The exchange of arms-control verification teams planned under the proposed Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty indicates a growing confidence and trust in the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union, a Soviet official said.
Igor Khripunov, first secretary at the Soviet Embassy in Washington, was among Soviet officials who toured Park City Tuesday as part of the preparation for a Soviet inspection team to be stationed in Salt Lake County under the proposed treaty.The treaty "demonstrates the bilateral relationship between our two countries is moving into a new stage, leaving behind a prolonged period of confrontation," Khripunov said.
He expressed optimism that the confidence and trust developed in negotiating and verifying compliance with this treaty would generate a new wave of understanding that would lead to other arms-control treaties.
He likened the arms-control effort to endeavors of Mormon settlers.
"I saw a pioneer museum when I was here the first time (in February)," he said. "That same pioneer spirit is here now. This is a trail-blazing experience making preparations for a first-of-a-kind treaty to eliminate a certain kind of nuclear weapon."
The visit to this ski resort community was to acquaint the Soviets with some of the recreational possibilities that would be available to inspectors within a 31-mile radius of the Hercules Inc. Bacchus East Plant in West Valley City southwest of Salt Lake City.
The Soviets would verify Pershing 2 missiles no longer were being produced at Hercules, while a U.S. team would be stationed at Votkinsk to make sure SS-20 missiles no longer were being assembled.
The Soviet group spent a relaxed afternoon, looking at storefront windows along Main Street and eating lunch at a Mexican-food restaurant.
They were particularly amused by a window display of a stuffed rattlesnake next to a pair of rattlesnake cowboy boots. They laughed and pointed at the snake. A U.S. official later said that when the Soviets toured the grassy perimeter of the Hercules plant Monday, they had been warned about rattlesnakes.
Asked if U.S. inspectors would face similar dangers at Votkinsk, near the Ural Mountains, Khripunov said, "We can't offer anything as exciting as rattlesnakes. Just cold and snow, I guess."
Two of the Soviet officials passed up the Park City tour Tuesday to again visit the Hercules perimeter, as Monday's inspection had been conducted in poor, rainy weather.
Hercules provided briefings on federal and state regulations that must be met in construction of the inspection station. The inspectors will have to wear special conductive shoes around certain pieces of machinery leaving the Hercules plant to avoid damage from static electricity.