Updated: 23-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


June, 1973

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


Helsinki MPTs considered (CSCE) - MBFR - SALT- Germany and Berlin - Balance of payment problems.

    The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial Session in Copenhagen on 14th and 15th June.

  1. Ministers underlined the essential contribution which the Alliance has rendered over the years to the maintenance of international peace and security. The progress being made toward better East/West relations and the reduction of tensions in Europe could not have been achieved without the unshakeable resolve of the West to defend itself and a sound military capability to do so. Ministers asserted that an effective defence system remained a fundamental prerequisite for further progress. Consequently, the Allies must continue to make the efforts necessary to ensure their defence and security.

  2. Ministers reaffirmed the principles and objectives of the Alliance established a quarter of a century ago. They noted, however, the profound changes which were taking place in every field of international activity. With this in mind, Ministers decided that the time had come, without prejudice to continuing negotiations in other fora, for their governments to examine in a spirit of solidarity and by a common effort their relationships in the light of these changes. They entrusted the Council in Permanent Session with this task. Ministers expressed full confidence that the Alliance would continue to be a vital force for maintaining peace, improving East/West relations, and promoting greater security and well-being.

  3. Ministers considered the outcome of the multilateral talks in Helsinki in preparation for the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Recalling the purpose of their govern- ments in entering into these talks, Ministers were satisfied that it had been possible at Helsinki to agree on arrangements for this Conference which would ensure that their proposals were examined fully and in depth.

  4. Ministers stressed the need for the Conference to be conducted with all due deliberation befitting the range, complexity and importance of the subjects to be discussed, including security; economic, scientific, technological and environmental co-operation; co-operation in humanitarian and other fields and, in particular, in the field of human contacts. They reaffirmed that constructive and specific results could be achieved only through a process of detailed and serious negotiations without artificial time limits. They felt that given these circumstances there were reasonable hopes that the Conference could produce satisfactory results. Consequently, they expressed their willingness to begin the first phase of the Conference in Helsinki on July 3rd. They noted that a decision on the opening date for the second phase of the Conference remains to be taken and agreed to consult further on this matter.

  5. Ministers representing countries which participate in NATO's integrated defence program noted with satisfaction that the initiative for mutual and balanced force reductions in Central Europe which they took at Reykjavik in 1968 has led to multilateral exploratory talks in Vienna. The agreements reached there thus far are useful steps forward. These Ministers expect negotiations on specific force reduction and associated measures in Central Europe to begin in October 1973 as previously agreed. They reaffirmed the importance they attach to the prompt fulfillment of this commitment.

  6. In such negotiations, it will be the aim of the Allied Governments concerned, bearing in mind the indivisibility of the security of the Alliance, to secure step by step practical arrangements which ensure undiminished security for all parties at a lower level of forces in Central Europe. The readiness of the Warsaw Pact countries to contribute to balanced results would, together with a successful outcome of the parallel negotiations in CSCE, open the way to a more fruitful and stable relationship in Europe. These Ministers reaffirmed the conviction of their governments that unilateral action on the part of countries of the Alliance to reduce or withdraw forces would undermine the negotiation of satisfactory agreements aimed at enhancing military stability.

  7. These Ministers noted with approval the extent of agreement already reached within the Alliance in preparation for negoti- ations on mutual and balanced force reductions. They requested the Council in Permanent Session to continue this work and to develop further an Alliance program for the forthcoming negotiations.

  8. Ministers expressed satisfaction that the negotiations between the United States and the USSR seeking permanent limitations on strategic offensive arms (SALT TWO) were being pursued. They recognized the importance of this subject for the Alliance and reaffirmed the continuing need for close Allied consultation.

  9. Ministers considered the latest developments in questions concerning Germany. They noted the conclusion of the legislative process in the Federal Republic of Germany approving the treaty on the basis of relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic of 21st December, 1972, which signature Ministers welcomed at their last meeting. They also noted the conclusion of the legislative process to empower the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to apply for entry to the United Nations. They expressed the hope that relations between the two German states would develop steadily in a satisfactory manner, taking into account the special situation in Germany.

  10. As regards Berlin, Ministers share the view that the strict observance and full application of the Quadripartite Agreement of 3rd September, 1971 constitute a condition for lasting detente and stability in Europe. They noted the practical improvements in the Berlin situation which the agreement has produced and were in agreement that the opportunities which it affords for the continuing well-being of the City should be fully utilized.

  11. Ministers took note of the report on the situation in the Mediterranean prepared on their instructions by the Council in Permanent Session. They reiterated their concern at the developments in this area which could have dangerous consequences for the countries of the Alliance. They accordingly instructed the Council in Permanent Session to continue its consultations on this question and to report to them at their next meeting.

  12. Ministers received with interest a report by the Conference of National Armaments Directors on steps to improve armaments co-operation. Noting that the need to collaborate in the areas of standardization, development and procurement has become more pressing, they instructed the Council in Permanent Session to take the necessary action.

  13. Ministers representing countries which participate in NATO's integrated defence program welcomed the reaffirmation by the United States that, given a similar approach by their Allies, they would maintain and improve their forces in Europe and not reduce them except in the context of an East/West agreement. These Ministers also recalled their previous agreement that member nations were entitled to bring to the attention of the Alliance any special problems arising from balance of payment problems resulting from military expenditures for collective defence, and that Alliance solidarity can be strengthened by co-operation between members to alleviate these problems. They noted that Permanent Representatives have been directed to study these issues and to offer whatever recommendations seemed appropriate.

  14. The next Ministerial Session of the North Atlantic Council will be held in Brussels, on 10th and 11th December, 1973.

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