Balanced Force Reductions
adopted by Foreign Ministers
and Representatives of Countries participating
in the NATO Defence Program
- Meeting at Reykjavik on 24th and 25th June, 1968, the
Ministers recalled the frequently expressed and strong desire
of their countries to make progress in the field of disarmament
and arms control.
- Ministers recognized that the unresolved issues which still
divide the European Continent must be settled by peaceful
means, and are convinced that the ultimate goal of a lasting,
peaceful order in Europe requires an atmosphere of trust and
confidence and can only be reached by a step-by-step process.
Mindful of the obvious and considerable interest of all
European States in this goal,Ministers expressed their belief
that measures in this field including balanced and mutual force
reductions can contribute significantly to the lessening of
tension and to further reducing the danger of war.
- Ministers noted the important work undertaken within the
North Atlantic Council by member governments in examining
possible proposals for such reductions pursuant to paragraph 13
of the "Report on the Future Tasks of the Alliance", approved
by the Ministers in December 1967. In particular, they have
taken note of the work being done in the Committee of Political
Advisers to establish bases of comparison and to analyze
alternative ways of achieving a balanced reduction of forces,
particularly in the Central part of Europe.
- Ministers affirmed the need for the Alliance to maintain an
effective military capability and to assure a balance of forces
between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Since the security of the NATO
countries and the prospects for mutual force reductions would be
weakened by NATO reductions alone, Ministers affirmed the
proposition that the overall military capability of NATO should
not be reduced except as part of a pattern of mutual force
reductions balanced in scope and timing.
- Accordingly, Ministers directed Permanent Representatives to
continue and intensify their work in accordance with the
following agreed principles:
- Mutual force reduction should be reciprocal and balanced in
scope and timing.
- Mutual reductions should represent a substantial and
significant step, which will serve to maintain the present degree
of security at reduced cost, but should not be such as to risk
de-stabilizing the situation in Europe.
- Mutual reductions should be consonant with the aim of
creating confidence in Europe generally and in the case of each
- To this end, any new arrangement regarding forces should be
consistent with the vital security interests of all parties and
capable of being carried out effectively.
- Ministers affirmed the readiness of their governments to
explore with other interested states specific and practical steps
in the arms control field.
- In particular, Ministers agreed that it was desirable that a
process leading to mutual force reductions should be initiated.
To that end they decided to make all necessary preparations for
discussions on this subject with the Soviet Union and other
countries of Eastern Europe and they call on them to join in this
search for progress towards peace.
- Ministers directed their Permanent Representatives to follow
up on this declaration.