The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial Session in Reykjavik on 24th and 25th June, 1968.
- In reviewing the international scene, Ministers examined the
situation created by the recent measures affecting the access
routes to Berlin.
- Ministers stressed again that the Soviet Union is
responsible for any action which has the effect of hampering or
endangering the freedom of communication with Berlin and urged
that such courses of action should be discontinued.
- By challenging international agreements and long-standing
practices concerning Berlin, the East German Authorities have
created a serious situation. Ministers considered these
measures a deliberate attempt to jeopardize détente, from which
Berlin and its inhabitants must not be excluded.
- Ministers recalled the declaration of the North Atlantic
Council on Berlin of December 16,1958 and the responsibilities
which each member state assumed in regard to the security and
welfare of Berlin.
- Member governments do not recognize the "German Democratic
Republic". They consider that its actions, having no juridical
basis, cannot create international rights nor consecrate the
division of Germany against the will of its people. The Three
Powers and the Soviet Union remain responsible for Berlin and
Germany as a whole, pending a peace settlement.
- Ministers approved and associated themselves with the
expressed determination of the Three Powers to maintain freedom
of access to the city. They took note of the decision of the
governments of the Three Powers responsible for the security of
Berlin, together with the government of the Federal Republic of
Germany, to remain in continuous consultation concerning Berlin
and to stand ready to meet any contingency. The Council will be
kept continuously informed and will consult as appropriate on
- Ministers discussed the follow-up to the Report, approved at
the Ministerial Meeting of December 1967, on the Future Tasks
of the Alliance. For this purpose the Council in Permanent
Session submitted to Ministers a comprehensive report on work
which it had accomplished thus far in carrying out the main
tasks set for the Alliance in the years ahead.
- The first part of this Report reviewed East-West relations
since 1966. It set forth the results of a co-operative study by
member governments of their policies designed to promote
progress towards a more stable relationship in which the
underlying political issues in Europe can be solved. The study
noted that in certain respects improvements in East-West
relations had taken place. It concluded that, while in the
longer term prospects for further improvements could be
favorable, opportunities for rapid progress towards general
détente should not be over-rated.
- Ministers nevertheless reaffirmed their intention to
continue their efforts to promote détente. Each ally should
play its full part in improving East-West relations, bearing in
mind the established practice of timely consultation within the
Alliance. Ministers concluded that the intensified examination
and review, within the Alliance, of suitable policies to
achieve a just and stable order in Europe, to overcome the
division of Germany and to foster European security had proved
of great value and should continue. This task will be part of a
process of active and constant preparation for the time when
fruitful discussions of these complex questions may be possible
bilaterally or multilaterally between Eastern and Western
- A second part of the Council's Report summarized the results
so far of intensive work on a programmed study of disarmament
and practical arms control measures. As an initial effort,
member governments and their experts have concentrated on the
study of the possibility of balanced force reductions as
between East and West. The Ministers confirmed the decision of
the Permanent Council to give priority to this complex and
important work. They did not under-estimate the existing
obstacles but they confirmed the need to prevent an escalation
in arms levels on both sides.
- Ministers representing the nations participating in the NATO
Defence Program adopted a declaration on mutual force
reductions, which is attached to this communique. The French
Delegation declared, for reasons of principle and procedure,
that it could associate itself only with paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and
6 of the attached declaration. It has nevertheless affirmed
that, since the study of possibilities of balanced and mutual
force reductions has not been completed, France will continue
to take part in the further work in the Council foreseen in
paragraph 13 of the Report on the Future Tasks of the Alliance.
- Ministers examined and approved a report from the Permanent
Council which dealt in detail with the situation in the
Mediterranean and related defence problems. They directed their
Permanent Representatives to consult fully on this situation
and to extend their consultations in range and depth as
circumstances required. To this end, the Secretary General was
requested to co-ordinate the exchange of information among
members of the Council and to keep the Council closely advised
on the situation in the Mediterranean. It is, of course,
understood that member countries, or the Secretary General, may
put forward matters to be considered by the Council in
accordance with their rights and responsibilities.
- The Ministers of the countries taking part in the Defence
Planning Committee, concerned at the recent expansion of Soviet
activity in the Mediterranean, decided that their Permanent
Representatives, with the assistance of the NATO Military
Authorities, would take under early consideration measures
designed to safeguard the security interests of NATO members in
the Mediterranean area and to improve the effectiveness of
allied forces in that area. The Permanent Representatives will
also consider other measures or organizational changes that may
be needed to enhance the effectiveness and co-ordination of
allied surveillance activities in the Mediterranean and that
may require further authorization.
- France did not associate herself with the decisions
referred to in paragraph 9 above.
- The Council heard statements of the Foreign Ministers of
Greece and Turkey on the subject of relations between the two
allied countries. The Council noted with satisfaction recent
developments in Greek-Turkish relations and expressed the hope
that further progress, to the benefit of both countries and of
the Alliance, might be achieved in the future. The Council also
expressed the hope that the informal talks started between the
two communities of the Republic of Cyprus would make an
important contribution towards a final settlement of the
- The next Ministerial Meeting of the Council will be in
Brussels in December 1968.