Washington Summit Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns

  • 30 May. 1978 - 31 May. 1978
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  • Last updated: 22 Jun. 2023 16:48

Meeting with participation of Heads of State and Government - Long term trends in East-West relations - Berlin and Germany - Review of CSCE implementation at Belgrade - Achievement of NATO Science Committee (20th Anniversary) - Need to strengthen South Eastern flanks - Concern at continual Warsaw Pact expansion of offensive capabilities - SALT - MBFR - Leaders of States participating in NATO integrated defence approve LTDP and call for follow-through action by national authorities.

They called attention to the important new initiative which they introduced into the negotiations on 19th April, to which they now look for a serious and constructive response from the Warsaw Pact participants. These Allies consider that the data discussion in Vienna is an essential element in the efforts towards a satisfactory outcome and that the clarification of the data base is therefore decisive for substantial progress in the negotiations.

These Allies state that they will propose that a meeting of the negotiations at Foreign Minister level should be convened at an appropriate date once substantial progress has been made in the negotiations and it is clear that a meeting at this level could contribute effectively to the early conclusion of a mutually satisfactory agreement.

  1. The North Atlantic Council met with the participation of Heads of State and Government in Washington on 30th and 31st May, 1978.
  2. Since its inception the Alliance has served to guarantee security, enhance co-operation and cohesion and promote peace. Its fundamental vitality lies in the fact that all Allied countries enjoy democratic systems of government. The Allies remain convinced that these systems provide the most humane and effective means of organizing society to deal with the challenges of the modern world. They reaffirmed the central role of the Alliance as the guardian of their collective security and renewed their pledge to consult with one another about the common goals and purposes of the Alliance for the years ahead.
  3. The Allied leaders noted that their meeting follows a year of intense activity, analysis and reassessment aimed at ensuring that the Alliance can meet future tasks. In particular, the Allies have successfully undertaken the study and implementation of the decisions and initiatives taken in common at the Council's meeting in London last May.
  4. The fresh study of long-term trends in East-West relations, decided upon in London, had confirmed the continuing validity of the two complementary aims of the Alliance, to maintain security and pursue détente. Based on an examination of the situation and trends in the USSR and the other Warsaw Pact countries, the Councils study concludes that members of the Alliance must maintain their solidarity and their vigilance, and keep their defences at the level rendered necessary by the Warsaw Pact's offensive capabilities, while, at the same time, striving to promote détente. The study had also confirmed that relations between the Allies and the Warsaw Pact countries have become more extensive, but that serious causes of tension still persist.
  5. The Allied leaders noted with concern the repeated instances in which the Soviet Union and some of its allies have exploited situations of instability and regional conflict in the developing world. Disregard for the indivisibility of détente cannot but jeopardise the further improvement of East-West relations. They also emphasised however, that these situations should not be viewed exclusively in an East-West context and reaffirmed the importance they attach to encouraging peaceful settlements through negotiation by the countries and regional organizations themselves.
  6. The Allies reviewed the developments concerning Berlin and Germany as a whole. They noted that since the Ministerial Meeting in December 1977, the situation in and around Berlin had been generally without serious disturbance, but that the difficulties had persisted in certain important fields. They reaffirmed the previously stated positions of the Alliance, particularly the conviction that the strict observance and full implementation of all provisions of the Quadripartite Agreement of 3rd September, 1971 are essential for the promotion of détente, the maintenance of security and the development of co-operation throughout Europe.
  7. The Allies remain determined to pursue as constructive and positive a relationship as possible with the Soviet Union and the other East European countries, which they see as being essential to international peace. They reaffirmed their view that closer contact and understanding should be further encouraged, with a view to enlarging the basis for a more genuine and lasting détente.
  8. The Allies remain convinced that full implementation of the CSCE Final Act is of essential importance to the improvement of East-West relations. The Allies welcomed the thorough review of implementation which took place in Belgrade, and noted that human rights and humanitarian questions have been confirmed as legitimate areas of concern to the international community. They recalled that all participating states reaffirmed their resolve to implement the Helsinki Final Act in full and their will to continue the multilateral process initiated by the CSCE. They regretted, however, that the Belgrade meeting did not have a more substantial outcome; they stressed the importance of better implementation of all the provisions of the Final Act so that, by the time of the Madrid meeting in 1980, the review of implementation will show that significant improvement has been made not only in relations between states, but also in the lives of individuals. In this respect, they found it incompatible with the Final Act and with détente that the Soviet Union and some other Eastern European countries fail to recognise the right of their citizens to act upon the provisions of the Helsinki document without being subjected to repressive measures.
  9. The Allied leaders reiterated their determination to work vigorously for a more effective and equitable world economic system. The governments of the Allied countries, by their long-standing efforts in extending aid to the developing countries, have demonstrated the importance they attach to this objective. They call upon the Warsaw Pact countries to participate fully in this endeavour.
  10. International co-operation in the fields of science and technology and of the environment can likewise contribute to a better world. In this respect, Allied leaders noted with satisfaction the achievements of the NATO Science Committee, which recently celebrated its 20th Anniversary, and of the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society.
  11. Having in mind the provisions of Article 2 of the North Atlantic Treaty the Allied leaders recognise the great importance of securing a sound basis for the further improvement of the economic and social conditions of their peoples. Difficulties in maintaining a sufficient and sustained economic growth are affecting the ability of some members of the Alliance to maintain an effective defence effort. In addition to Allied assistance and co-operation in the defence field, those countries also need economic assistance and co-operation aimed at helping them in their development programmes and in the improvement of the living standards of their peoples. To this end, the Secretary General was invited to conduct a study, taking into account existing efforts by Allied members bilaterally and in other international fora, and to report to the Council on the way in which this problem could be addressed.
  12. The Allies noted with satisfaction the meeting of the Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey. They expressed the hope that this dialogue on bilateral questions will contribute to the solution of the differences between the two countries.
  13. The Allies reaffirmed the importance they attach to the strengthening of cohesion and solidarity especially in the South Eastern flank. They expressed the hope that existing problems will be resolved, and that full co-operation among members of the Alliance in all aspects of the defence field would be resumed.
  14. Having considered the situation in the Middle East, the Allied leaders expressed the hope that efforts aiming at a comprehensive settlement in the area would continue. They urged all parties concerned to redouble their efforts to reach a just and lasting peace.
  15. The efforts by the Allies to reduce tensions between East and West and to discourage attempts to use military power for political ends, can only be successfully pursued in the context of a stable military balance. Such a balance would ensure that they can pursue their détente policies in safety and with confidence.
  16. The Allied leaders expressed their concern at the continual expansion of Warsaw Pact offensive capabilities. Faced with this situation, and notwithstanding Soviet statements that these massive military resources are not designed to threaten the security of the Allied countries, the latter have no option but to continue two complementary approaches: on the one hand, strengthen their defensive capabilities and on the other, seek to promote negotiations on arms control and disarmament agreements. The Allies will continue to follow the latter approach whenever possible, but progress in this direction necessarily depends on a positive attitude on the part of the Warsaw Pact countries.
  17. The Allied leaders recognised that effective and verifiable limitation of arms, aimed in particular at correcting the existing imbalances in Europe in the conventional field is an indispensable condition for a durable improvement in East-West relations and for the consolidation of peace.
  18. The Allied leaders discussed the US-USSR Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. They welcomed progress made in the negotiations and expressed support for US efforts to conclude an agreement which is responsive to the security interests and concerns of the Alliance and which enhances strategic stability and maintains deterrence.
  19. With respect to Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions, the Allies who participate in the negotiations in Vienna reaffirmed their commitment to these negotiations which they first proposed at the Ministerial Meeting in Reykjavik ten years ago, and their determination to bring them to a successful conclusion. They confirmed their endorsement of the agreed objective of the negotiations to contribute to a more stable relationship and the strengthening of peace and security in Europe. This objective would be achieved by their proposal to create approximate parity in ground forces in the area of reductions through the establishment of a common collective ceiling on ground force manpower and the reduction of the disparity in tanks.
  20. The Allies welcomed the United Nations Special Session on Disarmament. They expressed their resolve to participate in it constructively and their hope that this important conference would produce substantial results. Allied leaders agreed that the destructiveness of modern weaponry, the danger of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the needs of the developing countries and the requirements of their own societies make co-operation on a wide range of disarmament and arms control issues an urgent task for all countries. Progress in this direction cannot but contribute to international prosperity and make easier the necessary growth in financial resources devoted to development. The Allies reaffirmed their determination to persevere, through negotiation, in the pursuit of realistic and verifiable disarmament and arms control measures that enhance stability, reduce force levels and promote security. To these ends, they agreed to make fuller use of the Alliance machinery for thorough consultation on arms control and disarmament issues.
  21. Until such time as it proves possible to achieve a satisfactory military balance at lower levels of forces through realistic and verifiable force reduction agreements, the Allies will continue to devote all the resources necessary to modernize and strengthen their own forces to the extent required for deterrence and defence. They will continue the efforts they have undertaken to preserve and promote the strong industrial and technical capability which is essential to the defence of the Alliance as a whole. The provision of new and existing generations of weaponry will require the most effective use of defence resources and deepened co-operation in armaments. In this connection, the Allies welcomed the steps that had been taken pursuant to the initiative agreed in London on the intensification of the Transatlantic Dialogue. The Allies are convinced that the effectiveness of their forces can be increased through enhanced interoperability and standardization of equipment and defence equipment planning procedures.
  22. Against the background of the study of long-term trends in East-West relations and other matters affecting Western security, leaders of states taking part in the integrated defence structure of the Alliance considered on 31st May a report on the Long-Term Defence Programme prepared by their Defence Ministers, which had been commissioned at the London Summit Meeting in May 1977.
  23. They noted with approval that emphasis was placed in the Long-Term Defence Programme on greater co-operative efforts and on the need for NATO co-ordinated defence planning to be projected into the longer term. The leaders of these states endorsed specific programmes approved by Defence Ministers to improve the readiness of NATO's forces and the mobilization of reserves, to strengthen NATO's air defences, to counter the electronic warfare threat, to enhance NATO's maritime posture, to provide more effective logistic support for all NATO forces, and to improve NATO's command, control and communications arrangements. They approved programmes designed to accelerate the movement of significant reinforcements to the forward areas in a time of crisis, envisaging the commitment of civil air, sea, land and national infrastructure resources; and they welcomed in particular the United States intention to preposition heavy equipment for three additional United States divisions in the Central Region of Allied Command Europe by 1982, recognising the need for European Allies to provide the necessary support and other facilities. They also noted with interest the work underway in the Nuclear Planning Group towards meeting needs for the modernization of theatre nuclear forces.
  24. These Allied leaders noted with satisfaction that almost all countries had indicated their intention to adjust their financial plans for defence in accordance with the aim, established in the 1977 Ministerial Guidance , of an annual increase in defence expenditure in the region of 3% in real terms. They also stressed the importance of achieving the most effective return from resources made available or planned for defence by the achievement of a greater degree of co-operation and rationalization; they welcomed the emphasis placed in the Long-Term Defence Programme on this objective.
  25. They expressed their support for the Long-Term Defence Programme forwarded by their Defence Ministers, as a major contribution towards adapting NATO's forces to the changing needs of the 1980s. They called for vigorous follow-through action to be taken by national authorities and at NATO and international military headquarters. In this connection, Turkey pointed out the importance to her participation of sufficient support from her Allies as well as of the complete removal of existing restrictions on the procurement of defence equipment.
  26. In taking these decisions, these Allied leaders concluded that, in the absence of equitable arms control and disarmament agreements, a satisfactory balance in strategic, theatre nuclear and conventional terms could only be assured by greater efforts to modernize and strengthen the military capacity of the Alliance. They stressed that the maintenance of security is indispensable for the continued freedom, individual liberty and welfare of their societies and for the furthering of détente.