Updated: 23-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus



16th 18th Dec

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. P.H. Spaak.


Declaration on Berlin - Political Consultation to be improved by study of long term political questions - Economic questions - Defensive strategy reaffirmed.

    The North Atlantic Council held its regular Ministerial Session in Paris from 16th to 18th December, 1958.

International Situation.

  1. In a comprehensive survey of the international situation, the Council gave first place to the question of Berlin. The Member countries made clear their resolution not to yield to threats. Their unanimous view on Berlin was expressed in the Council's Declaration of 16th December. The Council will continue to follow this question with close attention and will shortly discuss the replies to be sent to the Soviet notes of 27th November

  2. The member states of NATO sincerely believe that the interests of peace require equitable settlements of the outstanding political issues which divide the Free World from the Communist world. A solution of the German question, linked with European security arrangements, and an agreement on controlled disarmament remain in their view essential. The NATO governments will continue to seek just settlements of these problems, but regret that Western proposals on these questions have so far been ignored by the Soviet Government.

  3. The Council heard reports on the Geneva discussions on the discontinuance of nuclear weapons tests, and on measures helpful in preventing surprise attack.

  4. The Council's review of the international situation, on the basis of reports prepared by the Political Committee, covered a wide range of problems. Special attention was given to the efforts of the Communist bloc to weaken the position of the Free World in different areas.

Political Co-operation

  1. The Council had before it a report by the Secretary General on political co operation in the Alliance. The Ministers consider that important progress has been made in this field during 1958. They examined the problems inevitably created by the widening of political consultation. There was general agreement that the existing machinery of NATO is well suited to the needs of the Alliance, and that flexible methods would produce better results than any codification of rules. The Ministers agreed that the preparation of political consultation in the Council could be improved, in particular by more systematic study of long term political questions. The Council paid tribute to the efforts of the Secretary General in the field of conciliation between member countries.

Economic Questions

  1. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance they attach to the measures taken both individually and collectively by member countries to stimulate economic activity and to ensure continuing expansion without inflation.

  2. The Council noted the difficulties encountered in the negotiations undertaken for the organization of economic co operation between the European members of the Alliance who are in the Common Market and those who are not. It considers it necessary that a multilateral association should be established at the earliest possible date and expresses the hope that the efforts now being undertaken with a view to a solution will be successful.

  3. The Council heard a joint statement by the Greek and Turkish Foreign Ministers on the problems of the less developed member countries, and instructed the Permanent Council to undertake a study of this matter.

Military Questions

  1. The Council examined the military situation of the Alliance. After hearing reports by the Standing Group and the Supreme Allied Commanders, the Ministers emphasized the vital need, in view of the continuing increase in Soviet armaments, to sustain without relaxation the effort of member countries to improve the defensive power of the Alliance.

  2. The Council reaffirmed that NATO defensive strategy con tinues to be based on the existence of effective shield forces and on the manifest will to use nuclear retaliatory forces to repel aggression.

  3. The Ministers examined the report of the 1958 Annual Review and approved its conclusions. The implementation of the plans agreed in December 1957 by the Heads of Government is being actively pursued, and methods for accelerating their realization were agreed.

  4. The next regular Ministerial meeting of the Council will be held in Washington on 2nd to 4th April, 1959, at the invitation of the United States Government, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty.

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