Updated: 23-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus



2nd-3rd May

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. G. Martino and Lord Ismay.


Reaffirmation of Alliance's right to possess atomic weapons - Decision to intensify the effort to reunify Germany through free elections - Middle East Security.

  1. The North Atlantic Council, presided over by Mr. Gaetano Martino, Foreign Minister of Italy, held its regular Ministerial meeting in Bonn on 2nd and 3rd May, 1957. The Secretary General, Lord Ismay, acted as Chairman of the Council's discussions.

  2. The Atlantic Alliance has always been and remains purely defensive. It was created to protect its member countries from any aggression. lt has succeeded. But the danger of aggression clearly continues, and the countries of the Atlantic Alliance must therefore remain united to provide for their defence.

    The Council noted that since its last meeting the Soviet leaders have launched a campaign which, while throwing the cloak of oblivion over Soviet repression in Hungary, is designed to induce public opinion in various member countries to oppose the modernization of defence forces, and to weaken the principle of collective security in NATO.

    The Council agreed that one of the objects of this campaign was to ensure for Soviet forces a monopoly of nuclear weapons on the European continent. Such a situation clearly could not be accepted. It was with satisfaction that the Council noted the firm replies given to these Soviet maneuvers.

  3. The Atlantic Alliance must be in a position to use all available means to meet any attack which might be launched against it. It is the availability of the most modern weapons of defence which will discourage attempts to launch any such attack on the Alliance. Pending an acceptable agreement on disarmament, no power can claim the right to deny to the Alliance the possession of the modern arms needed for its defence. If, however, the fears professed by the Soviet Union are sincere, they could be readily dissipated. All that is needed is for the Soviet Union to accept a general disarmament agreement embodying effective measures of control and inspection within the framework of the proposals made on numerous occasions by the Western powers, which remain an essential basis of their policy.

  4. During their discussions on the problem of security, the question was raised of the balance as between the latest weapons and conventional arms. The Council is awaiting the results of the studies now in hand by the NATO military authorities to enable member countries to decide together on the steps necessary for the development and balance of the different types of forces needed. The Council remains convinced that these decisions taken in common should take into account the need for NATO to retain an effective deterrent against aggression, including a powerful shield of land, sea and air forces, to protect the territory of member states.

  5. Recent events in Hungary have confirmed that freedom counts for nothing in Soviet eyes, and that the USSR is prepared to use force to crush the legitimate aspirations of nations. The Council agreed that the continued brutal repression of the struggle for freedom of the heroic Hungarian people remains, and continues to make difficult an improvement in East-West relations.

  6. The Council discussed the effect of political developments in recent months on the question of German reunification. They decided to continue their efforts with every means at their disposal to induce the Soviet Government to carry out its agreement that Germany should be reunified by means of free elections. The Ministers view the prolonged division of Germany and the anomalous situation of Berlin as a continuing threat to world peace. They according]y reaffirmed their determination by peaceful means to continue and intensify the common policy for the restoration of Germany as a free and united state within the framework of a system of European security. They directed particular attention to the inhumanity of the continued division of the German people.

  7. The Council reviewed recent developments in the Middle East. They concluded that while the dangers to peace in the region remain great, certain new elements give promise of limiting the opportunities for Communist expansion and subversion. The Council emphasized the importance of current initiatives to improve the situation and to reinforce the efforts already made to ensure the security and integrity of countries in the Middle East.

  8. The Ministers considered the state of the Alliance in the light of political developments, both within and without the NATO area, which have taken place since they last met five months ago. In this connection they reviewed the progress achieved in political consultation under the new procedures inaugurated as a result of the recommendations of the Committee of Three approved last December. They concluded that useful and concrete results had been achieved, and that the Alliance was acquiring both greater maturity and solidarity.

  9. The Council noted the report submitted by Lord Ismay, and conveyed to him their thanks and gratitude for the supreme services which he has rendered to the cause of the Alliance in the past five years.

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