Formal INF-talks began in September 1981 with the US “zero-zero offer”, namely the complete elimination of all Western Pershing and Cruise, as well as Soviet SS-20, SS-4 and SS-5 missiles. The talks were suspended by the Soviet delegation in November 1983. In 1983/84, despite public protest, the US deployed INF systems in Western Europe.
In March 1986 negotiations between the US and the Soviet Union resumed, covering not only the INF issue but also separate discussions on reducing strategic weapon arsenals (Start 1) and space issues. In July 1985, Gorbachev announced a unilateral moratorium on testing nuclear weapons. In late 1985 both sides were moving towards limiting INF systems in Europe and Asia. On January 1, 1986, Gorbachev announced a Soviet proposal for a ban on all nuclear weapons by 2000, which included INF missiles in Europe.
This was dismissed by the US and countered with a phased reduction of INF launchers in Europe and Asia to none by 1989. A series of meetings in August and September 1986 culminated in the Reykjavik Summit between Reagan and Gorbachev in October 1986. Both agreed in principle to remove INF systems from Europe. Gorbachev also proposed deeper and more fundamental changes in the strategic relationship.
More detailed negotiations extended throughout 1987. The treaty text was finally agreed and signed during the Washington Summit. Meanwhile the ground was prepared for the reduction of strategic nuclear forces and conventional forces in Europe. Conventional force reduction talks were going on in Vienna.
PHOTO CREDITS: ALL Courtesy of Ronald Reagan Library and Museum.