Updated: 23-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


Dec., 1971

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


East-West bilateral contacts assessed - ministers ready to begin multi-lateral exploration of European security and co-operation once Berlin arrangements legally concluded - Principles for a European conference Mr. Brosio's mandate on MBFR confirmed - SALT - Disarmament Mediterranean - DPC Aqeeting (8th December) - Follow-up to AD70 Study - European and U.S. force improvement measures - Reaffirm need for appropriate Allied measures in Atlantic and Medilerranean - Ministers of Nuclear Defence Affairs Committee convene.

    The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 9th and 10th December, 1971. Foreign and Defence Ministers were present.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. ln this perspective, they propose to intensify their preparations and their bilateral contacts with other interested parties.

  10. 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.

  11. 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 systems.

  12. 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 negotiations.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. The Spring Ministerial Meeting of the Council will be held in Bonn on 30th and 31st May, 1972.

  23. 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.

  24. Ministers of the countries participating in NATO's integrated defence program met as the Defence Planning Committee.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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 action.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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 implementation measures.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. The next Ministerial meeting of the Defence Planning Committee will be held in the Spring of 1972.

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