SCIENCE AND WEAPONS REVIEW CABLE, SW SWRC (DELETED) 26 AUGUST 1988

Created: 8/26/1988

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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SUBJECT: SCIENCE AND WEAPONS REVIEW CABLE, SW SWRC HmLVI0

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COMMENT:

SHEVARDNADZE'S SPEECH IS THE FIRST POSITIVE RESPONSE BY THE SOVIETS ABOUT THE SWEDISH INITIATIVE TO BAN ANTIPERSONNEL LASER WEAPONS. UP UNTIL SHEVARDNADZE'S RECENT UN STATEMENT, THE SOVIETS AND THEIR WARSAW PACT CLIENTS HAVE BEEN SILENT OR VERE NEGATIVE ON THIS ISSUE. ALTHOUGH SHEVARDNADZE'S STATEMENT VAS NOT AN UNEQUIVOCAL ENDORSEMENT OF TKE SWEDISH PROPOSAL, WE BELIEVE THAT THE STATEMENTENIOR SOVIET DIPLOMAT WILL ENCOURAGE THE SWEDES TO CONTINUE TO SEEK AND DEVELOP INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT FOR THIS PROPOSAL. THIS

DEVELOPMENT VOULD BE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE SOVIETS FOR TWO IMPORTANT REASONS.

FIRST, UNTIL THE STATEMENT BY SHEVARDNADZE, NO MAJOR POWER HAD ENDORSED THE SWEDISH PROPOSAL. IN FACT, IN PREVIOUS PRIVATE DISCUSSIONS, BOTH THE UNITED STATES AND THE USSR HAVE BEEN UNRECEPTIVE TO THE PROPOSAL, VITH THE SOVIETS ACKNOWLEDGING THE "IMPORTANCE OF THE PROPOSAL OF SWEDEN TO BAN THE USE OF BATTLEFIELD LASERHEY MAY BE

ATTEHPTING TO ASSUME THE "HIGH MORAL GROUND" IN THE EYES OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.

HOPE OF AT PROGRESS, IF NOT OUTRIGHT THIS TACTIC WOULD BE ESPECIALLY BECAUSE THEIR LASER WEAPONS NOT SUBJECT TO PUBLIC SCRUTIf COULD PROCEED UNHINDERED.

SECOND, STEADY ADVANCES BY MANY WESTERN NATIONS AMD THE USSR OVER THE LASTEARS IN DEVELOPING LASER TECHNOLOGY MAKES THE FEASIBILITY OF ANTISENSOR-BATTLEFIELD-LASEREALITY. THE SOVIETS, BY PUBLICLY ACKNOWLEDGING THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SWEDISH PROPOSAL, MAY BE ATTEMPTING TO COMPLICATE THE POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT FOR WESTERN MILITARY LASER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS THAT THEY PERCEIVE ARE LIKELY TO PROCEED INTO FULL-SCALE ENGINEERING DEVELOPMENT IN THE NEAR FUTURE. US RESEARCH AND WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS ARE MUCH MORE ACCESSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC SCRUTINY THAN IN THE USSR. THE SOVIETS MAY HOPE THEIR RECENT ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SWEDISH PROPOSAL WILL SUBJECT- US AND WEST EUROPEAN MILITARY LASER RESEARCH

TO CLOSER PUBLIC SCRUTINY AND DEBATE. WITH THE

LEAST DELAYING ONSET OR SLOWING

FORCING THEIR CANCELLATION.

Nrj

ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE SOVIETS

DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS ARE

OPEN DEBATE AND, THUS.

"TOPt"l

Original document.

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