Updated: 23-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus



Dec. 1967

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. M. Brosio.


First Ministerial Meeting to be held in new Brussels Headquarters Report on the Future Tasks of the Alliance, "Harmel Report" approved Proposals of the North Atlantic Assembly - Disarmament and Arms Control - Germany and Berlin - Cyprus "Watching Brief" - Technological Co-operation - Civil Emergency Planning - Defence Planning Committee - Standing Naval Force Atlantic.

Report on Future Tasks of the Alliance annexed to Communiqué.

    The first Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council to be held at the new Brussels headquarters ended on 14th December. 1967.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 problem.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 future work.

  10. 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 the Mediterranean.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Ministers devoted particular attention to the security of the flank regions of Allied Command Europe.

  14. 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 countries.

  15. France did not take part in the discussions referred to in paragraphs 10 to 15 and did not associate herself with the corresponding decisions.

  16. The regular Spring Ministerial Meeting for 1968 will be held in Reykjavik.

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