Declaration of the Heads of State and Government

participating in the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council

  • 29 May. 1989 -
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  • Last updated: 26 Aug. 2010 11:45

NATO's 40 Years of Success

  1. As our Alliance celebrates its 40th Anniversary, we measure its achievements with pride. Founded in troubled times to safeguard our security, it has withstood the test of four decades, and has allowed our countries to enjoy in freedom one of the longest periods of peace and prosperity in their history. The Alliance has been a fundamental element of stability and co-operation. These are the fruits of a partnership based on enduring common values and interests, and on unity of purpose.
  2. Our meeting takes place at a juncture of unprecedented change and opportunities. This is a time to look ahead, to chart the course of our Alliance and to set our agenda for the future.

A Time Of Change

  1. In our rapidly changing world, where ideas transcend borders ever more easily, the strength and accomplishments of democracy and freedom are increasingly apparent. The inherent inability of oppressive systems to fulfil the aspirations of their citizens has become equally evident.
  2. In the Soviet Union, important changes are underway. We welcome the current reforms that have already led to greater openness, improved respect for human rights, active participation of the individual, and new attitudes in foreign policy. But much remains to be done. We still look forward to the full implementation of the announced change in priorities in the allocation of economic resources from the military to the civilian sector. If sustained, the reforms will strengthen prospects for fundamental improvements in East- West relations.
  3. We also welcome the marked progress in some countries of Eastern Europe towards establishing more democratic institutions, freer elections and greater political pluralism and economic choice. However, we deplore the fact that certain Eastern European governments have chosen to ignore this reforming trend and continue all too frequently to violate human rights and basic freedoms.

Shaping The Future

  1. Our vision of a just, humane and democratic world has always under- pinned the policies of this Alliance. The changes that are now taking place are bringing us closer to the realisation of this vision.
  2. We want to overcome the painful division of Europe, which we have never accepted. We want to move beyond the post-war period. Based on today's momentum of increased co-operation and tomorrow's common challenges, we seek to shape a new political order of peace in Europe. We will work as Allies to seize all opportunities to achieve this goal. But ultimate success does not depend on us alone.

    Our guiding principles in the pursuit of this course will be the policies of the Harmel Report in their two complementary and mutually reinforcing approaches: adequate military strength and political solidarity and, on that basis, the search for constructive dialogue and co-operation, including arms control, as a means of bringing about a just and lasting peaceful order in Europe.

  3. The Alliance's long-term objectives are :
  • to ensure that wars and intimidation of any kind in Europe and North America are prevented, and that military aggression is an option which no government could rationally contemplate or hope successfully to undertake, and by doing so to lay the foundations for a world where military forces exist solely to preserve the independence and territorial integrity of their countries, as has always been the case for the Allies;
  • to establish a new pattern of relations between the countrìes of East and West, in which ideological and military antagonism will be replaced with co-operation, trust and peaceful competition and in which human rights and political freedoms will be fully guaranteed and enjoyed by all individuals.
  1. Within our larger responsibilities as Heads of State or Government, we are also committed
  • to strive for an international community founded on the rule of law, where all nations join together to reduce world tensions, settle disputes peacefully, and search for solutions to those issues of universal concern, including poverty, social injustice and the environment, on which our common fate depends.

Maintaining our Defence

  1. Peace must be worked for; it can never be taken for granted. The greatly improved East-West political climate offers prospects for a stable and lasting peace, but experience teaches us that we must remain prepared. We can over- look neither the capabilities of the Warsaw Treaty countries for offensive military action, nor the potential hazards resulting from severe political strain and crisis.
  2. A strong and united Alliance will remain fundamental not only for the security of our countries but also for our policy of supporting political change. It is the basis for further successful negotiations on arms control and on measures to strengthen mutual confidence through improved transparency and predictability. Military security and policies aimed at reducing tensions as well as resolving underlying political differences are not contradictory but complementary. Credible defence based on the principle of the indivisibility of security for all member countries will thus continue to be essential to our common endeavour.
  3. For the foreseeable future, there is no alternative to the Alliance strategy for the prevention of war. This is a strategy of deterrence based upon an appropriate mix of adequate and effective nuclear and conventional forces which will continue to be kept up-to-date where necessary. We shall ensure the viability and credibility of these forces, while maintaining them at the lowest possible level consistent with our security requirements.
  4. The presence of North American conventional and nuclear forces in Europe remains vital to the security of Europe just as Europe's security is vital to that of North America. Maintenance of this relationship requires that the Allies fulfil their essential commitments in support of the common defence. Each of our countries will accordingly assume its fair share of the risks, rôles and responsibilities of the Atlantic partnership. Growing European political unity can lead to a reinforced European component of our common security effort and its efficiency. It will be essential to the success of these efforts to make the most effective use of resources made available for our security. To this end, we will seek to maximise the efficiency of our defence programmes and pursue solutions to issues in the area of economic and trade policies as they affect our defence. We will also continue to protect our technological capabilities by effective export controls on essential strategic goods.

Initiatives on Arms Control

  1. Arms control has always been an integral part of the Alliance's security policy and of its overall approach to East-West relations, firmly embedded in the broader political context in which we seek the improvement of those relations.
  2. The Allies have consistently taken the lead in developing the conceptual foundations for arms control, identifying areas in which the negotiating partners share an interest in achieving a mutually satisfactory result while safeguarding the legitimate security interests of all.
  3. Historic progress has been made in recent years, and we now see prospects for further substantial advances. In our determined effort to reduce the excessive weight of the military factor in the East-West relationship and increasingly to replace confrontation by co-operation, we can now exploit fully the potential of arms control as an agent of change.
  4. We challenge the members of the Warsaw Treaty Organization to join us in accelerating efforts to sign and implement an agreement which will enhance security and stability in Europe by reducing conventional armed forces. To seize the unique opportunity at hand we intend to present a proposal that will amplify and expand on the position we tabled at the opening of the CFE negotiations on 9th March.¹ We will:
  • register agreement, based on the ceilings already proposed in Vienna, on tanks, armoured troop carriers and artillery pieces held by members of the two Alliances in Europe, with all of the withdrawn equipment to be destroyed. Ceilings on tanks and armoured troop carriers will be based on proposals already tabled in Vienna; definitional questions on artillery pieces remain to be resolved;
  • expand our current proposal to include reductions by each side to equal ceilings at the level 15 per cent below current Alliance holdings of helicopters and of all land-based combat aircraft in the Atlantic-to-the-Urals zone, with all the withdrawn equipment to be destroyed;
  • propose a 20 per cent cut in combat manpower in US stationed forces, and a resulting ceiling on US and Soviet ground and air force personnel stationed outside of national territory in the Atlantic-to-the-Urals zone at approximately 275,000. This ceiling would require the Soviet Union to reduce its forces in Eastern Europe by some 325,000. United States and Soviet forces withdrawn will be demobilized;
  • seek such an agreement within six months to a year and accomplish the reductions by 1992 or 1993. Accordingly, we have directed the Alliance's High Level Task Force on conventional arms control to complete the further elaboration of this proposal, including its verification elements, so that it may be tabled at the beginning of the third round of the CFE negotiations, which opens on 7th September 1989.
  1. We consider as an important initiative President Bush's call for an "open skies" regime intended to improve confidence among States through reconnaissance flights, and to contribute to the transparency of military activity, to arms control and to public awareness. It will be the subject of careful study and wide-ranging consultations.
  2. Consistent with the principles and objectives set out in our Comprehensive Concept of Arms Control and Disarmament which we have adopted at this meeting, we will continue to use arms control as a means to enhance security and stability at the lowest possible level of armed forces, and to strengthen confidence by further appropriate measures. We have already demonstrated our commitment to these objectives: both by negotiations and by unilateral action, resulting since 1979 in reductions of over one-third of the nuclear holdings assigned to SACEUR in Europe.

Towards An Enhanced Partnership

  1. As the Alliance enters its fifth decade we will meet the challenge of shaping our relationship in a way which corresponds to the new political and economic realities of the 1990s. As we do so, we recognize that the basis of our security and prosperity - and of our hopes for better East-West relations - is and will continue to be the close cohesion between the countries of Europe and of North America, bound together by their common values and democratic institutions as much as by their shared security interests.
  2. Ours is a living and developing partnership. The strength and stability derived from our transatlantic bond provide a firm foundation for the achievement of our long-term vision, as well as of our goals for the immediate future. We recognize that our common tasks transcend the resources of either Europe or North America alone.
  3. We welcome in this regard the evolution of an increasingly strong and coherent European identity, including in the security area. The process we are witnessing today provides an example of progressive integration, leaving centuries-old conflicts far behind. It opens the way to a more mature and balanced transatlantic partnership and constitutes one of the foundations of Europe's future structure.
  4. To ensure the continuing success of our efforts we have agreed to
  • strengthen our process of political consultation and, where appropriate, co-ordination, and have instructed the Council in Permanent Session to consider methods for its further improvement;
  • expand the scope and intensity of our effort to ensure that our respective approaches to problems affecting our common security are complementary and mutually supportive;
  • renew our support for our economically less-favoured partners and to reaffirm our goal of improving the present level of co-operation and assistance;
  • continue to work in the appropriate fora for more commercial, monetary and technological co-operation, and to see to it that no obstacles impede such co-operation.

Overcoming the Division of Europe

  1. Now, more than ever, our efforts to overcome the division of Europe must address its underlying political causes. Therefore all of us will continue to pursue a comprehensive approach encompassing the many dimensions of the East-West agenda. In keeping with our values, we place primary emphasis on basic freedoms for the people in Eastern Europe. These are also key elements for strengthening the stability and security of all states and for guaranteeing lasting peace on the continent.
  2. The CSCE process encompasses our vision of a peaceful and more constructive relationship among all participating states. We intend to develop it further, in all its dimensions, and to make the fullest use of it. We recognize progress in the implementation of CSCE commitments by some Eastern countries. But we call upon all of them to recognize and implement fully the commitments which all CSCE states have accepted. We will invoke the CSCE mechanisms - as most recently adopted in the Vienna Concluding Document - and the provisions of other international agreements, to bring all Eastern countries to:
  • enshrine in law and practice the human rights and freedoms agreed in international covenants and in the CSCE documents, thus fostering progress towards the rule of law;
  • tear down the walls that separate us physically and politically, simplify the crossing of borders, increase the number of crossing points and allow the free exchange of persons, information and ideas;
  • ensure that people are not prevented by armed force from crossing the frontiers and boundaries which we share with Eastern countries, in exercise of their right to leave any country, including their own;
  • respect in law and practice the right of all the people in each country to determine freely and periodically the nature of the government they wish to have;
  • see to it that their peoples can decide through their elected authorities what form of relations they wish to have with other countries;
  • grant the genuine economic freedoms that are linked inherently to the rights of the individual;
  • develop transparency, especially in military matters, in pursuit of greater mutual understanding and reassurance.
  1. The situation in and around Berlin is an essential element in East-West relations. The Alliance declares its commitment to a free and prosperous Berlin and to achieving improvements for the city especially through the Allied Berlin Initiative. The Wall dividing the city is an unacceptable symbol of the division of Europe. We seek a state of peace in Europe in which the German people regains its unity through free self-determination.

Our Design for Co-Operation

  1. We, for our part, have today reaffirmed that the Alliance must and will reintensify its own efforts to overcome the division of Europe and to explore all available avenues of co-operation and dialogue. We support the opening of Eastern societies and encourage reforms that aim at positive political, economic and human rights developments. Tangible steps towards genuine political and economic reform improve possibilities for broad co-operation, while a continuing denial of basic freedoms cannot but have a negative effect. Our approach recognizes that each country is unique and must be treated on its own merits. We also recognize that it is essentially incumbent upon the countries of the East to solve their problems by reforms from within. But we can also play a constructive role within the framework of our Alliance as well as in our respective bilateral relations and in international organizations, as appropriate.
  2. To that end, we have agreed the following joint agenda for the future
  • as opportunities develop, we will expand the scope of our contacts and co-operation to cover a broad range of issues which are important to both East and West. Our goal is a sustained effort geared to specific tasks which will help deepen openness and promote democracy within Eastern countries and thus contribute to the establishment of a more stable peace in Europe;
  • we will pursue in particular expanded contacts beyond the realm of government among individuals in East and West. These contacts should include all segments of our societies, but in particular young people, who will carry the responsibility for continuing our common endeavour;
  • we will seek expanded economic and trade relations with the Eastern countries on the basis of commercially sound terms, mutual interest and reciprocity. Such relations should also serve as incentives for real economic reform and thus ease the way for increased integration of Eastern countries into the international trading system;
  • we intend to demonstrate through increased co-operation that democratic institutions and economic choice create the best possible conditions for economic and social progress. The development of such open systems will facilitate co-operation and, consequently, make its benefits more available;
  • an important task of our co-operation will be to explore means to extend Western experience and know-how to Eastern countries in a manner which responds to and promotes positive change. Exchanges in technical and managerial fields, establishment of co-operative training programmes, expansion of educational, scientific and cultural exchanges all offer possibilities which have not yet been exhausted;
  • equally important will be to integrate Eastern European countries more fully into efforts to meet the social, environmental and technological challenges of the modern world, where common interests should prevail. In accordance with our concern for global challenges, we will seek to engage Eastern countries in co-operative strategies in areas such as the environment, terrorism, and drugs. Eastern willingness to participate constructively in dealing with such challenges will help further co-operation in other areas as well;
  • East-West understanding can be expanded only if our respective societies gain increased knowledge about one another and communicate effectively. To encourage an increase of Soviet and Eastern studies in universities of our countries and of corresponding studies in Eastern countries, we are prepared to establish a Fellowship/Scholarship programme to promote the study of our democratic institutions, with candidates being invited from Eastern as well as Western Europe and North America.

Global Challenges

  1. Worldwide developments which affect our security interests are legitimate matters for consultation and, where appropriate, co-ordination among us. Our security is to be seen in a context broader than the protection from war alone.
  2. Regional conflicts continue to be of major concern. The co-ordinated approach of Alliance members recently has helped toward settling some of the world's most dangerous and long-standing disputes. We hope that the Soviet Union will increasingly work with us in positive and practical steps towards diplomatic solutions to those conflicts that continue to preoccupy the international community.
  3. We will seek to contain the newly emerging security threats and destabilizing consequences resulting from the uncontrolled spread and application of modern military technologies.
  4. In the spirit of Article 2 of the Washington Treaty, we will increasingly need to address worldwide problems which have a bearing on our security, particularly environmental degradation, resource conflicts and grave economic disparities. We will seek to do so in the appropriate multilateral fora, in the widest possible co-operation with other States.
  5. We will each further develop our close co-operation with the other industrial democracies akin to us in their objectives and policies.
  6. We will redouble our efforts in a reinvigorated United Nations, strengthening its role in conflict settlement and peacekeeping, and in its larger endeavours for world peace.

Our "Third Dimension"

  1. Convinced of the vital need for international co-operation in science and technology, and of its beneficial effect on global security, we have for several decades maintained Alliance programmes of scientific co-operation. Recognizing the importance of safeguarding the environment we have also co-operated, in the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society, on environmental matters. These activities have demonstrated the broad range of our common pursuits. We intend to give more impact to our programmes with new initiatives in these areas.

The Future of the Alliance

  1. We, the leaders of 16 free and democratic countries, have dedicated ourselves to the goals of the Alliance and are committed to work in unison for their continued fulfilment.
  2. At this time of unprecedented promise in international affairs, we will respond to the hopes that it offers. The Alliance will continue to serve as the cornerstone of our security, peace and freedom. Secure on this foundation, we will reach out to those who are willing to join us in shaping a more stable and peaceful international environment in the service of our societies.
  1. France takes this opportunity to recall that, since the mandate for the Vienna negotiations excludes nuclear weapons, it retains complete freedom of judgement and decision regarding the resources contributing to the implementation of its independent nuclear deterrent strategy.