Updated: 24-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


Bari, Italy
11-12 October

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


Balance of East-West nuclear forces - Concern over continued Soviet deployments of heavy ICBMs, mobile IRBMs and advanced sea-launched missiles all with multiple warheads - Nuclear aspects of NATO long-term defence programme - Modernization of theatre nuclear weapons and reduced blast / enhanced radiation weapons - Maritime nuclear defence.

The NATO Nuclear Planning Group met in Ministerial Session in Bari (Italy) on 11th and 12th October, 1977. This twenty-second, half-yearly meeting was attended by the following Ministers of Defence: Mr. Paul Vanden Boeynants, Belgium; Mr. Poul S gaard, Denmark; Mr. Georg Leber, Federal Republic of Germany; Mr. Evangelos Averoff-Tositsas, Greece; Mr. Attilio Ruffini Italy; Mr. Fred Mulley, the United Kingdom and Dr. Harold Brown, the United States. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Joseph M.A.H. Luns, the Secretary General of NATO. Following past practice, the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Herman F. Zeiner Gundersen, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Alexander M. Haig, Jr., and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, were also present.

A principal feature of interest at the meeting was again the briefing by the United States Secretary of Defence on developments in the balance of nuclear forces between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Ministers had a wide-ranging discussion of the implications of these developments for Alliance security. In this context, they discussed the current situation in SALT and other arms control negotiations. Particular areas of concern in the Ministerial discussion were the impact of the continued Soviet deployments of heavy inter-continental and mobile intermediate-range ballistic missiles, and advanced sea-launched ballistic missiles, all equipped with multiple warheads. Ministers noted the status of the various United States modernization programmes including cruise missiles, inter-continental and sea-launched ballistic missiles, designed to assure in relation to developments in the threat a fully effective and credible deterrent posture into the future.

Ministers discussed the handling of the nuclear aspects of NATO's overall Long Term Defence Programme initiated last Spring at the London NATO Summit meeting. They discussed in broad terms possible approaches for theatre nuclear force modernization both with regard to the medium and the long term programmes. They considered proposals for further work in the area of theatre nuclear force planning in preparation for the next meeting and as part of the Long Term Defence Programme. In the context of the modernization of theatre nuclear forces they had a further exchange on reduced blast/enhanced radiation weapons, which confine their effects to a more limited area for military purposes. They agreed that their Governments would continue their consideration of this subject.

Recognizing the vital importance of free use of the sea by the Alliance, Ministers discussed a study by the NATO Military Authorities of maritime nuclear defence in the difference NATO sea areas. Ministers took note of several important observations made in the study and requested a further study of the political aspects of maritime nuclear defence within NATO's overall deterrence strategy of forward defence and flexibility in response. On NATO's nuclear weapons' employment policy, Ministers received a presentation by SACEUR on some aspects of SHAPE nuclear operational planning.

After reviewing the future work programme of the Nuclear Planning Group, Ministers accepted with pleasure an invitation by the Danish Minister of Defence to hold their next meeting in Denmark in the Spring of 1978.

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