Democratic Party Platform of 1984


Arms Control and Disarmament

Ronald Reagan is the first American President in over twenty years who has not reached any significant arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, and he is the first in over fifty years who has not met face to face with Soviet leaders. The unjustified Soviet walkout from key nuclear talks does not excuse the arms control failures of the Administration.

To reopen the dialogue, a Democratic President will propose an early summit with regular annual summits to follow with the Soviet leaders, and meetings between senior civilian and military officials, in order to reduce tensions and explore possible formal agreements. In a Democratic Administration, the superpowers will not communicate through megaphones.

A new Democratic Administration will implement a strategy for peace which makes arms control an integral part of our national security policy. We must move the world back from the brink of nuclear holocaust and set a new direction toward an enduring peace, in which lower levels of military spending will be possible. Our ultimate aim must be to abolish all nuclear weapons in a world safe for peace and freedom.

This strategy calls for immediate steps to stop the nuclear arms race, medium-term measures to reduce the dangers of war, and long-term goals to put the world on a new and peaceful course.

The first practical step is to take the initiative, on January 20, 1985, to challenge the Soviets to halt the arms race, quickly. As President Kennedy successfully did in stopping nuclear explosions above ground in 1963, a Democratic President will initiate temporary, verifiable, and mutual moratoria, to be maintained for a fixed period during negotiations so long as the Soviets do the same, on the testing of underground nuclear weapons and anti-satellite weapons; on the testing and deployment of all weapons in space; on the testing and deployment of new strategic ballistic missiles now under development; and on the deployment of nuclear-armed, sea-launched cruise missiles.

These steps should lead promptly to the negotiation of a comprehensive, mutual and verifiable freeze on the testing, production, and deployment of all nuclear weapons.

Building on this initiative, the Democratic President will:

—update and resubmit the SALT II Treaty to the Senate for its advice and consent.—pursue deep, stabilizing reductions in nuclear arsenals within the framework of SALT II, in the meantime observing the SALT II limits ourselves and insisting that the Soviets do likewise.—propose the merging of the intermediate-range and strategic arms limitations negotiations, if the President judges that this could advance a comprehensive arms limitation agreement with the Soviet Union.—immediately resubmit to the Senate for its advice and consent the 1974 Threshold Test Ban Treaty and the 1976 Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty.—conclude a verifiable and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.—reaffirm our commitment to the ABM Treaty, ensure U.S. compliance, and vigorously demand answers to questions about Soviet compliance through the Standing Consultative Commission and other appropriate channels.—actively pursue a verifiable, anti-satellite weapons treaty and ban on weapons in space.—seek a verifiable international ban on the production of nuclear weapons-grade fissile material, such as plutonium and highly enriched uranium. —undertake all-out efforts to halt nuclear proliferation. —terminate production of the MX missile and the B-1 bomber.—prohibit the production of nerve gas and work for a verifiable treaty banning chemical weapons.—establish U.S. nuclear risk reduction centers and other improved communications for a crisis.—invite the most eminent members of the scientific community to study and report on the worldwide human suffering and the long-term environmental damage which would follow in the days after a nuclear war, and take into account as fully as possible the results of such study in the formulation of our nuclear weapons and arms control policies.—strengthen broad-based, long-term public support for arms control by working closely with leaders of grass-roots, civic, women’s, labor, business, religious and professional groups, including physicians, scientists, lawyers, and educators.—provide national leadership for economic adjustment for affected communities and industries, and retraining for any defense workers affected by the termination or cutbacks in weapons programs.—initiate, in close consultation with our NATO allies, a strategy for peace in Europe including:—achieving a balance of conventional forces in order to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons and to permit the Atlantic Alliance to move toward the adoption of a "no first use" policy;—mutually pulling back battlefield nuclear weapons from the front lines of Europe, in order to avoid the necessity of having to make a "use them or lose them" choice should hostilities erupt in Europe;—negotiating new approaches to intermediate nuclear force limits along the lines of the "walk in the woods" proposal, and then seeking to move closer to zero INF deployments by the U.S. and U.S.S.R.;—negotiating significant mutual and balanced reductions in conventional forces of both NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and confidence-building measures to reduce the dangers of a surprise attack.

We are under no illusion that these arms control proposals will be easy to achieve. Most will involve patience and dedication, and above all leadership in the pursuit of peace, freedom, and security. The Soviets are tough negotiators and too often seek to use arms control talks for propaganda purposes. On this issue—preventing nuclear war—America must lead, and the Democratic Party intends to lead. Without our leadership the nations of the world will be tempted to abandon themselves, perhaps slowly at first, but then relentlessly to the quest for nuclear weapons, and our children will look back with envy upon today’s already dangerous nuclear world as a time of relative safety.


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Chicago: "Arms Control and Disarmament," Democratic Party Platform of 1984 in Democratic National Committee, Democratic Party Platform, 1984, Pp.40-41 41. Original Sources, accessed April 22, 2024,

MLA: . "Arms Control and Disarmament." Democratic Party Platform of 1984, in Democratic National Committee, Democratic Party Platform, 1984, Pp.40-41, page 41. Original Sources. 22 Apr. 2024.

Harvard: , 'Arms Control and Disarmament' in Democratic Party Platform of 1984. cited in , Democratic National Committee, Democratic Party Platform, 1984, Pp.40-41, pp.41. Original Sources, retrieved 22 April 2024, from