The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial Session at
Brussels on 3rd and 4th December, 1970. Foreign, Defence and
Finance Ministers were present.
- Ministers again stated that the political purpose of the
Alliance is the common search for peace through initiatives
aiming at the relaxation of tension and the establishment of a
just and lasting peaceful order in Europe, accompanied by
appropriate security guarantees.
- The Council received a statement from President Nixon which
pledged that, given a similar approach by the other Allies, the
United States would maintain and improve its own forces in
Europe and would not reduce them except in the context of
reciprocal East-West action. Ministers expressed their profound
satisfaction at the reaffirmation of Alliance solidarity
expressed in this statement.
- Ministers reviewed the international situation as it had
developed since their last meeting in May in Rome. They noted
that 1970 had been a year of extensive diplomatic activity by
member governments of the Alliance to initiate or intensify
contacts, discussions and negotiations with the members of the
Warsaw Pact and with other European countries. Ministers paid
particular attention to the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks,
the Treaties negotiated by the federal Republic of Germany with
the Soviet Union and Poland, intra-German relations, Berlin and
the situation in the Mediterranean
- Ministers welcomed the
resumption at Helsinki in November of the negotiations between
the United States and the USSR on Strategic Arms Limitations.
They expressed the hope that the talks would lead, at an early
date, to an agreement strengthening peace and security in Europe
and in the world.
- Ministers noted with satisfaction the signing of the Treaty
between the Federal Republic of Germany and the USSR on 12th
August, 1970, and the initialing of the Treaty between the
Federal Republic of Germany and the Polish People's Republic on
18th November, 1970. They welcomed these Treaties as contributions toward reduction of tensions in Europe and as
important elements of the modus vivendi which the Federal
Republic of Germany wishes to establish with its Eastern
neighbors. Ministers noted the clarification's made in the
context of the Treaties, and reflected in the exchanges of notes
between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Three Powers, to
the effect that quadripartite rights and responsibilities for
Berlin and Germany as a whole remain unaffected pending a peace
settlement which would be based on the free decision of the
German people and on the interests of European security.
Ministers welcomed the beginning of an exchange of views between
the Federal Republic of Germany and the GDR and expressed the
hope that this exchange will prepare the ground for genuine
negotiations between the two. Ministers reviewed the development
of the quadripartite talks in Berlin.
- In considering the situation with regard to Berlin and Germany, Ministers recalled their statement in the Brussels Declaration of 5th December, 1969 (paragraph 10) to the effect that concrete progress in both these fields would constitute an important contribution to peace and would have great weight in their evaluation of the prospects for improving East-West relations in Europe. Indeed, these prospects would be put in question failing a satisfactory outcome to the current Berlin negotiations. With this in mind, Ministers stressed the importance of securing unhindered access to Berlin, improved circulation within Berlin and respect by all for the existing ties between the Western sectors of Berlin and the Federal Republic of Germany which have been established with the approval of the Three Powers. They underlined the need for an understanding between the Federal Republic of Germany and the GDR on a negotiated settlement of their mutual relations which would take account of the special features of the situation in Germany.
- Ministers took note of a report on the situation in the
Mediterranean prepared on their instructions by the Council in
Permanent Session. They noted that the evolution of events in
the area gives cause for concern and justifies careful vigilance
on the part of the Allies. They recommended that consultations
on this question should continue, and they invited the Council
in Permanent Session to keep the situation under review and to
report fully thereon at their next meeting.
- As a result of their review of the international situation
and its positive and negative aspects, Ministers emphasized that
these developments in Europe and the Mediterranean all affect
the Alliance directly or indirectly, and have a bearing on the
possibilities of reducing tensions and promoting peace.
- Ministers noted that the initiatives which had been taken by
Allied Governments had already achieved certain results which
constituted some progress in important fields of East-West
relations. Nevertheless their hope had been that more
substantial progress would have been recorded in bilateral
exploratory contacts and in the on-going negotiations, so that
active consideration could have been given to the institution of
broad multilateral contacts which would deal with the
substantial problems of security and co-operation in Europe.
They affirmed the readiness of their governments, as soon as the
talks on Berlin have reached a satisfactory conclusion and in so
far as the other on-going talks are proceeding favorably, to
enter into multilateral contacts with all interested governments
to explore when it would be possible to convene a conference, or
a series of conferences, on security and co-operation in Europe.
In this event, the Council would give immediate attention to
- In the meantime, the Council in Permanent Session will continue its study of the results which might be achieved at any
such conference or series of conferences, and of the appropriate
exploratory and preparatory procedures, including the proposals
that have already been advanced. The Allied Governments will
also pursue energetically their bilateral exploratory
conversations with all interested states on questions affecting
security and co-operation.
- Ministers recalled that any genuine and lasting improvement
in East-West relations in Europe must be based on the respect of
the following principles which should govern relations between
states and which would be included among the points to be
explored: sovereign equality, political independence and
territorial integrity of each European state; non-interference
and non-intervention in the internal affairs of any state,
regardless of its political or social system; and the right of
the people of each European state to shape their own destinies
free of external constraint. A common understanding and
application of these principles, without condition or
reservation, would give full meaning to any agreement on mutual
renunciation of the use or threat of force.
- In the field of international co-operation, the contacts
mentioned in paragraph 10 might provide an opportunity to
consider ways and means of ensuring closer co-operation between
interested countries on the cultural, economic, technical and
scientific levels, and on the question of human environment.
Ministers reaffirmed that the freer movement of people, ideas
and information is an essential element for the development of
- Ministers noted that Alliance studies on the various aspects
of the mutual and balanced force reductions question have
further progressed since the Rome Meeting and instructed the
Council in Permanent Session to pursue studies in this field.
- Ministers representing countries participating in NATO's
integrated Defence Program re-emphasized the importance they
attach to mutual and balanced force reductions as a means of
reducing tensions and lessening the military confrontation in
Europe and recalled the Declarations on this question issued at
Reykjavik in 1968 and at Rome earlier this year. They noted that
the Warsaw Pact countries have not directly responded to these
Declarations but have mentioned the possibility of a discussion
at some future time of the question of reducing foreign armed
forces on the territory of European states.
- These Ministers renewed their invitation to interested
states to hold exploratory talks on the basis of their Rome
Declaration, and also indicated their readiness within this
framework to examine different possibilities in the field of
force reductions in the Central Region of Europe, including the
possible mutual and balanced reduction of stationed forces, as
part of an integral program for the reduction of both stationed
and indigenous forces.
- Ministers reaffirmed their profound interest in genuine disarmament and arms control measures. In this connection, they
expressed their satisfaction with progress towards a ban on the
emplacement of weapons of mass destruction on the sea bed. They
further considered the pursuit of Allied efforts and studies in
all fields related to disarmament to be essential, including
those concerning biological and chemical weapons. They invited
the (council in Permanent Session to continue to examine these
- Ministers endorsed the recent Council recommendation to
Allied Governments to start work at once in order to achieve, by
1975 if possible but no later than the end of the decade, the
elimination of intentional discharges of oil and oily wastes
into the sea. This and other accomplishments of the Committee on
the Challenges of Modern Society during the past year were
welcomed by Ministers as evidence that the Allies are
effectively combining their resources to stimulate national and
international action on environmental problems.
- Ministers examined a report on the achievements of the
Conference of National Armaments Directors and its subordinate
bodies in the promotion of co-operation in research, development
and production of military equipment during the four years of
its existence. They noted that, in spite of the excellent
progress that had been made in the exchange of information on
defence equipment, it had proved possible to establish
relatively few firm NATO projects for co-operative development
and production of equipment. They recognized that more political
support would be necessary to overcome the obstacles to greater
co-operation. They agreed to the need for a more positive
approach in order to achieve the financial and operational
benefits of more widespread adoption of jointly developed and
- Ministers of the countries participating in NATO's
integrated defence program met as the Defence Planning Committee
on 2nd December, 1970.
- Ministers concentrated their discussion on a comprehensive
study, which has been in progress since last May, of the defence
problems which the Alliance will face in the 1970s. They
approved for public release the text at Annex.
- Ministers confirmed that NATO's approach to security in the
1970s will continue to be based on the twin concepts of defence
and detente. They reaffirmed the principle that the overall
military capability of NATO should not be reduced except as part
of a pattern of mutual force reductions balanced in scope and
timing. They agreed that East-West negotiations can be expected
to succeed only if NATO maintains an effective deterrent and
defensive posture. Ministers confirmed the continued validity of
the NATO strategy of flexibility in response, which includes
forward defence, reinforcement of the flanks and capabilities
for rapid mobilization, and calls for the maintenance of
military capabilities which are able to provide an appropriate
counter to any aggression. They noted the continuous rise in
Soviet defence and defence-related expenditure and the evidence
that the USSR is continuing to strengthen still further its
military establishment, including that in the maritime field
where Soviet power and the range of its activity have markedly
increased. They, therefore, emphasized the need for improvements
in NATO's conventional deterrent, as well as the maintenance of
a sufficient and modern tactical and strategic nuclear
- The security of NATO being indivisible, Ministers underlined
the special military and political role of North American forces
present in Europe as an irreplaceable contribution to the common
defence. In parallel they welcomed the important decision of
European member nations participating in NATO's integrated
defence program to make an increased common European effort to
strengthen the defence capability of the Alliance. The
establishment of a special European Defence Improvement Program
of substantial additional measures will significantly strengthen
NATO's capacity for defence and for crisis management in fields,
including communications, which have been identified in the "AD
70s" Study as having particular importance.
- In respect of the above Study, ministers invited the Defence
Planning Committee in Permanent Session to draw up a suitable
program and to ensure that all possible progress is made.
- Ministers noted the force commitments undertaken by member
nations for the year 1971 and adopted the five-year NATO force
plan covering the period 1971-1975. They gave directions for the
development of a force plan for the next NATO planning period.
- Ministers viewed with concern the evidence of continuing
growth in Soviet military strength in the Mediterranean. Such
developments, they felt, could constitute an increasingly
significant threat to the security of the Alliance. Ministers
commented with approval on steps which have been taken to
improve the Alliance's defence posture in the Mediterranean.
Referring to their Communiqué issued in Brussels on 11th June of
this year, Ministers directed that urgent attention be given to
the development and implementation of further appropriate
- Within the field of crisis management, Ministers reviewed
communications facilities for high level political consultation
and for command and control; they agreed to a number of
important measures designed to improve and expand these vital
facilities. They encouraged further efforts in the field of
civil preparedness and civil emergency planning. They noted
progress made on various defence studies. They also noted that
the trend towards more sophisticated equipment at increasing
cost may well continue, and they stressed that forthcoming
modernization programs would offer an opportunity for increased
- The Ministerial Meeting also provided the Defence Ministers
comprising the Nuclear Defence Affairs Committee (Belgium,
Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway,
Portugal, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States) with the
occasion to review work recently in progress in the Nuclear
Planning Group and plans for the future. Acting on the
recommendation of the Nuclear Defence Affairs Committee, the
Defence Planning Committee adopted the policy documents
elaborated by the Nuclear Planning Group at their meeting in
Venice last Spring and finalized at Ottawa in October this year.
These documents are in consonance with NATO's strategy of
flexibility in response.
- The next Ministerial Meeting of the Defence Planning Committee will take place in the Spring of 1971.
- The Spring Ministerial Meeting of the Council will be held
in Lisbon on 3rd and 4th June, 1971.
- Ministers requested the Foreign Minister of Belgium to
transmit this Communiqué on their behalf through diplomatic
channels to all other interested parties including neutral and