The North Atlantic Council, meeting in Ministerial Session in
Rome on 26th-27th May, 1970, reaffirmed that the Alliance
remains indispensable to the security of its members and makes
possible their common search for progress towards a more stable
relationship between East and West in which outstanding issues
dividing Europe can be resolved.
- Ministers again stated their determination to resolve these
problems through a process of negotiation. They recognized
that, for their part, this search for peace must rest upon a
spirit of genuine partnership, the maintenance of the defensive
strength of the Alliance and the practice of full and timely
- Ministers agreed that it will not be enough to talk of
European security in the abstract. The causes of insecurity in
Europe are specific, they are deeply rooted in conflicting
perceptions of state interests, and their elimination will
require patient endeavor. However, the Allies, for their part,
remain willing to negotiate, in any suitable forum, those
concrete issues whose resolution would enhance the security of
Europe. The success of efforts to pursue genuine relaxation of
tension will be a test of the willingness of all interested
countries to deal meaningfully with real issues of security.
- Ministers affirmed that to endure, peace must rest upon
universal respect of the sovereign equality, political
independence and territorial integrity of each European State,
regardless of its political or social system, and for the right
of its peoples to shape their own destinies, free of the threat
of external intervention, coercion or constraint.
- Ministers, recalling their earlier statements on the
subject, examined and approved a report on the situation in the
Mediterranean, prepared by the Council in Permanent Session
which they had requested in their meeting of December, 1969.
Having regard to the conclusions presented in this report, they
found reason to reiterate their concern with regard to the
situation in the area.
They stressed again the importance of full and frequent
consultation among the Allies on this question and the
necessity for continued vigilance. They instructed the Council
in Permanent Session to continue their close review of the
developing situation in the Mediterranean and to report fully
thereon to Ministers.
- At their April 1969 meeting in Washington, Ministers agreed
to explore with the Soviet Union and the other countries of
Eastern Europe which concrete issues best lend themselves to
fruitful negotiations in order to reduce tension and promote
co-operations in Europe and to take constructive actions to
this end. The Council thereafter conducted a detailed study of
those issues, and at their meeting in December 1969, Ministers
declared that Allied Governments would continue and intensify
their contacts, discussions or negotiations through all
appropriate channels, bilateral or multilateral, and that they
remained receptive to signs of willingness on the part of the
Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries to engage in
such discussions. Progress, they said, in these discussions and
negotiations would help to ensure the success of any eventual
conference, in which of course, the North American members of
the Alliance would participate, to discuss and negotiate
substantial problems of co-operation and security in Europe.
- Ministers expressed satisfaction over the launching or con-
tinuation of the whole range of talks and negotiations,
initiated by members of the Alliance, which they have been
actively promoting during the six months since December 1969.
At the same time, numerous other East-West contacts have been
pursued. The Allies have consulted and will continue to consult
closely on all these initiatives and contacts.
- With the support and understanding of its Allies, the
Federal Republic of Germany has initiated talks with the Soviet
Union, Poland and GDR in order to improve the situation in
Central Europe. The Allies consider this to be encouraging.
They express the hope that these talks will yield results and
will not be compromised by the presentation of unacceptable
demands. The efforts being made to solve outstanding problems
and to achieve a modus vivendi in Germany which would take
account of the special features of the German situation,
represent an important contribution to security and
co-operation in Europe. The Ministers express the hope that all
governments desiring to contribute to a policy
of relaxation of tension in Europe will, to the extent possible
facilitate a negotiated settlement of the relationship between
the two parts of Germany and the development of communications
between the populations.
- The Ministers noted with satisfaction that the Four Powers,
in the framework of their rights and responsibilities for
Berlin and Germany as a whole began discussions on 26th March
about improving the situation with regard to Berlin and free
access to the city. They express the hope that the difficulties
which exist at this especially sensitive area of the East-West
relationship could be overcome by practical measures and that
Berlin would be enabled to make its full contribution to
economic and cultural exchanges
- The conversations between the United States and the Soviet
Union aiming at the limitation of strategic armaments, which
began last November at Helsinki, have been continued at Vienna
in April Ministers welcome these talks, the outcome of which is
so important for the security of Europe and the future of
- On the occasion of the coming into force of the
Non-Profileration Treaty, Ministers re-emphasized the
importance they attach to limiting the spread of nuclear
weapons as well as to measure for genuine disarmament. They
noted with interest the effort now under way to exclude mass
destruction weapons from the seabed and to deal with the
problem of control of biological and chemical weapons. They
expressed the hope that further progress on disarmament
measures, with appropriate safeguards, can reduce the arms
burdens borne by all.
- The members of the North Atlantic Alliance have, over;
number of years, proclaimed their interest in arms control and
disarmament which facilitate a gradual elimination of the
military confrontation in Europe. Ministers recalled the
declarations issued at Reykjavik in 1968, and at Brussels in
1969. They noted that up to now these declarations had led to
no meaningful reply.
- The Allies have nevertheless carried out intensive studies
on mutual force reductions in accordance with the directions
given by Ministers in December 1969. Ministers examined the
detailed report presented to them by the North Atlantic Council
in Permanent Sessions. This has been of great value in
clarifying the complex issues involved. Ministers gave
instructions for further relevant studies which would guide
policies and explorations in this field
- Ministers, having examined all these developments, both
positive and negative and having taken note of the Report on
the Procedures for Negotiation which they had commissioned from
the Permanent Council, stated that they were ready to multiply
exploratory conversations with all interested parties on all
questions affecting peace.
- In so far as progress is recorded as a result of these
talks and in the on-going talks--in particular on Germany and
Berlin-- the Allied Governments state that they would be ready
to enter into multilateral contacts with all interested
governments. One of the main purposes of such contacts would be
to explore when it will be possible to convene a conference, or
a series of conferences on European security and co-operation.
The establishment of a permanent body could be envisaged as one
means, among others, of embarking upon multilateral
negotiations in due course.
- Among the subjects to be explored, affecting security and
co-operation in Europe, are included in particular:
- the principles which should govern relations between
states, including the renunciation of force;
- the development of international relations with a view to
contributing to the freer movement of people, ideas and
information and to developing co-operation in the cultural,
economic, technical and scientific fields as well as in the
field of human environment.
- ln addition, Ministers representing countries participating
in NATO's integrated defence program attach particular importance to further exploration with other interested parties of
the possibility of mutual and balanced force reductions and
have therefore issued a declaration on this subject.
- As a first step, Ministers requested the Foreign Minister
of Italy to transmit this communiqué on their behalf through
diplomatic channels to all other interested parties including
neutral and non-aligned governments. They further agreed that
member governments would seek reactions of other governments to
the initiation of the comprehensive program of exploration and
negotiation which they envisage.
- Ministers reviewed the first report from NATO's Committee
on the Challenges of Modern Society and welcomed the progress
made in the six months since the Committee was established as a
demonstration of the value of allied co-operation on the urgent
problems of human environment. Intensive studies now in
progress will contribute to national and international action
on a broad range of environmental issues, including such
pressing concerns as air and water pollution.
- Ministers reaffirmed the view that the benefit of the
Alliance's work in Mankind's environment particularly could
become a basis for broader co-operations between East and West
in this field of ever-increasing importance. They considered
that this could be ensured either through existing
international organizations providing a useful framework for
enhanced co-operations or by any other appropriate method.
- The next Ministerial Sessions of the North Atlantic Council
will be held in Brussels in December 1970.