soviet bloc with more men, tanks and aircraft across the continent.Officials hope the 28-page report - the first non-nuclear force appraisal issued by NATO since 1984 - will steal back some of the public relations ground lost to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev over arms control.
"We hope with our initiative to persuade the Warsaw Pact to follow up their recent declaration of willingness to provide data by actually doing so," said NATO Secretary-General Manfred Woerner, unveiling the report at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Woerner told a news conference that the report, titled "Conventional Forces in Europe: The Facts," was being handed over to Warsaw Pact representatives in Vienna on Friday.
"Our intention is to further the course of military transparency and openness. I would like again to appeal to Mr. Gorbachev to match his words with deeds," he said.
The report, also released in allied capitals, gives a country-by-country breakdown of men and key categories of weapons for the 16 NATO and seven Warsaw Pact members deployed in an area from the Atlantic to the Urals as of last January.
It puts the Warsaw Pact's main battle tanks at 51,500 compared with NATO's 16,400, combat aircraft at 8,250 to NATO's 4,000 and troop strength at more than three million compared to about 2.2 million on the Alliance side.
NATO says that in its forthcoming Conventional Stability Talks (CST) with Warsaw Pact states, it wants to eliminate disparities in heavy weapons systems capable of launching a surprise attack and holding territory.