Updated: 23-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


The Hague
November, 1973

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


US briefing on balance of nuclear power - Operational concepts report - Review of procedures.

The NATO Nuclear Planning Group, composed of the Ministers of Defence of eight NATO countries, concluded its fourteenth half-yearly meeting in The Hague, the Netherlands, today. Atten- ding the two-day conference were the following Ministers of Defence: Mr. Georg Leber, Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Nicolas Ephessios, Greece, Mr. Mario Tanassi, Italy, Mr. Henk Vredeling, The Netherlands, Mr. Alv Jakob Fostervoll, Norway, Lord Carrington, the United Kingdom, and Mr. James R. Schlesin- ger, the United States. Ambassador Arthur R. Menzies, Permanent Representative of Canada to the North Atlantic Council, represented Mr. James Richardson, Minister of National Defence of Canada. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Joseph M.A.H. Luns, the Secretary General of NATO. Following past practice, General Johannes Steinhoff, the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Andrew J. Goodpaster, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and Admiral Ralph W. Cousins, Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, were also present.

One of the principal matters of interest at the meeting was again a briefing by the United States Secretary of Defence on developments in the balance of strategic nuclear power. The Ministers received the briefing with appreciation, and took note of the impact of these developments. They also had a constructive discussion of some of the implications for the Alliance of the recent crisis arising out of events in the Middle East and noted that a further discussion would take place at the Defence Planning Committee Ministerial Meeting of 7th December, 1973.

In their discussion of the strategic nuclear balance, NPG Minis- ters emphasized the important bearing which the strength and readiness of NATO's conventional forces, particularly those located in Europe, have upon NATO's overall deterrent posture. The Ministers also discussed a report by the NATO military authorities describing the operational concept and doctrine that currently govern their military planning, and which reflect the NATO strategy of flexibility in response. In addition, the Ministers continued their examination of the political and military implications of the defensive tactical employment of nuclear weapons at different stages in a possible conflict.

Since its inception, the Nuclear Planning Group has kept under review the procedures and facilities that would be available for Alliance political consultation about the use of nuclear weapons in the event of an attack upon NATO. At this meeting, the Ministers were informed of a number of measures that have been taken in the light of earlier ministerial discussions and exercise experience. They also reviewed the progress that had been made in implementing the political guidelines pertaining to the possible use of atomic demolition munitions (ADMS) that were approved by the Defence Planning Committee in 1970.

Concluding their conference, the Ministers surveyed the work program of the Nuclear Planning Group and gave instructions for future activity. They decided to hold the next ministerial meeting in Norway in the Spring of 1974.

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