The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial Session in
Brussels on 9th and 10th December, 1971. Foreign and Defence
Ministers were present.
- Ministers stressed that their governments would continue to
pursue their long-standing objectives of achieving, through a
genuine relaxation of tensions, a just and lasting peace and
stability in Europe. They recalled that since the creation of
the Alliance over twenty years ago the treaty area has been free
of armed conflict and that under existing international
conditions the North Atlantic Treaty remains indispensable for
the security of member States.
- Ministers examined the international situation and expressed
their deep concern over the tragic events in Southern Asia. lt
is their fervent hope that hostilities between India and
Pakistan will give way to an early and peaceful solution of all
aspects of the conflict.
- Turning to developments in and around Europe, including the
Mediterranean, Ministers reviewed the status of the various
initiatives undertaken or supported by the Allies and assessed
the results of the numerous bilateral contacts between the
Allies and other European states.
- Ministers noted the effects which continuing difficulties in
trade and monetary policy could have, among other things, on the
state of the Alliance. They were encouraged by the various
efforts underway in other fora to remedy these difficulties in
the economic sphere. The Ministers decided to keep this matter
under continuing review.
- Ministers took note with satisfaction of the signature, on
3rd September, 1971, of the Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin.
They also noted that the German arrangements to implement and
supplement the Quadripartite Agreement now appear to be nearing
completion, and that, once these arrangements have been
concluded, the Governments of France, the United Kingdom and the
United States would be prepared to sign forthwith the final
Quadripartite Protocol which would bring the complete Berlin
Agreement into effect. Ministers expressed the hope that this
would soon be achieved.
- Ministers viewed this emerging Agreement as an important and
encouraging development. Once completed and in effect, the
Agreement should bring about practical improvements, while
maintaining the Quadripartite status of Berlin and the rights
and responsibilities of France, the United Kingdom, the United
States and the Soviet Union with regard to Berlin and Germany as
a whole. Specifically, Ministers noted that movement of civilian
persons and goods between the Federal Republic of Germany and
the Western Sectors of Berlin will then be unimpeded, and that
the residents of the Western Sectors will be able to visit East
Berlin and the GDR. Ministers also welcomed the assurance in the
Quadripartite Agreement that the ties between the Federal
Republic of Germany and the Western Sectors of Berlin will be
maintained and developed.
- Ministers considered that achievement of the Berlin Agreement
would also demonstrate that, with a constructive attitude on all
sides, it should be possible to reach reasonable solutions
between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German
Democratic Republic which take into account the special
situation in Germany. Ministers took the view that this example
would encourage progress on other problems in Europe.
- Ministers recalled that at their meeting in Lisbon they
declared their readiness to undertake multilateral conversations
intended to lead to a Conference on Security and Co-operation in
Europe as soon as the negotiations on Berlin had reached a
successful conclusion. In the light of the encouraging
developments referred to above they affirmed their readiness to
initiate such conversations on this basis as soon as possible.
- ln this perspective, they propose to intensify their
preparations and their bilateral contacts with other interested
- Ministers also took note of the invitation of the Finnish
Government to the effect that heads of mission of the countries
concerned accredited in Helsinki should undertake multilateral
conversations. They stated that their Governments appreciated
this initiative and that they will keep in touch with the
Finnish Government in order to consult on this matter.
- Ministers considered that a Conference on Security and
Co-operation in Europe should not serve to perpetuate the post-
war division of Europe but rather should contribute to
reconciliation and co-operation between the participating states
by initiating a process of reducing the barriers that still
exist. Therefore, Ministers reaffirmed that the Conference
should address in a concrete manner the underlying causes of
tension in Europe and the basic principles which should govern
relations among states irrespective of political and social
- Ministers took note of the report of the Council in
Permanent Session concerning a Conference on Security and
Co-operation in Europe. This report examined four areas of
discussion at such a conference: (A) Questions of Security,
including Principles Governing Relations between States and
certain military aspects of security; (B) freer Movement of
People, Information and Ideas, and Cultural Relations; (C)
Co-operation in the Fields of Economics, Applied Science and
Technology, and Pure Science; and (D) Co-operation to Improve
the Human Environment. Ministers requested the Council in
Permanent Session to continue these studies with a view to
facilitating a constructive discussion of these subjects at the
- Ministers representing countries which participate in the
NATO integrated defence program reaffirmed their long-standing
belief that a mutual and balanced reduction of forces in Central
Europe which preserves the legitimate security interests of all
concerned would maintain security and enhance stability in
Europe, make an important contribution to the easing of tension
and improve East-West relations generally.
- These Ministers reviewed the developments with respect to
mutual and balanced force reductions since their last meeting in
Lisbon. They reaffirmed the decisions taken at the meeting of
Deputy Foreign Ministers and High Officials on 5th and 6th
October, 1971, to propose exploratory talks with the Soviet
Government and other interested governments and to charge Mr.
Brosio with this mission on the basis of a substantive mandate.
They expressed their thanks to Mr. Brosio for accepting.
- These Ministers noted with regret that the Soviet Government
has so far failed to respond to the Allied initiative in this
important area of East-West relations in which that Government
had earlier expressed an interest. Noting statements by Soviet
leaders to the effect that they hoped East-West talks on force
reductions in Europe would begin as soon as possible, these
Ministers hope that Mr. Brosio will soon be able to go to
Moscow. The interested Allied Governments continue to believe
that prior explorations of this question are essential in
preparation for eventual multilateral negotiations.
- These Ministers emphasized the importance they attach to
measures which would reduce the dangers of military confront-
ation and thus enhance security in Europe. They noted that a
Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe should deal
with these aspects in a suitable manner.
- Ministers noted a report on further studies conducted within
NATO on mutual and balanced force reductions since the Lisbon
Meeting. They instructed the Permanent Representatives to
continue this work.
- Ministers welcomed the fact that the negotiations between
the US and USSR on strategic arms limitations have resulted in
concrete agreements to reduce the risk of accidental nuclear war
and to improve communication arrangements between the two
governments. Satisfaction was expressed for the close Alliance
consultation which has been conducted throughout the course of
the Strategic Arms Limitations talks. Ministers expressed the
hope that these negotiations will soon lead to agreements which
would curb the competition in strategic arms and strengthen
international peace and security.
- Ministers reaffirmed their determination to promote progress
in disarmament and arms control and reviewed recent developments
in these fields. They expressed satisfaction at the measures
envisaged to prohibit the development, production and
stockpiling of bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons
and their destruction. They hoped that all States will adopt
similar measures. Ministers also expressed the hope that headway
could be made towards reaching an agreement on the controlled
prohibition of chemical weapons. Ministers representing
countries which participate in the NATO integrated defence
program noted with interest the efforts being undertaken to find
effective means for the verification of an eventual agreement on
a comprehensive test ban
- Ministers took note of a report on the situation in the
Mediterranean prepared on their instructions by the Council in
Permanent Session. They reaffirmed their concern about the
course of events in this area, while expressing their hope that
a peaceful solution would be found in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In the light of the conclusions of the report before them, they
instructed the Council in Permanent Session to continue
consultations on this subject and to follow the evolution of the
various aspects of the situation in order to report thereon at
their next meeting.
- Ministers were pleased by the new achievements of the
Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS) in its
studies, especially in the fields of air and water pollution,
and by the initiation of a project on the application of modern
technology to health care.
- The Spring Ministerial Meeting of the Council will be held
in Bonn on 30th and 31st May, 1972.
- Ministers requested the Foreign Minister of Belgium to
transmit the text of the preceding paragraphs on their behalf
through diplomatic channels to all other interested parties,
including neutral and non-aligned governments.
- Ministers of the countries participating in NATO's
integrated defence program met as the Defence Planning
- In the light of the considerations outlined in the preceding
paragraphs, they emphasized that NATO's efforts to achieve
sufficient defence capabilities and the striving for detente are
not incompatible but complementary, and that sufficient and
credible defence is a necessary corollary to realistic
negotiations on security and co-operation in Europe. In the same
context as a fundamental principle, these Ministers reaffirmed
the well-known position of the Alliance that its overall
military capability should not be reduced except as part of a
pattern of mutual force reductions balanced in scope and timing.
- These Ministers discussed mutual and balanced force reduc-
tions (MBFR) and reaffirmed their intent to continue their close
involvement in the development of common allied positions.
- They noted the growth of Soviet military efforts in recent
years and the indications that the Soviet Union continues to
strengthen both its strategic nuclear and conventional forces,
especially naval forces. They therefore agreed on the need for
continued and systematic improvement of NATO's conventional
forces and for the maintenance of adequate and modern tactical
and strategic nuclear forces in order to ensure that the
deterrent remains effective at all levels, and in order to avoid
weakening the basis of NATO's search for detente.
- They discussed a follow-up report to the Alliance Defence
Study for the Seventies (the AD 70 Study). They welcomed the
progress being made by members in improving Alliance defences.
In particular they noted with satisfaction the further specific
and important efforts announced on 7th December by those
European member countries which participated in the European
Defence Improvement Program, and recognized the emphasis which
these European member countries are placing on modernizing the
equipment of their forces, land, sea and air, along AD 70 lines.
They also welcomed the substantial improvements to their con-
ventional forces planned by the United States, and they noted
with satisfaction the enhanced United States contribution to
NATO's strategic deterrent which will result from the deployment
of the POSEIDON weapon system. They heard with appreciation the
reaffirmation by the United States Secretary of Defense that,
given a similar approach by the other Allies, the United States
would maintain and improve their own forces in Europe and would
not reduce them except ill the context of reciprocal East-West
- They endorsed the priority areas which were proposed to them
for the further implementation of the AD 70 recommendations.
Within these areas they identified for early action certain
fields such as additional anti-tank weapons and modern tanks;
advanced electronic equipment for certain combat aircraft;
improved all-weather strike, attack and reconnaissance air
forces; improved air defences and aircraft protection; better
maritime surveillance and anti-sub-marine forces; more maritime
patrol aircraft and seaborne missile systems; the replacement of
over-age ships; the strengthening and modernization of local and
reinforcement forces on the Northern and South-Eastern Flanks;
and larger ammunition stocks for land and air forces.
- They recognized the global nature of the Soviet maritime
capability, and in particular the deployments and activities of
the Soviet fleets in the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean. In
their discussion they reaffirmed the need for appropriate Allied
measures, and reviewed progress.
- They noted the force commitments undertaken by member
nations for the year 1972 and they adopted a five-year NATO
Force Plan for the period 1972-1976, including many AD 70
- They concluded that the aim within NATO should be to
allocate to defence purposes, where this is within the economic
capability of countries, a stable and possibly larger proportion
of their growing national wealth, in order to maintain an
adequate deterrent and defensive capability.
- The Defence Ministers comprising the Nuclear Defence Affairs
Committee (Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, the
Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Turkey, the United Kingdom and
the United States) also convened to examine reports on the
activity of the Nuclear Planning Group during the past year and
on its projected work.
- The next Ministerial meeting of the Defence Planning
Committee will be held in the Spring of 1972.