The first Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council to be
held at the new Brussels headquarters ended on 14th December.
- Ministers approved the report on the Future Tasks of the
Alliance, prepared in conformity with the decisions taken on 16th
December, 1966 on the initiative of the Belgian Foreign Minister.
The report is annexed to this communique.
- The Council examined developments in the international
situation since their last meeting. Ministers reviewed the
efforts made by their governments to improve East/West relations
and noted the extensive bilateral contacts made in recent months.
They expressed the hope that these efforts might lead to progress
in the settlement of outstanding European problems. Ministers
also discussed long-range policy questions, especially those
covered in the report on Future Tasks of the Alliance.
- The Council discussed proposals presented by the "North
Atlantic Assembly" of Parliamentarians at their recent meeting for closer co-operation between themselves and the Council. The Secretary General was authorized to study ways and means for this purpose and to submit suggestions to the Council.
- Ministers emphasized the importance of promoting progress in
disarmament and arms control, including concrete measures to
prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. They reaffirmed
their view that, if conditions permit, a balanced reduction of
forces on both sides could constitute a significant step towards
security in Europe.
- The Council recalled the views expressed in the declaration
on Germany issued on 16th December, 1966. Ministers
emphasized that the peaceful settlement of the German
question on a basis which would take account of the
German people's fundamental right to re-unification
was an essential factor for a just and lasting peaceful
order in Europe. In reviewing the present state of the
German question, Ministers were informed by their German
colleague about his Government's increased efforts to
improve relations with Eastern European countries and
to promote East/ West détente. He emphasized
that it was in this spirit that his Government was also
trying to handle the problems arising from the division
of Germany. Considering the difficulties of reaching
an early solution, Ministers agreed that at present
the only realistic possibility for progress remained
the step-by-step approach advocated and applied by the
Federal Government. With regard to Berlin, the Ministers
confirmed their declaration
of 16th December, 1958.
- Ministers noted the Secretary General's report on his
"Watching Brief" and invited him to continue his activities in
this sphere. They expressed their appreciation of the important
role played by the Secretary General in reducing the recent
crisis concerning Cyprus and Greek-Turkish relations. They
expressed satisfaction with the agreement between Turkey and
Greece on the steps being taken to resolve the crisis, taking
advantage, as appropriate, of the actions of the United Nations.
They reaffirmed their conviction that Turkey and Greece should,
in the spirit of the solidarity of the Alliance, continue their
efforts to facilitate a peaceful and rapid solution of the Cyprus
- Ministers considered the report on Technological Co-operation
prepared in response to the Resolution
adopted on 14th June, 1967 on the initiative of the
Foreign Minister of Italy. They invited the Council
in Permanent Session assisted by competent organs of
the Alliance to continue its studies on the Alliance's
role in the field of technology, including the possibilities
for applying defence technology to civil needs. The
aim is to encourage co-operation between member countries
and to contribute towards narrowing the technological
disparities which may exist between these countries.
Ministers also invited the Council in Permanent Session
to develop the most efficient and economical ways for
co-ordinating the various activities of the Alliance
in the field of defence technology.
- Ministers considered and approved a report on Civil Emergency
Planning. Stressing the vital importance of such planning, they
noted the progress which had been achieved and the tasks which
remained to be accomplished.
- Ministers met as the Defence Planning Committee on 12th
December 1967, to review the work accomplished since their
previous meeting on 9th May 1967, and to give directions for
- They agreed that one of the foundations for achieving an
improvement in East/West relations and a peaceful settlement in
Europe must be NATO's continuing military strength and capability
to deter aggression. In this connection they noted that the
Soviet Union continues to expend increasing resources upon its
powerful military forces and is developing types of forces
designed to enable it to achieve a significant military presence
in other parts of the world. They also observed that during the
past year there has been a marked expansion in Soviet forces in
- Ministers recalled that at their previous meeting they had
given political, strategic, and economic guidance to the NATO
Military Authorities for the development of an up-to-date
strategic concept and an up-to-date five-year force plan covering
the period up to the end of 1972. They adopted the revised
strategic concept submitted by the Military Committee following
the first comprehensive review of NATO's strategy since 1956.
This concept, which adapts NATO's strategy to current political,
military, and technological developments, is based upon a
flexible and balanced range of appropriate responses,
conventional and nuclear, to all levels of aggression or threats
of aggression. These responses, subject to appropriate political
control, are designed, first to deter aggression and thus
preserve peace; but, should aggression unhappily occur, to
maintain the security and integrity of the North Atlantic Treaty
area within the concept of forward defence.
- Ministers also noted the force commitments undertaken by
member nations for the year 1968, and for the first time adopted
a five-year NATO force plan, covering the period 1968-1972. They
gave directions for the development in 1968 of a force plan for
the period 1969-1973 in accordance with the procedures for
five-year rolling planning adopted in December 1966.
- Ministers devoted particular attention to the security of the
flank regions of Allied Command Europe.
- They decided to transform the "Matchmaker" Naval Training
Squadron into a Standing Naval Force Atlantic of destroyer-type
ships. This force, continuously operational, will enhance
existing co-operation between the naval forces of member
- France did not take part in the discussions referred to in
paragraphs 10 to 15 and did not associate herself with the
- The regular Spring Ministerial Meeting for 1968 will be held