By François de Rose (auth.)

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To define as clearly as possible the change that is required in our approach to the problem, let us examine a remark made by M. Mauroy in September 1981: 'Aggression against France does not begin when an enemy penetrates French territory'. The sentence indicated that France might consider that her vital interests were at stake even when the enemy was still at some distance from her borders. It was meant to reassure France's allies with the prospect ofa possible expansion of the conditions in which she would feel involved to the extent of using her strategic forces.

Moscow asserts the contrary as regards intercontinental strategic weapons, and some voices in the peace and disarmament movements are even heard denying Warsaw Pact superiority in the field of conventional weapons. With each side accusing the other of misinformation, it is difficult for the ordinary citizen to form an opinion. Perhaps one only has to look at the arguments put forward on each side to judge the validity of a thesis by the rigour of the reasoning which supports it. The problem of the balance between the two superpowers in terms of intercontinental strategic weapons does not concern us here.

But even the conditions laid down by the two European governments, if they were met, would not be sufficient. If and when British and French weapons were to be included in negotiations, why should they accept a definition of what is to be negotiated that would only meet Soviet requirements? If the 32 European Security and France Kremlin argues that it is the capacity of French and British systems which makes them appropriate to be included in negotiation, France and Britain should, for their part, and as European powers, insist that all Soviet nuclear weapons capable of reaching territories in Western Europe (theirs and those of their allies) be similarly drawn into the equation.

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