Report of the Committee of Three

on Non-Military Cooperation in NATO

  • 13 Dec. 1956 -
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  • Last updated: 03 Nov. 2008 14:44

Chapter I: General Introduction

  1. The Committee on Non-Military Cooperation, set up by the North Atlantic Council at its session of May 1956, was requested: "to advise the Council on ways and means to improve and extend NATO cooperation in non-military fields and to develop greater unity within the Atlantic Community''.
  2. The Committee has interpreted these terms of reference as requiring it: to examine and re-define the objectives and needs of the Alliance, especially in the light of current international develop ments; and to make recommendations for strengthening its internal solidarity, cohesion and unity.
  3. The Committee hopes that the report and recommendations which it now submits will make NATO's purely defensive and constructive purposes better understood in non-NATO countries, thereby facilitating and encouraging steps to lessen international tension. The events of the last few months have increased this tension and reduced hopes, which had been raised since Stalin's death, of finding a secure and honorable basis for competitive and ultimately for cooperative co-existence with the Communist world. The effort to this end, however, must go on.
  4. Inter-Allied relations have also undergone severe strains. The substance of this report was prepared by the Committee of Three in the course of its meetings and inter-governmental consultations last September. Subsequent events have reinforced the Committee's conviction that the Atlantic Community can develop greater unity only by working constantly to achieve common policies by full and timely consultation on issues of common concern. Unless this is done, the very framework of cooperation in NATO, which has contributed so greatly to the cause of freedom, and which is so vital to its advancement in the future 1, will be endangered.
  5. The foundation of NATO, on which alone a strong superstructure can be built, is the political obligation that its members have taken for collective defence: to consider that an attack on one is an attack on all which will be met by the collective action of all. There is a tendency at times to overlook the far-reaching importance of this commitment, especially during those periods when the danger of having to invoke it may seem to recede.
  6. With this political commitment for collective defence as the cornerstone of the foreign and defence policies of its members, NATO has a solid basis for existence. It is true, of course, that the ways and means by which the obligation is to be discharged may alter as political or strategic conditions alter, as the threat to peace changes its character or its direction. However, any variations in plans and strategic policies which may be required need not weaken NATO or the confidence of its members in NATO and in each other; providing, and the proviso is decisive, that each member retains its will and its capacity to play its full part in discharging the political commitment for collective action against aggression which it undertook when it signed the Pact; providing also - and recent events have shown that this is equally important - that any changes in national strategy or policy which affect the coalition are made only after collective consideration.
  7. The first essential, then, of a healthy and developing NATO lies in the whole-hearted acceptance by all its members of the political commitment for collective defence, and in the confidence which each has in the will and ability of the others to honour that commitment if aggression should take place.
  8. This is our best present deterrent against military aggression, and consequently the best assurance that the commitment undertaken will not be engaged.
  9. However, this deterrent role of NATO, based on solidarity and strength, can be discharged only if the political and economic relations between its members are cooperative and close. An Alliance in which the members ignore each other's interests or engage in political or economic conflict, or harbour suspicions of each other, cannot be effective either for deterrence or defence. Recent experience makes this clearer than ever before.
  10. It is useful, in searching for ways and means of strengthening NATO unity and understanding, to recall the origin and the aims of the Organisation.
  11. The Treaty which was signed in Washington in 1949 was a collective response - we had learned that a purely national response was insufficient for security - to the fear of military aggression by the forces of the USSR and its allies. These forces were of overwhelming strength. The threat to Greece, the capture of Czechoslovakia, the blockade of Berlin, and the pressure against Yugoslavia showed that they were also aggressive.
  12. While fear may have been the main urge for the creation of NATO, there was also the realisation conscious or instinctive that in a shrinking nuclear world it was wise and timely to bring about a closer association of kindred Atlantic and Western European nations for other than defence purposes alone; that a partial pooling of sovereignty for mutual protection should also promote progress and cooperation generally. There was a feeling among the government and peoples concerned that this close unity was both natural and desirable; that the common cultural traditions, free institutions and democratic concepts which were being challenged, and were marked for destruction by those who challenged them, were things which should also bring the NATO nations closer together, not only for their defence but for their development. There was, in short, a sense of Atlantic Community, alongside the realisation of an immediate common danger.
  13. Any such feeling was certainly not the decisive, or even the main impulse in the creation of NATO. Nevertheless, it gave birth to the hope that NATO would grow beyond and above the emergency which brought it into being.
  14. The expression of this hope is found in the Preamble and in Articles 2 and 4 of the Treaty. These two Articles, limited in their terms but with at least the promise of the grand design of an Atlantic Community, were included because of this insistent feeling that NATO must become more than a military alliance.

They reflected the very real anxiety that if NATO failed to meet this test, it would disappear with the immediate crisis which produced it, even though the need for it might be as great as ever.

  1. From the very beginning of NATO, then, it was recognised that while defence cooperation was the first and most urgent requirement, this was not enough. It has also become increasingly realised since the Treaty was signed that security is today far more than a military matter. The strengthening of political consultation and economic cooperation, the development of resources, progress in education and public understanding, all these can be as important, or even more important, for the protection of the security of a nation, or an alliance, as the building of a battleship or the equipping of an army.
  2. These two aspects of security - civil and military - can no longer safely be considered in watertight compartments, either within or between nations. Perhaps NATO has not yet fully recognised their essential interrelationship, or done enough to bring about that close and continuous contact between its civil and military sides which is essential if it is to be strong and enduring.
  3. North Atlantic political and economic cooperation, however, let alone unity, will not be brought about in a day or by a declaration, but by creating over the years and through a whole series of national acts and policies, the habits and traditions and precedents for such cooperation and unity. The process will be a slow and gradual one at best; slower than we might wish. We can be satisfied if it is steady and sure. This will not be the case, however, unless the member governments - especially the more powerful ones - are willing to work, to a much greater extent than hitherto, with and through NATO for more than purposes of collective military defence.
  4. While the members of NATO have already developed various forms of non-military cooperation between themselves and have been among the most active and constructive participants in various international organisations, NATO as such has been hesitant in entering this field, particularly in regard to economic matters. Its members have been rightly concerned to avoid duplication and to do, through other existing international organisations, the things which can best be done in that way.
  5. Recently, however, the members of NATO have been examining and re-examining the purposes and the needs of the Organisation in the light of certain changes in Soviet tactics and policies which have taken place since the death of Stalin, and of the effect of the present turmoil in Eastern Europe on this development.
  6. These changes have not diminished the need for collective military defence but they have faced NATO with an additional challenge in which the emphasis is largely non-military in character. NATO must recognise the real nature of the developments which have taken place. An important aspect of the new Soviet policies of competitive co-existence is an attempt to respond to positive initiatives of the Western nations aimed at improving, in an atmosphere of freedom, the lot of the economically less-developed countries, and at establishing a just and mutually beneficial trading system in which all countries can prosper. The Soviet Union is now apparently veering towards policies designed to ensnare these countries by economic means and by political subversion, and to fasten on them the same shackles of Communism from which certain members of the Soviet bloc are now striving to release themselves. The members of NATO must maintain their vigilance in dealing with this form of penetration.
  7. Meanwhile some of the immediate fears of large-scale all-out military aggression against Western Europe have lessened. This process has been facilitated by evidence that the Soviet Government has realised that any such all-out aggression would be met by a sure, swift and devastating retaliation, and that there could be no victory in a war of this kind with nuclear weapons on both sides. With an increased Soviet emphasis on non-military or paramilitary methods, a review is needed of NATO's ability to meet effectively the challenge of penetration under the guise of coexistence, with its emphasis on conflict without catastrophe.
  8. Certain questions now take on a new urgency. Have NATO's needs and objectives changed, or should they be changed? Is the Organisation operating satisfactorily in the altered circumstances of 1956? If not what can be done about it ? There is the even more far-reaching question: "Can a loose association of sovereign states hold together at all without the common binding force of fear?''
  9. The Committee has been examining these questions in the light of its firm conviction that the objectives which governments had in mind when the Pact was signed remain valid; that NATO is as important now to its member states as it was at that time.
  10. The first of these objectives - as has already been pointed out - is security, based on collective action with adequate armed forces both for deterrence and defence.
  11. Certainly NATO unity and strength in the pursuit of this objective remain as essential as they were in 1949. Soviet tactics may have changed; but Soviet armed might and ultimate objectives remain unchanged. Moreover, recent events in Eastern Europe show that the Soviet Union will not hesitate in certain circumstances to use force and the threat of force.

Therefore the military strength of NATO must not be reduced, though its character and capabilities should be constantly adapted to changing circumstances. Strengthening the political and economic side of NATO is an essential complement to - not a substitute for - continuous cooperation in defence.

  1. In spite of these recent events Soviet leaders may place greater emphasis on political, economic and propaganda action.

There is no evidence, however, that this will be permitted to prejudice in any way the maintenance of a high level of military power in its most modern form as a base for Soviet activity in these other fields.

  1. We should welcome changes in Soviet policies if they were genuinely designed to ease international tensions. But we must remember that the weakening and eventual dissolution of NATO remains a major Communist goal. We must therefore remain on guard so long as Soviet leaders persist in their determination to maintain a preponderance of military power for the achievement of their own political objectives and those of their allies.
  2. This brings us again to the second and long-term aim of NATO: the development of an Atlantic Community whose roots are deeper even than the necessity for common defence. This implies nothing less than the permanent association of the free Atlantic peoples for the promotion of their greater unity and the protection and the advancement of the interests which, as free democracies, they have in common.
  3. If we are to secure this long-term aim, we must prevent the centrifugal forces of opposition or indifference from weakening the Alliance. NATO has not been destroyed, or even weakened, by the threats or attacks of its enemies. It has faltered at times through the lethargy or complacency of its members: through dissension or division between them; by putting narrow national considerations above the collective interest. It could be destroyed by these forces, if they were allowed to subsist. To combat these tendencies, NATO must be used by its members, far more than it has been used, for sincere and genuine consultation and cooperation on questions of common concern. For this purpose, resolution is more important than resolutions; will than words.
  4. The problem, however, goes deeper than this. NATO countries are faced by a political as well as a military threat. It comes from the revolutionary doctrines of Communism which have by careful design of the Communist leaders over many years been sowing seeds of falsehood concerning our free and democratic way of life. The best answers to such falsehoods is a continuing demonstration of the superiority of our own institutions over Communist ones. We can show by word and deed that we welcome political progress, economic advancement and orderly social change and that the real reactionaries of this day are these Communist regimes which, adhering to an inflexible pattern of economic and political doctrine, have been more successful in destroying freedom than in promoting it.
  5. We must, however, realise that falsehoods concerning our institutions have sometimes been accepted at face value and that there are those, even in the non-Communist world, who under the systematic influence of Communist propaganda do not accept our own analysis of NATO's aims and values. They believe that while NATO may have served a useful defensive deterrent role in the Stalinist era, it is no longer necessary even for the security of its members; that it is tending now to become an agency for the pooling of the strength and resources of the "colonial'' powers in defence of imperial privileges, racial superiority, and Atlantic hegemony under the leadership of the United States. The fact that we know these views to be false and unjustified does not mean that NATO and its governments should not do everything they can to correct and counteract them.
  6. NATO should not forget that the influence and interests of its members are not confined to the area covered by the Treaty, and that common interests of the Atlantic Community can be seriously affected by developments outside the Treaty area.

Therefore, while striving to improve their relations with each other, and to strengthen and deepen their own unity, they should also be concerned with harmonising their policies in relation to other areas, taking into account the broader interests of the whole international community; particularly in working through the United Nations and elsewhere for the maintenance of international peace and security and for the solution of the problems that now divide the world.

  1. In following this course, NATO can show that it is more than a defence organisation acting and reacting to the ebb and flow of the fears and dangers arising out of Soviet policy. It can prove its desire to cooperate fully with other members of the international community in bringing to reality the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. It can show that it is not merely concerned with preventing the cold war from deteriorating into a shooting one; or with defending itself if tragedy should take place, but that it is even more concerned with seizing the political and moral initiative to enable all countries to develop in freedom, and to bring about a secure peace for all nations.
  2. Our caution in accepting without question the pacific character of any Soviet moves, our refusal to dismantle our defences before we are convinced that conditions of international confidence have been restored, will, particularly after the events in Hungary, be understood by all people of sincerity and goodwill. What would not be understood is any unwillingness on our part to seek ways and means of breaking down the barriers with a view to establishing such confidence.
  3. The coming together of the Atlantic nations for good and constructive purposes - which is the basic principle and ideal underlying the NATO concept - must rest on and grow from deeper and more permanent factors than the divisions and dangers of the last ten years. It is a historical, rather than a contemporary, development, and if it is to achieve its real purpose, it must be considered in that light and the necessary conclusions drawn. A short-range view will not suffice.
  4. The fundamental historical tact underlying development is that the nation state, by itself and relying exclusively on national policy and national power, is inadequate for progress or even for survival in the nuclear age. As the founders of the North Atlantic Treaty foresaw, the growing interdependence of states, politically and economically as well as militarily, calls for an everincreasing measure of international cohesion and cooperation. Some states may be able to enjoy a degree of political and economic independence when things are going well. No state, however powerful, can guarantee its security and its welfare by national action alone.
  5. This basic fact underlies our report and the recommendations contained therein which appear in the subsequent chapters.
  6. It has not been difficult to make these recommendations. It will be far more difficult for the member governments to carry them into effect. This will require, on their part, the firm conviction that the transformation of the Atlantic Community into a vital and vigorous political reality is as important as any purely national purpose. It will require, above all, the will to carry this conviction into the realm of practical governmental policy.

Chapter II: Political Cooperation

I. Introduction

  1. If there is to be vitality and growth in the concept of the Atlantic Community, the relations between the members of NATO must rest on a solid basis of confidence and understanding. Without this there cannot be constructive or solid political cooperation.
  2. The deepening and strengthening of this political cooperation does not imply the weakening of the ties of NATO members with other friendly countries or with other international associations, particularly the United Nations. Adherence to NATO is not exclusive or restrictive. Nor should the evolution of the Atlantic Community through NATO prevent the formation of even closer relationships among some of its members, for instance within groups of European countries. The moves toward Atlantic cooperation and European unity should be parallel and complementary, not competitive or conflicting.
  3. Effective and constructive international cooperation requires a resolve to work together for the solution of common problems. There are special ties between NATO members, special incentives and security interests, which should make this task easier than it otherwise would be. But its successful accomplishment will depend largely on the extent to which member governments, in their own policies and actions, take into consideration the interests of the Alliance. This requires not only the acceptance of the obligation of consultation and cooperation whenever necessary, but also the development of practices by which the discharge of this obligation becomes a normal part of governmental activity.
  4. It is easy to profess devotion to the principle of political - or economic - consultation in NATO. It is difficult and has in fact been shown to be impossible, if the proper conviction is lacking, to convert the profession into practice. Consultation within an alliance means more than exchange of information, though that is necessary. It means more than letting the NATO Council know about national decisions that have already been taken; or trying to enlist support for those decisions. It means the discussion of problems collectively, in the early stages of policy formation, and before national positions become fixed. At best, this will result in collective decisions on matters of common interest affecting the Alliance. At the least, it will ensure that no action is taken by one member without a knowledge of the views of the others.

II. Consultation on Foreign Policies

A. Scope and Character of Political Consultation

  1. The essential role of consultation in fostering political cooperation was clearly defined by an earlier NATO Committee on the North Atlantic Community in 1951: "... The achievement of a closer degree of coordination of the foreign policies of the members of the North Atlantic Treaty, through the development of the `habit of consultation' on matters of common concern, would greatly strengthen the solidarity of the North Atlantic Community and increase the individual and collective capacity of its members to serve the peaceful purposes for which NATO was established... In the political field, this means that while each North Atlantic government retains full freedom of action and decision with respect to its own policy, the aim should be to achieve, through exchanging information and views, as wide an area of agreement as possible in the formulation of policies as a whole.''

"Special attention must be paid, as explicitly recognised in Article 4 of the Treaty, to matters of urgent and immediate importance to the members of NATO, and to 'emergency' situations where it may be necessary to consult closely on national lines of conduct affecting the interests of members of NATO as a whole. There is a continuing need, however, for effective consultation at an early stage on current problems, in order that national policies may be developed and action taken on the basis of a full awareness of the attitudes and interests of all the members of NATO. While all members of NATO have a responsibility to consult with their partners on appropriate matters, a large share of responsibility for such consultation necessarily rests on the more powerful members of the Community.''

  1. These words were written five years ago. They hold true now more than ever before. If we can say that they have not been ignored by NATO we must also recognise that the practice of consulting has not so developed in the NATO Council as to meet the demands of political changes and world trends. The present need, therefore, is more than simply broadening the scope and deepening the character of consultation. There is a pressing requirement for all members to make consultation in NATO an integral part of the making of national policy. Without this the very existence of the North Atlantic Community may be in jeopardy.
  2. It should, however, be remembered that collective discussion is not an end in itself, but a means to the end of harmonising policies. Where common interests of the Atlantic Community are at stake consultation should always seek to arrive at timely agreement on common lines of policy and action.
  3. Such agreement, even with the closest possible cooperation and consultation, is not easy to secure. But it is essential to the Atlantic Alliance that a steady and continuous effort be made to bring it about. There cannot be unity in defence and disunity in foreign policy.
  4. There are, of course, certain practical limitations to consultation in this field. They are sufficiently obvious in fact to make it unnecessary to emphasise them in words. Indeed the danger is less that they will be minimised or evaded than that they will be exaggerated and used to justify practices which unnecessarily ignore the common interest.
  5. One of these limitations is the hard fact that ultimate responsibility for decision and action still rests on national governments. It is conceivable that a situation of extreme emergency may arise where action must be taken by one government before consultation is possible with the others.
  6. Another limitation is the difficulty, and indeed the unwisdom, of trying to specify in advance all the subjects and all the situations where consultation is necessary; to separate by area or by subject the matters of NATO concern from those of purely national concern; to define in detail the obligations and duties of consultation. These things have to work themselves out in practice. In this process, experience is a better guide than dogma.
  7. The essential thing is that on all occasions and in all circumstances member governments, before acting or even before pronouncing, should keep the interest and the requirements of the Alliance in mind. If they have not the desire and the will to do this, no resolutions or recommendations or declarations by the Council or any Committee of the Council will be of any great value.
  8. On the assumption, however, that this will and this desire do exist, the following principles and practices in the field of political consultation are recommended:
    1. a. members should inform the Council of any development which significantly affects the Alliance. They should do this, not merely as formality but as a preliminary to effective political consultation;
    2. both individual member governments and the Secretary General should have the right to raise for discussion in the Council any subject which is of common NATO interest and not of a purely domestic character;
    3. a member government should not, without adequate advance consultation, adopt firm policies or make major political pronouncements on matters which significantly affect the Alliance or any of its members, unless circumstances make such prior consultation obviously and demonstrably impossible;
    4. in developing their national policies, members should take into consideration the interest and views of other governments, particularly those most directly concerned, as expressed in NATO consultation, even where no community of views or consensus has been reached in the Council;
    5. where a consensus has been reached, it should be reflected in the formation of national policies. When for national reasons the consensus is not followed, the government concerned should offer an explanation to the Council. It is even more important that where an agreed and formal recommendation has emerged from the Council's discussions, governments should give it full weight in any national actions or policies related to the subject of that recommendation

    B. Annual Political Appraisal

  9. To strengthen the process of consultation, it is recommended that Foreign Ministers, at each Spring meeting, should make an appraisal of the political progress of the Alliance and consider the lines along which it should advance.
  10. To prepare for this discussion, the Secretary General should submit an annual report
    1. analysing the major political problems of the Alliance;
    2. reviewing the extent to which member governments have consulted and cooperated on such problems;
    3. indicating the problems and possible developments which may require future consultation, so that difficulties might be resolved and positive and constructive initiative taken.
  11. Member governments, through their Permanent Representatives, should give the Secretary General such information and assistance, including that of technical experts, as he may require in preparing his report.

    C. Preparation for Political Consultation

  12. Effective consultation also requires careful planning and preparation of the agenda for meetings of the Council both in Ministerial and permanent session. Political questions coming up for discussion in the Council should so far as practicable be previously reviewed and discussed; so that representatives may have background information on the thinking both of their own and of other governments. When appropriate, drafts of resolutions should be prepared in advance as a basis for discussion. Additional preparatory work will also be required for the annual political appraisal referred to in the preceding section.
  13. To assist the Permanent Representatives and the Secretary General in discharging their responsibilities for political consultation, there should be constituted under the Council a Committee of Political Advisers from each delegation, aided when necessary by specialists from the capitals. It would meet under the chairmanship of a member of the International Staff appointed by the Secretary General, and would include among its responsibilities current studies such as those on trends of Soviet policy.

III. Peaceful Settlement of Inter-member Disputes

  1. In the development of effective political cooperation in NATO, it is of crucial importance to avoid serious inter-member disputes and to settle them quickly and satisfactorily when they occur. The settlement of such disputes is in the first place the direct responsibility of the member governments concerned, under both the Charter of the United Nations (Article XXXIII) and the North Atlantic Treaty (Article 1). To clarify NATO's responsibilities in dealing with disputes which have not proved capable of settlement directly and to enable NATO, if necessary, to help in the settlement of such disputes, the Committee recommends that the Council adopt a resolution under Article I of the Treaty on the following lines:
    1. a. re-affirming the obligation of members to settle by peaceful means any disputes between themselves;
    2. declaring their intention to submit any such disputes, which have not proved capable of settlement directly, to good offices procedures within the NATO framework before resorting to any other international agency; except
      for disputes of a legal character for submission to a judicial tribunal, and those disputes of an economic character for which attempts at settlement might best be made initially in the appropriate specialised economic organisation;
    3. recognising the right and duty of member government and of the Secretary General to bring to the attention of the Council matters which in their opinion may threaten the solidarity or effectiveness of the Alliance;
    4. empowering the Secretary General to offer his good offices informally at any time to the parties in dispute, and with their consent to initiate or facilitate procedures of inquiry, mediation, conciliation, or arbitration, and e. empowering the Secretary General, where he deems it appropriate for the purpose outlined in d. above, to use the assistance of not more than three Permanent Representatives chosen by him in each instance.

IV. Parliamentary Associations and the Parliamentary Conference

  1. Among the best supporters of NATO and its purposes are those Members of Parliament who have had a chance at first hand to see some of its activities and to learn of its problems, and to exchange views with their colleagues from other parliaments.
    In particular, the formation of national Parliamentary Associations and the activities of the Conference of Members of Parliament from NATO countries have contributed to the development of public support for NATO and solidarity among its members.
  2. In order to maintain a close relationship of Parliamentarians with NATO, the following arrangements are recommended:
    1. that the Secretary General continue to place the facilities of NATO Headquarters at the disposal of Parliamentary Conferences and give all possible help with arrangements for their meetings;
    2. that invited representatives of member governments and the Secretary General and other senior NATO civil and military officers attend certain of these meetings. In this way the Parliamentarians would be informed on the state of the Alliance and the problems before it, and the value of their discussions would be increased.

Chapter III: Economic cooperation

I. Introduction

  1. Political cooperation and economic conflict are not reconcilable. Therefore, in the economic as well as in the political field there must be a genuine desire among the members to work together and a readiness to consult on questions of common concern based on the recognition of common interests.
  2. These common economic interests shared by the members of NATO call for:
    1. cooperative and national action to achieve healthy and expanding economies, both to promote the well- being and self-confidence of the Atlantic peoples and to serve as the essential support for an adequate defence effort;
    2. the greatest possible freedom in trade and payments and in the movement of manpower and long-term capital;
    3. assistance to economically underdeveloped areas for reasons of enlightened self-interest and to promote better relations among peoples; and
    4. policies which will demonstrate, under conditions of competitive co-existence, the superiority of free institutions in promoting human welfare and economic progress.
  3. A recognition of these common NATO interests, and collective and individual efforts to promote them, need not in any way prejudice close economic relations with non-NATO countries. Economic, like political, cooperation is and must remain wider than NATO. At the same time, the NATO countries have an interest in any arrangements for especially close economic cooperation among groups of European member nations. It should be possible as it is desirable for such special arrangements to promote rather than conflict with the wider objectives of Article 2 of our Treaty, which are of basic importance to the stability and well-being, not only of the North Atlantic area, but of the whole non-Communist world.

II. NATO and other Organisations

  1. While the purposes and principles of Article 2 are of vital importance, it is not necessary that member countries pursue them only through action in NATO itself. It would not serve the interests of the Atlantic Community for NATO to duplicate the operating functions of other international organisations designed for various forms of economic cooperation. NATO members play a major part in all these agencies, whose membership is generally well adapted to the purposes they serve.
  2. Nor do there now appear to be significant new areas for collective economic action requiring execution by NATO itself. In fact, the common economic concern of the member nations will often best be fostered by continued and increased collaboration both bilateral and through organisations other than NATO. This collaboration should be reinforced, however, by NATO consultation whenever economic issues of special interest to the Alliance are involved, particularly those which have political or defence implications or affect the economic health of the Atlantic Community as a whole. This, in turn, requires a substantial expansion of exchange of information and views in NATO in the economic as well as in the political field. Such economic consultation should seek to secure a common approach on the part of member governments where the questions are clearly related to the political and security interests of the Alliance. Action resulting from such a common approach, however, should normally be taken by governments either directly or through other international organisations.
  3. NATO, as such, should not seek to establish formal relations with these other organisations, and the harmonising of attitudes and actions should be left to the representatives of the NATO governments therein. Nor is it necessary or desirable for NATO members to form a "bloc'' in such organisations. This would only alienate other friendly governments. There should, however, be consultation in NATO when economic issues of special political or strategic importance to NATO arise in other organisations and in particular before meetings at which there may be attempts to divide or weaken the Atlantic Alliance, or prejudice its interests.

III. Conflicts in Economic Policies of NATO Countries

  1. NATO has a positive interest in the resolution of economic disputes which may have political or strategic repercussions damaging to the Alliance. These are to be distinguished from disagreements on economic policy which are normally dealt with through direct negotiations or by multilateral discussions in other organisations. Nothing would be gained by merely having repeated in NATO the same arguments made in other and more technically qualified organisations. It should however, be open to any member or to the Secretary General to raise in NATO issues on which they feel that consideration elsewhere is not making adequate progress and that NATO consultation might facilitate solutions contributing to the objectives of the Atlantic Community. The procedures for peaceful settlement of political disputes discussed in the previous chapter should also be available for major disputes of an economic character which are appropriate for NATO consideration.

IV. Scientific and Technical Cooperation

  1. One area of special importance to the Atlantic Community is that of science and technology. During the last decade, it has become ever clearer that progress in this field can be decisive in determining the security of nations and their position in world affairs. Such progress is also vital if the Western world is to play its proper role in relation to economically underdeveloped areas.
  2. Within the general field of science and technology, there is an especially urgent need to improve the quality and to increase the supply of scientists, engineers and technicians. Responsibility for recruitment, training and utilisation of scientific and technical personnel is primarily a national rather than an international matter. Nor is it a responsibility solely of national governments. In the member countries with federal systems, state and provincial governments play the major part, and many of the universities and institutes of higher learning in the Atlantic area are independent institutions free from detailed control by governments. At the same time, properly designed measures of international cooperation could stimulate individual member countries to adopt more positive policies and, in some cases, help guide them in the most constructive directions.
  3. Certain activities in this connection are already being carried out by other organisations. Progress in this field, however, is so crucial to the future of the Atlantic Community that NATO members should ensure that every possibility of fruitful cooperation is examined. As a first concrete step, therefore, it is recommended that a conference be convened composed of one or at the most two outstanding authorities, private or governmental, from each country in order:
    1. to exchange information and views concerning the most urgent problems in the recruitment, training and utilisation of scientists, engineers and technicians, and the best means, both long-term and short-term, of solving those problems;
    2. to foster closer relations among the participants with a view to continued interchange of experience and stimulation of constructive work in member countries; and
    3. to propose specific measures for future international cooperation in this field, through NATO or other international organisations

V. Consultation on Economic Problems

  1. It is agreed that the Atlantic Community has a positive concern with healthy and accelerated development in economically underdeveloped areas, both inside and outside the NATO area. The Committee feels, however, that NATO is not an appropriate agency for administering programs of assistance for economic development, or even for systematically concerning the relevant policies of member nations. What member countries can and should do is to keep each other and the Organisation informed of their programs and policies in this field. When required, NATO should review the adequacy of existing action in relation to the interests of the Alliance.
  2. The economic interests of the Atlantic Community cannot be considered in isolation from the activities and policies of the Soviet bloc. The Soviets are resorting all too often to the use of economic measures designed to weaken the Western Alliance, or to create in other areas a high degree of dependence on the Soviet world. In this situation it is more than ever important that NATO countries actively develop their own constructive commercial and financial policies. In particular, they should avoid creating situations of which the Soviet bloc countries might take advantage to the detriment of the Atlantic Community and of other non-Communist countries. In this whole field of competitive economic co-existence member countries should consult together more fully in order to determine their course deliberately and with the fullest possible knowledge.
  3. There has been a considerable evolution in NATO's arrangements for regular economic consultation. In addition, a number of economic matters have been brought before the Council for consideration on an ad hoc basis. No substantial new machinery in this field is called for. However, in view of the extended range of topics for regular exchange of information and consultation described above, there should be established under the Council a Committee of Economic Advisers. This group should be entrusted with preliminary discussion, on a systematic basis, of the matters outlined above, together with such tasks as many be assigned by the Council or approved by the Council at the Committee's request. It would absorb any continuing function of the Committee of Technical Advisers.

Since its duties would not be full-time, member governments could be represented normally by officials mainly concerned with the work of other international economic organisations.

Membership, however, should be flexible, the Committee being composed, when appropriate, of specialists from the capitals on particular topics under consideration.

Chapter IV: Cultural Cooperation

  1. A sense of community must bind the people as well as the institutions of the Atlantic nations. This will exist only to the extent that there is a realisation of their common cultural heritage and of the values of their free way of life and thought. it is important, therefore, for the NATO countries to promote cultural cooperation among their peoples by all practical means in order to strengthen their unity and develop maximum support for the Alliance. It is particularly important that this cultural cooperation should be wider than continental. This, however, does not preclude particular governments from acting on a more limited multilateral or even bilateral basis to strengthen their own cultural relations within the broader Atlantic framework The Committee welcomes the measures for cultural cooperation within the Atlantic Community which have been initiated by private individuals and non-governmental groups. These should be encouraged and increased.
  2. To further cultural collaboration, the Committee suggests that member governments be guided by the following general principles:
    1. government activities in this field should not duplicate but should support and supplement private efforts;
    2. member governments should give priority to those projects which require joint NATO action, and thus contribute to a developing sense of community;
    3. in developing new activities in the cultural field, NATO can most fruitfully place the main emphasis on inspiring and promoting transatlantic contacts;
    4. there should be a realistic appreciation of the financial implications of cultural projects.
  3. In order to develop public awareness and understanding of NATO and the Atlantic Community, the Council should work out arrangements for NATO courses and seminars for teachers.
  4. NATO and its member governments should broaden their support of other educational and related activities such as the NATO Fellowship and Scholarship Program; creation of university chairs of Atlantic studies; visiting professorships; government-sponsored programs for the exchange of persons, especially on a transatlantic basis; use of NATO information materials in schools; and establishment of special NATO awards for students.
  5. Governments should actively promote closer relations between NATO and youth organisations and a specialist should be added to the International Staff in this connection.
    Conferences under NATO auspices of representatives of youth organisations such as that of July, 1956, should be held from time to time.
  6. In the interests of promoting easier and more frequent contacts among the NATO peoples, governments should review and, if possible, revise their foreign exchange and other policies which restrict travel.
  7. In view of the importance of promoting better understanding and goodwill between NATO service personnel, it would be desirable, in cooperation with the military authorities, to extend exchanges of such personnel beyond the limits of normal training programs. Such exchanges might, at first step, be developed by governments on a bilateral basis. In addition, member governments should seek the assistance of the Atlantic Treaty Association and other voluntary organisations in the further development of such exchanges.
  8. Cultural projects which have a common benefit should be commonly financed. Agreed cultural projects initiated by a single member government or a private organisation, such as the recent seminar held at Oxford or the Study conference sponsored by the Atlantic Treaty Association on "The Role of the School in the Atlantic Community'', should receive financial support from NATO where that is necessary to supplement national resources.

CHAPTER V: Cooperation in the Information Field

  1. The people of the member countries must know about NATO if they are to support it. Therefore they must be informed not only of NATO's aspirations, but of its achievements. There must be substance for an effective NATO information programme and resources to carry it out. The public should be informed to the greatest possible extent of significant results achieved through NATO consultation.
  2. NATO information activities should be directed primarily to public opinion in the NATO area. At the same time an understanding outside the NATO area of the objectives and accomplishments of the Organisation is necessary if it is to be viewed sympathetically, and if its activities are not to be misinterpreted.
  3. The important task of explaining and reporting NATO activities rests primarily on national information services. They cannot discharge this task if member governments do not make adequate provisions in their national programmes for that purpose. It is essential, therefore, that such provision be made. NATO can and should assist national governments in this work. The promotion of information about, and public understanding of NATO and the Atlantic Community should, in fact, be a joint endeavor by the Organisation and its members.
  4. One of NATO's functions should be to coordinate the work of national information services in fields of common interest. Governments should pool their experiences and views in NATO to avoid differences in evaluation and emphasis. This is particularly important in the dissemination of information about NATO to other countries. Coordinated policy should underline the defensive character of our Alliance and the importance of its non-military aspects. It should cover also replies to anti-NATO propaganda and the analysis of Communist moves and statements which affect NATO.
  5. In its turn, the NATO Information Division must be given the resources by governments as well as their support, without which it could not discharge these new tasks - and should not be asked to do so.
  6. In order to facilitate cooperation between the NATO Information Division and national information services, the following specific measures are recommended:
    1. an Officer should be designated by each national information service to maintain liaison with NATO and to be responsible for the dissemination of NATO information material;
    2. governments should submit to NATO the relevant information programmes which they plan to implement, for discussion in the Committee on Information and Cultural Relations. Representatives of national information services should take part in these discussions;
    3. within the NATO Information Division budget, provision should be made for a translation fund so that NATO information material can be translated into the non- official languages of the Alliance, according to reasonable requirements of the member governments;
    4. NATO should, on request, provide national services with special studies on matters of common interest.
  7. The journalists' tours sponsored by NATO should be broadened to include others in a position to influence public opinion, such as trade and youth leaders, teachers and lecturers. Closer relations between private organisations supporting NATO and the NATO Information Division should also be encouraged.

Chapter VI: Organisation and Functions

  1. The Committee considers that NATO in its present form is capable of discharging the non-military functions required of it. Structural changes are not needed. The machine is basically satisfactory. It is for governments to make use of it.
  2. At the same time, certain improvements in the procedures and functioning of the Organisation will be required if the recommendations of this report are to be fully implemented. The proposals in this Chapter are submitted for this purpose.

A. Meetings of the Council

  1. More time should be allowed for Ministerial Meetings. Experience has shown that, without more time, important issues on the agenda cannot be adequately considered. Decisions concerning some of them will not be reached at all, or will be reached only in an unclear form.
  2. Efforts should be made to encourage discussion rather than simply declarations of policy prepared in advance. Arrangements for meetings should be made with this aim in view. For most sessions, the numbers present should be sharply restricted.

In order to facilitate free discussion, when Ministers wish to speak in a language other than French or English, consecutive translation into one of these official languages should be provided by interpreters from their own delegations.

  1. Meetings of Foreign Ministers should be held whenever required, and occasionally in locations other than NATO Headquarters. Ministers might also participate more frequently in regular Council meetings, even though not all of them may find it possible to attend such meetings at the same time. The Council of Permanent Representatives has powers of effective decision: in other words, the authority of the Council as such is the same whether governments are represented by Ministers or by their Permanent Representatives. Thus there should be no firm or formal line between Ministerial and other meetings of the Council.

B. Strengthening the links between the Council and Member Governments

  1. It is indispensable to the kind of consultations envisaged in this report that Permanent Representatives should be in a position to speak authoritatively and to reflect the current thinking of their governments. Differences in location and in constitutional organisation make impossible any uniform arrangements in all member governments. In some cases it might be desirable to designate a high official in the national capital to be concerned primarily with NATO affairs. The purpose would be to help both in fostering NATO consultations whenever national policies impinge on the common interest of the Atlantic Community, and in translating the results of such consultation into effective action within the national governments.
  2. To ensure the closest possible connection between current thinking in the governments and consultations in the Council, there might be occasional Council Meetings with the participation of specially designated officials or the permanent heads of foreign ministries.

C. Preparation for Council meetings

  1. Items on the agenda of Ministerial Meetings should be thoroughly examined by Permanent Representatives and relevant proposals prepared before Ministers meet. For this purpose it may be found desirable for governments to send senior experts to consult on agenda items before the meetings take place.
  2. The preparation of questions for discussion in the Council should be assisted by appropriate use of the Council's Committees of Political and Economic Advisers. (Recommendations on the establishment of these Committees are set forth in Chapter II, paragraph 56, and Chapter III, paragraph 72.)
  3. In the case of consultations on special subjects, more use should be made of senior experts from national capitals to assist permanent delegations by calling them, on an ad hoc basis, to do preparatory work. Informal discussions among specialists with corresponding responsibilities are a particularly valuable means of concerning governmental attitudes in the early stages of policy formation.
  4. Member governments should make available to one another through NATO "basic position material'' for background information. This would help the Alliance as a whole in the consideration of problems of common concern and would assist individual governments to understand more fully the reasons for the position adopted by any member country on a particular issue which might be its special concern, but which might also affect in varying degrees other members of NATO.

D. The Secretary General and the International Staff

  1. To enable the Organisation to make its full contribution, the role of the Secretary General and the International Staff needs to be enhanced.
  2. It is recommended that the Secretary General preside over meetings of the Council in Ministerial session, as he does now in other sessions. Such a change with respect to the conduct of the Council's business would follow naturally from the new responsibilities of the Secretary General, arising out of the recommendations of this report. It is also warranted by the Secretary General's unique opportunities for becoming familiar with the problems and the activities of the Alliance as a whole.
  3. It would, however, still be desirable to have one Minister chosen each year as President of the Council in accordance with the present practice of alphabetical rotation. This Minister, as President, would continue to have especially close contact with the Secretary General during and between Ministerial Meetings, and would, as at present, act as the spokesman of the Council on all formal occasions. He would also preside at the formal opening and closing of Ministerial sessions of the Council.
  4. In addition:
    1. the Secretary General should be encouraged to propose items for NATO consultation in the fields covered by this report and should be responsible for promoting and directing the process of consultation;
    2. in view of these responsibilities member governments should undertake to keep the Secretary General fully and currently informed through their permanent delegations of their governments' thinking on questions of common concern to the Alliance;
    3. attention is also called to the additional responsibilities of the Secretary General, recommended in connection with the annual political appraisal (Chapter II, paragraph 52), and the peaceful settlement of disputes (Chapter II, paragraph 57).
  5. The effective functioning of NATO depends in large measure on the efficiency, devotion and morale of its Secretariat. Acceptance of the recommendations in this report would impose on the Secretariat new duties and responsibilities. Governments must, therefore, be prepared to give the International Staff all necessary support, both in finance and personnel. If this is not done, the recommendations of the report, even if accepted by governments, will not be satisfactorily carried out.

Annex: Council Resolutions

  1. Resolution on the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes and Differences between Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Whereas the parties to the North Atlantic Treaty, under Article I of that treaty, have undertaken "to settle any international disputes in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered'';

Whereas the parties have further undertaken to seek to eliminate conflicts in their international economic policies and will encourage economic collaboration between any or all of them;

Whereas NATO unity and strength in the pursuit of these objectives remain essential for continuous cooperation in military and non-military fields;

The North Atlantic Council:

Reaffirms the obligations of all its members, under Article I of the Treaty, to settle by peaceful means any dispute between themselves;

Decides that such disputes which have not proved capable of settlement directly be submitted to good offices procedures within the NATO framework before member governments resort to any other international agency except for disputes of a legal character appropriate for submission to a judicial tribunal and those disputes of an economic character for which attempts at settlement might best be made initially in the appropriate specialised economic organisations;

Recognises the right and duty of member governments and of the Secretary General to bring to its attention matters which in their opinion may threaten the solidarity or effectiveness of the Alliance;

Empowers the Secretary General to offer his good offices informally at any time to member governments involved in a dispute and with their consent to initiate or facilitate procedures of inquiry, mediation, conciliation, or arbitration;

Authorises the Secretary General where he deems it appropriate for the purpose outlined in the preceding paragraph to use the assistance of not more than three permanent representatives chosen by him in each instance.

  1. Resolution on the Report of the Committee of Three on Non- Military Cooperation in NATO

Whereas the North Atlantic Council at its meeting in Paris on May 5 established a Committee composed of the Foreign Ministers of Italy, Canada and Norway to advise the Council on ways and means to improve and extend NATO cooperation in non-military fields and to develop greater unity within the Atlantic Community;

Whereas the Committee of Three has now reported on the task assigned to it and has submitted to the Council a number of recommendations on such ways and means to improve and extend NATO cooperation in non-military fields;

The North Atlantic Council:

Takes note of the Report of the Committee of Three; and

Approves its recommendations; and

Invites the Council in Permanent Session to implement in the light of the comments made by governments the principles and recommendations contained in the Report; and

Invites the Secretary General to draw up for consideration by the Council such further specific proposals as may be required for the implementation of these recommendations and to report periodically on the compliance with these recommendations by governments. Authorises the Committee of Three to publish their report.

  1. The outstanding instances are the Organisation for European Cooperation and Development (OECD) (which includes all NATO countries and four others); the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT); the International Monetary Fund (IMF); the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD); the International Finance Corporation (IFC); and the various other United Nations agencies including the Economic Commission for Europe. Several NATO members participate actively in the Colombo Plan for promoting economic development in Asia. Most members are taking an active part in technical assistance programmes and are also participating in discussions of proposals for the creation of a Special United Nations Fund for Economic Development (SUNFED).