of major significance takes place in 1982 when, on 30 May, Spain
becomes the 16th member of the Alliance. The North Atlantic Council
records its satisfaction at this fresh sign of the enduring vitality
of an Organisation linking free countries, inspired by shared values
of pluralistic democracy, individual liberty, human dignity, self-determination
and the rule of law.
1982, a Summit meeting of the Council is held in Bonn. The leaders
issue a Declaration setting out a six-point programme for Peace
in Freedom. Among its provisions, the programme calls for greater
Soviet restraint and responsibility in order to allow the development
of a more constructive East-West relationship. It also addresses
the objectives sought by the Alliance in nuclear and conventional
arms control negotiations, as well as in the field of human rights
issues and the principles and provisions of the Helsinki Final Act.
his inauguration in January 1981, President Reagan launches a substantial
programme to build up the military strength of the United States,
arguing that arms control agreements can not be negotiated from
a position of weakness. Europeans, while not doubting the necessity
of moves in this direction, feel some unease at the rhetoric used,
fearing that such descriptions of the Soviet Union as 'the focus
of evil in the modern world', can only complicate East-West relations.
as deployment of the Pershing and Cruise missiles approaches, public
debate on the Alliance's nuclear policy heats up, particularly in
the countries where they are to be based - Belgium, Germany, Italy,
the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Campaigns for nuclear disarmament
become more vigorous, there is a proliferation of protest groups,
and large-scale demonstrations, which threaten the broad public
support which the Alliance had always enjoyed. In spite of considerable
public and Soviet pressure, however, the Alliance holds firm.