Opinion

Robert L. Barry, 89, Diplomat Who Negotiated Pact With Soviets, Dies

Robert L. Barry, an American diplomat who was the chief U.S. negotiator in reaching a key military agreement with the Soviet Union near the end of the Cold War, died on March 11 at his home in Newton, Mass. He was 89.

His wife, Margaret Barry, said the cause was multi-infarct dementia.

Mr. Barry led a U.S. negotiating team at a security conference in Stockholm in the summer of 1986, when he and his Soviet counterpart, Oleg Grinevsky, reached an accord on troop inspections that American officials regarded as important in reducing East-West tensions.

The agreement established that NATO and Warsaw Pact members would have to notify each other at least 42 days in advance if they were planning military activities with at least 13,000 troops or 300 tanks. In addition, any country planning military maneuvers involving 17,000 or more soldiers would have to invite nations that had participated in the Stockholm conference to observe.

“We have taken an important step toward reducing the risk of military confrontation,” Mr. Barry told reporters after the accord was struck. The subsequent calm bore out his remarks.

It was the first East-West security agreement since the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty on nuclear weapons signed by Jimmy Carter and Leonid I. Brezhnev in 1979.

Mr. Barry kept a photograph in his bedroom that depicted the celebratory vodka toast he shared with Mr. Grinevsky.

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