Updated: 23-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus



Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


Developments regarding Germany since previous May - Four-Power rights and responsibilities regarding Berlin and Germany as a whole reaffirmed - Western aims at Helsinki multilateral preparatory talks and principles for a CSCE - Proposal by the Fourteen to Warsaw Pact states regarding MBFR preparatory talks and principles regarding eventual MBFR negotiations - CCMS- Defence Ministers review military situation in NATO area - Report by Chairman of Eurogroup - Infrastructure Program 1975-1979 - Nuclear Defence Affairs Committee review work of NPG and plans for future activity.

    The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 7th and 8th December, 1972. Foreign and Defence Ministers were present.

  1. In reviewing events since their May meeting, Ministers noted with satisfaction the new progress in East-West relations. They observed that this progress flowed in large measure from initiatives taken by Allied Governments. They took the view that further significant improvements could be achieved during the coming year and indicated their readiness to press on with their efforts. They declared their resolve to bring about closer and more harmonious relationships, collectively and individually, among all peoples. They attached particular importance to freer movement of people, ideas and information.

  2. Ministers were convinced that the objectives so far reached would not have been realized without the strength and cohesion of the Alliance. They expressed their determination, particularly in view of the continued strengthening of the Warsaw Pact military forces, to maintain the defensive capability of the Alliance. A healthy and strong Alliance is an indispensable condition for promoting stability and for achieving the aim of a just and lasting peace in Europe.

  3. Ministers discussed the important developments concerning Germany which have taken place since their May meeting. They welcomed the initialing of the treaty on the basis of relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Demo- cratic Republic on 8th November, 1972 and the statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany that it is envisaged that this Treaty will be signed on 21st December, 1972 and thereafter will be submitted to the legislative bodies of the Federal Republic of Germany for approval. They took note of the statement of the Federal Foreign Minister that after the ratification of this treaty and after the domestic pre-conditions have been fulfilled the two German states will submit their applications for membership of the United Nations to be considered simultaneously by the competent organs of the world organization. Ministers took note of the declaration of the Four Powers of 9th November, 1972. In this declaration the Four Powers recorded their agreement that they will support the applications for membership in the United Nations when submitted by the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, and affirm in this connection that this membership shall in no way affect the rights and responsibilities of the Four Powers and the corresponding related quadripartite agreements, decisions, and practices. As regards the relations between France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany, Ministers noted that this declaration does not affect in any way the Convention on relations between the Three Powers and the Federal Republic of Germany and related Conventions and documents of 26th May, 1952 in the version of 23rd October, 1954.

  4. On the basis of these developments, individual member governments might wish to enter into negotiations with the German Democratic Republic with a view to establishing bilateral relations. In this connection Ministers reaffirmed the solidarity of the Alliance partners in questions concerning Germany, maintained since entry of the Federal Republic of Germany into the Alliance. The member states of the Atlantic Alliance expressed their continuing support for the policy of the Federal Republic of Germany to work towards a state of peace in Europe in which the German people regains its unity through free self-determination. Accordingly, they will continue to take fully into account the special situation in Germany, which is characterized by the fact that the German people today lives in two states, that a freely agreed contractual peace settlement for Germany is still outstanding and that until such a settlement is achieved, the above-mentioned rights and responsibilities of the Four Powers relating to Berlin and Germany as a whole will continue.

  5. Ministers affirmed that their Governments would work con- structively to establish necessary agreements in the multilateral preparatory talks, which have just started in Helsinki. They recalled that the aim of their Governments at these talks would be to ensure that their proposals were fully considered at a Conference and to establish that enough common ground existed among the participants to warrant reasonable expectations that a Conference would produce satisfactory results. They considered that there should be agreement at these talks on the arrangements and guidelines necessary to enable such a Conference to produce constructive and specific results. They noted that such results could be achieved only through the process of detailed and serious negotiation, without artificial time limits.

  6. Ministers confirmed that it is the goal of their Governments to increase the security of all Europe through negotiations concerning such questions as principles guiding relations between the participants and through appropriate measures, including military ones, aimed at strengthening confidence and increasing stability so as to contribute to the process of reducing the dangers of military confrontation; to improve co-operation in all fields; to bring about closer, more open and freer relationships between all people in Europe; to stimulate a wider flow of information and of ideas.

  7. The Ministers representing countries which participate in NATO's integrated defence program noted with approval that the Governments of Belgium, Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Norway and Turkey have proposed that the Governments of Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Poland and the Soviet Union join them in exploratory talks beginning on 31st January, 1973 on the question of Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions in Central Europe. These Ministers recalled that this proposal accorded with past Allied initiatives and noted some indication of Eastern readiness to begin such talks at the time proposed. Ministers hoped that these talks would make it possible to commence negotiations on this subject in the Autumn of 1973. They noted that such a program implied that talks on both Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions and on a Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe would be going in the same general period of time.

  8. While considering it inappropriate to establish formal and specific links, these Ministers reaffirmed their view that progress in each set of the different negotiations would have a favorable effect on the others. None of them should be isolated from the general nature of the relations prevailing between the states concerned.

  9. These Ministers took note of a report on guidelines for the conduct of the exploratory talks on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions by the Allied countries involved, as well as of the work carried out in preparation for eventual negotiations. The Council in Permanent Session will continue consultations on all questions of objectives, policy and strategy pursued by Allied countries in these talks.

  10. Recalling the Declaration of the Council in Rome in May 1970, these Ministers confirmed their position that Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions in Central Europe should not operate to the military disadvantage of any side and should enhance stability and security in Europe as a whole. Their position is based on the conviction that the security of the Alliance is indivisible and that reductions in Central Europe should not diminish security in other areas.

  11. Ministers expressed the hope that the SALT TWO negotiations between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics would achieve success. They considered that there should be renewed efforts in all fields of disarmament and arms control.

  12. Ministers agreed that on all these questions the close and regular consultations which they have held so far and which have proved their value would continue.

  13. Ministers took note of a new report on the situation in the Mediterranean prepared on their instructions by the Council in Permanent Session. Continuing instability in this region, which could endanger the security of the member countries, remains a cause for concern. Ministers instructed the Council in Permanent Session to continue keeping a close watch on developments and to report to them at their next meeting.

  14. Ministers noted the progress achieved by the CCMS especially in such areas as combating oil pollution of the seas, disaster assistance, safety of motor vehicles, health care, waster water treatment, urban transportation, and also the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding by six member nations on low-pollution automobile engine development.

  15. Ministers took note of the Report by the Conference of National Armaments Directors and of the views expressed on this paper by the Defence Ministers. Like the Defence Ministers, they welcomed the efforts being made to reduce duplication and waste of resources in the development and production of armaments. They instructed the Council in Permanent Session to make the necessary arrangements regarding the action to be taken on it and invited Armaments Directors to make suggestions for more effective cooperation.

  16. Ministers of the countries participating in NATO's integrated defence program met as the Defence Planning Committee and reviewed the military situation in the NATO area. They noted with concern that despite the political developments described above, the Soviet Union and her Allies seem determined to maintain and indeed increase their military capability which in both scale and nature appears to be greatly in excess of that required for purely defensive purposes; and that they continue to devote immense resources to the improvement and modernization of their land, air and naval forces confronting NATO. These Ministers stressed that NATO's requirements for defence are related directly to the reality of the military capabilities possessed by the Warsaw Pact.

  17. These Ministers again gave attention to the growing Soviet maritime capability and in particular to the increase of Soviet naval activities in the Atlantic and Mediterranean which has taken place in recent years. They also considered the political and military implications of these activities and the measures being taken to counter them.

  18. These Ministers emphasized the close relationship between the collective defence policy of NATO on the one hand and actual or potential developments in the international field on the other. They agreed that any unilateral reduction of effort on the part of the Alliance would reduce the credibility of realistic deterrence and erode the stable balance of forces without which no satisfactory security arrangements can be negotiated. It was agreed that negotiations, in order to be successful, must proceed from a position of effective partnership and strength.

  19. Accordingly these Ministers again endorsed the principle 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. In this context, they welcomed the reaffirmation by the United States that, given a similar approach by other countries of the Alliance, the United States would maintain and improve its forces in Europe and not reduce them unless there is reciprocal action by the other side.

  20. In the light of the considerations outlined earlier, these Ministers took note of the force commitment undertaken by each member nation for the year 1973, and adopted a five-year NATO Force Plan for the years 1973-1977. In doing so they emphasized the need to enhance the quality and effectiveness of national force contributions within the context of the total force concept, particularly through the implementation of the improvements recommended in the special report on Alliance Defence Problems for the 1970s. They reviewed progress reported to date, and identified those areas in which such improvements are still most urgently required. In this connection they acknowledged the need to allocate more resources for the modernization and re-equipment of NATO forces.

  21. These Ministers received from the Chairman of the Eurogroup an account of the Group's continuing work in order to reinforce the collective contribution of its members to Alliance defence. They welcomed progress made, particularly towards fuller co-operation in equipment procurement.

  22. These Ministers, recognizing the success of the NATO Common Infrastructure Program in providing physical facilities fundamental to the Alliance's deterrent and defensive effectiveness, agreed to the continuation of the Infrastructure Program during 1975-1979 as an essential element of the NATO defence effort.

  23. Finally these Ministers noted with approval that the NATO Air Defence Ground Environment project (NADGE) would be virtually completed by the end of this year thus providing NATO, for the first time, with a fully integrated semi-automatic air defence system stretching from North Norway to the Eastern boundaries of Turkey.

  24. The Defence Ministers comprising the Nuclear Defence Affairs Committee (Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States) also met to review the work of the Nuclear Planning Group during the past year and its plans for future activity.

  25. The next meeting of the Defence Planning Committee at Ministerial level will take place in Brussels on 7th June, 1973.

  26. The next Ministerial Session of the North Atlantic Council will be held in Copenhagen on 14th and 15th June, 1973.

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