Final Communiqué

Chairman: Lord Carrington.

  • 22 May. 1985 -
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  • Last updated: 04 Nov. 2008 19:24

Effectiveness of NATO 's nuclear forces - Report on Conventional Defence Improvements - Identification of key deficiencies - Plan of action for improvements - Progress towards a conceptual military framework - Coordinated approach to Conventional Defence

  1. The Defence Planning Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 22nd May 1985. We discussed a wide range of subjects, focusing our attention on measures necessary to improve NATO's conventional forces and on the adoption of Ministerial Guidance, and agreed the following:
  1. We are resolved to sustain the credibility of NATO's strategy of flexible response and forward defence. Nuclear weapons play an essential part in our objective of deterring war and, as reflected in the communiqués of our Luxembourg meeting, we. are determined to maintain the effectiveness of NATO's nuclear forces. But we are concerned that the current disparity between NATO's conventional forces and those of the Warsaw Pact risks an undue reliance on the early use of nuclear weapons. This would be an unacceptable situation which we are determined to avoid by making a special and coherent effort to improve our conventional capabilities.
  2. In this context, we endorsed a report from the Secretary General and the Defence Planning Committee in Permanent Session on Conventional Defence Improvements, in response to our mandate last December, which provides a coherent and balanced approach to achieving improvements to our conventional forces. The Report identifies key deficiencies on a regional and a functional basis which could, if uncorrected, threaten NATO's ability to implement its strategy. It also highlights those areas where special attention will provide the greatest return, both in the medium and long term, in improving the effectiveness and credibility of Alliance strategy. The comprehensive recommendations which we have adopted constitute a plan of action for the Alliance. We shall give special emphasis to these areas in our national planning and within the Alliance defence planning process.
  3. Strengthening our conventional forces constitutes a challenge to all members. However, in looking at our tasks we should not underestimate what we have achieved already. The Alliance has made and continues to make significant improvements to its conventional forces, particularly in the area of equipment modernisation. By ensuring that our resources are concentrated on the areas of greatest need we can build on this solid foundation to achieve the improvements we now require.
  4. We had an initial discussion of the work on a conceptual military framework submitted by NATO's Military Authorities. This important work is continuing. It has already helped us to identify those areas on which we will have to focus our efforts, and will provide military guidance for long term planning.
  5. The effort which we called for last December has brought together in a co-ordinated approach important work to improve our conventional forces currently under way in several areas; this includes:
    • the progress nations have made since our decision last December to make a special effort to acquire more ammunition stocks for selected battle decisive systems;
    • the allocation of funds from the 3,000 million IAU Infrastructure Programme agreed last December for the next six years. This figure is more than double the amount previously available. Within this overall amount we plan to authorise 665 shelters for reinforcing aircraft by 1990;
    • the continued exploitation of emerging technologies;
    • significant progress towards a solution to the long-standing requirement for a common and secure identification system for NATO aircraft which will meet NATO's most serious air defence deficiency. Agreement on the critical operating characteristics of the NATO Identification System would allow NATO nations to move towards deployment of this vital capability.
    • the improved coordination of the various planning areas to provide a balanced distribution of resources within the development of an overall resources strategy;
    • a strengthened emphasis on long term planning;
    • the need to provide more aid, and by more nations, to Greece, Portugal and Turkey in order to help them improve their forces and carry out their missions more effectively to the advantage of all. The deficiencies in the forces of these countries are a matter of particular concern.
  6. Our specific concern for improvements in conventional defences has also played a major part in the development of the 1985 Ministerial Guidance which we approved today. Ministerial Guidance is the major political directive for defence planning both by member nations and-the NATO Military Authorities and in particular it gives direction for the preparation of NATO force goals for 1987-1992. The Guidance reflects the plan of action which we have adopted.
  7. Achieving these improvements will require an even greater emphasis on the optimal use of resources, and to this end vigorous efforts must be made to improve cooperation and coordination within the Alliance. We also agreed to examine whether specific improvements could best be brought about by common funding, and to develop more effective measurement of the output resulting from our defence efforts. Improvements to NATO's conventional defence will also depend on the allocation of increased resources to defence, at increased rates higher than those achieved by most nations in the past. We accordingly agreed resource guidance which reconfirms the goal of achieving real increases in defence spending in the region of 3% per year, as a general guide.
  8. Arms cooperation, in particular, has a vital role to play in the more effective use of resources and the provision of stronger conventional forces. The development of a more effective transatlantic two-way street is essential. We welcome the progress made in the Independent European Programme Group towards the coordination of research, development and procurement within Europe. We will strive to share technology and improve arms co operation between the European and North American members of the Alliance. This cooperation should also take into account the imbalance that exists between the developed and developing members of the Alliance. We will at the same time continue to protect militarily relevant technology.
  9. Recalling the documents of the 1982 Bonn Summit , we reaffirm the position adopted in previous communiquéss concerning developments outside the NATO Treaty area that might threaten the vital interests of members of the Alliance. Against the background of United States' planning for its rapidly deployable forces, we reviewed continuing work, carried forward in the 1985 Ministerial Guidance, on measures necessary to maintain deterrence and defence within the NATO area. We will ensure that NATO defence planning continues to take account of the need for compensatory measures.
  10. Efforts to improve our defensive capabilities are being accompanied by parallel efforts in the field of arms control. Deterrence and defence and arms control remain integral parts of the security policy of the Alliance. We welcome the opportunities offered by the negotiations in Geneva encompassing defence and space systems, strategic nuclear forces and intermediate-range nuclear forces. These negotiations will be difficult, long and complex, and continued close consultation among the Alliance partners will be essential. We strongly support the United States' approach to these negotiations and call on the Soviet Union to participate constructively in them.
  11. We emphasised NATO's determination to continue the deployment of LRINF missiles as scheduled in the absence of a concrete negotiated result with the Soviet Union obviating the need for such deployment. At the same time, we reiterated our willingness to reverse, halt or modify the LRINF deployment - including the removal and dismantling of missiles already deployed - upon achievement of a balanced equitable and verifiable agreement calling for such action.
  12. A strong and cohesive Alliance is indispensible to the security of its members and to stable international relations. We reaffirm our determination to preserve peace and security through the maintenance of forces sufficient for deterrence and defence and through constructive dialogue with the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe. We are determined to make the necessary effort to sustain the credibility of our strategy and to do all that is necessary to preserve our security at the lowest possible level of forces.

The Minister of Defence of Spain reserves his Government's position on the present Communiqué.



  1. Denmark and Greece reserve their positions on INF.