Updated: 23-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


May, 1972

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


Balance of strategic forces examined - Exchange of views on defensive use of nuclear weapons.

The NATO Nuclear Planning GROUP, composed of Ministers of Defence of seven NATO countries, adjourned today after a two-day conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Attending this eleventh half-yearly meeting of the Group were Mr. Paul Vanden Boeynants, Belgium; Mr. Kjeld Olesen, Denmark; Mr. Helmut Schmidt, Germany; Mr. Franco Restivo, Italy; Lord Carrington, United Kingdom; and Mr. Melvin R. Laird, United States. The Turkish Minister of Defence, Mr. Ferit Melen, who was unable to attend was represented by Ambassador Orhan Eralp. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Joseph M. A. H. Luns, Secretary General of NATO.

Ministers were briefed by Mr. Laird on the balance of strategic nuclear forces, with particular emphasis on the increasing Soviet capabilities in this field. They discussed the possible effects on NATO's deterrent and defensive posture of recent and anticipated developments in this respect.

Drawing on a study prepared by SACEUR and on related reports submitted by the NPG Permanent Representatives, Ministers exchanged views on factors that would have to be taken into account if NATO were faced with the necessity for considering the defensive use of nuclear weapons. They also reviewed the arrangements for facilitating effective consultation in such circumstances.

Continuing the comprehensive work program started in 1970, Ministers discussed studies, prepared by a number of member countries, dealing with the possible defensive tactical use of nuclear weapons within the framework of the strategy of flexibility in response. This long-range work program will provide a basis for the further refinement and elaboration of political guidelines.

Ministers agreed to hold the next meeting of the Nuclear Planning Group in the United Kingdom in the Autumn of 1972.

 [ Go to Comm '70-'79 Index ]  [ Go to Homepage ]