U.S. and Soviet negotiators Thursday reached agreement on all the technical issues that caused the Senate to postpone debate on a nuclear missile treaty before the Moscow summit, a senior U.S. official said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Reagan administration would report the results of Secretary of State George P. Shultz's meetings with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze to the Senate on Friday.The negotiators had disagreed over monitoring compliance with the treaty to scrap all American and Soviet medium- and shorter-range missiles. President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed the accord last Dec. 8.
It was not known whether the Senate would accept the agreement worked out over two days in Geneva. Shultz already has predicted further problems might arise in carrying out an unprecedented arrangement for on-site inspection of U.S. and Soviet missile plants and bases.
He refused to criticize the Soviets, as some senators had done, and suggested the difficulties were the logical outcome of grappling with new verification procedures.
Shultz flies to Brussels on Friday to report to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on his talks.
The dispute over how far American inspectors may go and what they may look at caused the U.S. Senate on Monday to postpone consideration of the treaty. The Moscow summit is scheduled for May 29-June 2.
While Shultz and Shevardnadze discussed the Middle East, the Iran-Iraq war and other regional issues, their senior arms control advisers worked on the technical issues.
Maynard Glitman, who negotiated the Intermediate Nuclear Forces, or INF treaty, led the U.S. team. Col. Gen. Nikolai Chervov, an arms control expert of the Soviet armed forces, headed the Soviet delegation.
The arms-control specialists reportedly reached a tentative agreement on the verification issues Wednesday night.
On Wednesday, the two ministers held "very businesslike and constructive talks" and made progress "in some areas," State Department spokesman Charles Redman said. The two met twice, in the afternoon and evening.
One of their first tasks was to instruct their arms control negotiators to conduct separate talks to try to resolve outstanding issues.
The Senate had been due to begin debate on the treaty this week, but postponed it indefinitely after the disputes arose.
Two principal stumbling blocks reportedly were among the issues settled Wednesday. One deals with U.S. demands to inspect Soviet missile containers big enough to hold only a stage of a rocket. The other involves how much access U.S. inspectors will have to Soviet missile plants and bases.
In another sign of progress, the two sides agreed on Wednesday to exchange notes on futuristic weapons. The aim is to persuade Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and other critics that the ban would apply to intermediate-range weapons that have not been developed yet.
The two sides also discussed prospects for a treaty reducing intercontinental nuclear forces, in a group headed by presidential arms control adviser Paul Nitze and chief Soviet arms control negotiatior Alexei Obukhov.
Shultz and Shevardnadze centered their talks Wednesday on scheduling and logistical arrangements for the summit. The two men also discussed human rights on Wednesday, Redman said, but he did not provide details.
The pact on intermediate-range missiles is unprecedented in its provisions for on-site inspection to guard against infractions. It also is the first U.S.-Soviet agreement to eliminate an entire category of nuclear weapons.
Under its provisions, the Soviets would destroy 683 missiles and the Americans 364 - all their rockets with ranges of 315 to 3,125 miles.