|Updated: 7 July 2000||NATO Basic Texts|
Declaration of the NATO Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council (the 40th anniversary of the Alliance)
Brussels, 29/30 May 1989
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 cooperation. 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
3. In our rapidly changing world, where ideas transcend borders ever more easily, the strength and accomplishments of democ- racy and freedom are increasingly apparent. The inherent inability of oppressive systems to fulfil the aspirations of their citizens has become equally evident.
4. 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 participa- tion 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.
5. We also welcome the marked progress in some countries of Eastern Europe towards establishing more democratic institu- tions, 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
6. Our vision of a just, humane and democratic world has always underpinned the policies of this Alliance. The changes that are now taking place are bringing us closer to the realisation of this vision.
7. 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 cooperation 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 cooperation, including arms control, as a means of bringing about a just and lasting peaceful order in Europe.
8. The Alliance's long-term objectives are:
9. Within our larger responsibilities as Heads of State or Government, we are also committed
Maintaining our defence
10. Peace must be worked for; it can never be taken for granted. The greatly improved East-West political climate offers pro- spects for a stable and lasting peace, but experience teaches us that we must remain prepared. We can overlook neither the capabilities of the Warsaw Treaty countries for offensive military action, nor the potential hazards resulting from severe political strain and crisis.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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, roles 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
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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 cooperation, we can now exploit fully the potential of arms control as an agent of change.
17. We challenge the members of the Warsaw Treaty Organisa- tion 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 9 March (1) . We will:
18. 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.
19. 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
20. 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 recognise that the basis of our security and prosperity
21. 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 recognise that our common tasks transcend the resources of either Europe or North America alone.
22. 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.
23. To ensure the continuing success of our efforts we have agreed to:
Overcoming the division of Europe
24. 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.
25. 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 recognise progress in the implementation of CSCE commitments by some Eastern countries. But we call upon all of them to recognise 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:
26. 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 Cooperation
27. 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 cooperation 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 cooperation, while a continuing denial of basic freedoms cannot but have a negative effect. Our approach recognises that each country is unique and must be treated on its own merits. We also recognise 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 organisations, as appropriate.
28. To that end, we have agreed the following joint agenda for the future:
29. Worldwide developments which affect our security interests are legitimate matters for consultation and, where appropriate, coordination among us. Our security is to be seen in a context broader than the protection from war alone.
30. Regional conflicts continue to be of major concern. The coordinated 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.
31. We will seek to contain the newly emerging security threats and destabilising consequences resulting from the uncontrolled spread and application of modern military technologies.
32. 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 cooperation with other States.
33. We will each further develop our close cooperation with the other industrial democracies akin to us in their objectives and policies.
34. 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''
35. Convinced of the vital need for international cooperation in science and technology, and of its beneficial effect on global security, we have for several decades maintained Alliance programmes of scientific cooperation. Recognising the impor- tance of safeguarding the environment we have also cooperated, 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
36. 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.
37. 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.