Democratic Party Platform of 1980


Arms Control

The SALT II Treaty also serves our security interests. It is a vital step in an arms control process that can begin to lift from humanity the shadow of nuclear war. That process, also, must be sustained.

Soviet aggression against Afghanistan has delayed the course of ratification of the SALT II Treaty, but we must continue to pursue both security priorities: deterrence of Soviet aggression and balanced arms control agreements. Both the response to Afghanistan and the SALT II Treaty serve this purpose.

The SALT Treaty is in the U.S. interest because it is an important way of restraining Soviet behavior.

Without SALT II, the Soviets could have hundreds more missiles and thousands more nuclear warheads than the Treaty permits. Under the Treaty, they would have to eliminate many nuclear weapons they already have.

The Treaty helps sustain a strong American position in the world. Our Allies and other nations around the world know the SALT II Treaty serves their security interests as well as ours. American support for arms control is important to our standing in the international community, the same community that has rebuked the Soviets for their attempted suppression of Afghanistan. It is also important to our efforts to organize an enduring response to the growing threat to Europe of the Soviet SS-20 nuclear missiles and to Soviet aggression in Afghanistan.

Along with support for SALT, we seek to maintain a stable conventional and theater nuclear balance in Europe. We will support modernization programs in which European countries bear their fair share of the cost and other burdens. At the same time, we will ensure that no possibility for effective limits on theater nuclear weapons is left unexplored. The Democratic Administration will join with our NATO allies in making far-reaching, equitable, and verifiable proposals for nuclear and conventional arms control in Europe.

The Democratic Party wants an arms control process to continue, just as it wants to sustain strong policies against Soviet aggression in Afghanistan. We understand that both build peace and make our nation more secure. Accordingly, we must persist in a strong policy regarding the Soviet aggression, and we must seek ratification of SALT as soon as it is feasible.

A Democratic Administration will not accept an indefinite deferral of strategic arms control. On the basis of review and planning of U.S. security requirements in the coming decade, we are determined to pursue negotiations with the Soviet Union, aimed at the achievement of strategic stability and, for the first time, of major reductions and qualitative limits on strategic systems. The American SALT proposals in March 1977 were the first effort to seek such reductions, which remain the goal and justification of arms control. A Democratic Administration will treat the Soviet government’s readiness to negotiate verifiable, substantial and significant reductions and qualitativelimits as a test of its seriousness about arms control and the compatibility of its approach to arms control with that of the United States.

We will pursue other arms control opportunities that can enhance both our national security and the prospects of peace. In particular, the Democratic Administration will pursue a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Such a treaty is vital to our hopes to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Following the 1980 Review Conference on the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty, we will step up our efforts to expand adherence to the treaty, to strengthen international safeguards and controls over nuclear materials, equipment and technology, and to forestall the spread of nuclear explosive capabilities. In any peaceful nuclear supply, we will continue to seek the full application of international safeguards and undertakings not to explode nuclear devices.

We have placed significant limits on our conventional arms transfers and will vigorously press other arms suppliers and recipients to accept mutual restraints.

The Democratic Administration has increased our capacity to counter national terrorism, both on a national basis and in coordination with other governments, and to deal with acts of terrorism including hostage-taking committed either by individuals or by governments. We will strengthen multilateral arrangements for contingency planning, information sharing, military coordination, and the isolation of countries that harbor terrorists.


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Chicago: "Arms Control," Democratic Party Platform of 1980 in Donald B. Johnson, Ed. National Party Platforms, 1840–1976. Supplement 1980. (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois), Pp.41-42 42. Original Sources, accessed May 30, 2024,

MLA: . "Arms Control." Democratic Party Platform of 1980, in Donald B. Johnson, Ed. National Party Platforms, 1840–1976. Supplement 1980. (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois), Pp.41-42, page 42. Original Sources. 30 May. 2024.

Harvard: , 'Arms Control' in Democratic Party Platform of 1980. cited in , Donald B. Johnson, Ed. National Party Platforms, 1840–1976. Supplement 1980. (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois), Pp.41-42, pp.42. Original Sources, retrieved 30 May 2024, from