- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.