Updated: 23-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus



Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


International Relations - Atlantic Relations - Middle East - CSCE- Germany and Berlin - MBFR - US forces in Europe - SALT - CCMS.

    The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 10th and 11th December. 1973.

  1. Ministers considered international developments since their previous meeting in June. They drew encouragement from the continuing development of both bilateral and multilateral East West contacts over a wide field. They recognized, however, that international peace remains fragile and stressed once again the importance for the Alliance of maintaining to the full its defensive and deterrent military capacity.

  2. Ministers recalled their decision in June to examine the relationship between the countries of the Alliance in the light of the profound changes which were taking place in every field of international activity. They noted that examination of these changes had led to substantial progress towards agreement on a joint declaration on Atlantic relations. They agreed that this important work should be pursued to a successful conclusion. Such a declaration, reflecting a perspective commensurate with the challenges of the future, would serve to guide the Alliance in its vital tasks of maintaining peace, improving East-West relations and promoting greater security and well-being.

  3. Ministers reaffirmed that the solidarity of the Alliance, and thereby its success in maintaining effective deterrence and reliable defence were the foundations of continuing progress towards detente. In this perspective, they will continue to maintain the fullest possible exchange of views and information, and close consultation and co-operation, in a spirit of mutual trust, on all problems of common concern. They instructed the Council in Permanent Session to consider the most appropriate means of ensuring the full effectiveness of this consultation.

  4. Ministers reviewed events in the Middle East. They welcomed the establishment of a UN Emergency Force and noted with satisfaction progress towards the holding of a peace conference. They reaffirmed the support of all their governments for the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and they expressed their overriding concern to see a just and lasting settlement in the Middle East. Ministers further took note of the report by the Council in Permanent Session on the situation in the Mediterranean prepared on their instructions given at their previous meeting. Ministers invited the Council in Permanent Session to continue to keep the situation under review and to report further.

  5. Ministers reviewed developments in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe. They noted that, following the Ministerial meeting in Helsinki at which the Agenda for the Conference had been approved, the methodical work which had taken place thus far in Geneva had been successful in bringing about the thorough examination of specific issues which, in their view, was essential if the Conference was to lead in due course to satisfactory results. They reaffirmed the determination of their Governments to continue to pursue the negotiations constructively having regard to the importance of all the subjects under discussion, in particular in the field of human contacts.

  6. Ministers noted that the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic were admitted simultaneously as members of the United Nations in September 1973. They reaffirmed their view that satisfactory development of the relations between the German states, taking into account the special situation in Germany, can make a significant contribution to the further relaxation of tensions in Europe.

  7. As regards Berlin, Ministers paid particular attention to the experience so far gained in the application of the Quadripartite Agreement of 3rd September, 1971. They reaffirmed their conviction that the strict observance and full application of this agreement make possible a satisfactory solution of practical questions in the interest of the people of Berlin and constitute a condition for lasting detente and stability in Europe.

  8. Ministers representing countries which participate in NATO's integrated defence program welcomed the opening, on 30th October, of the negotiations on mutual and balanced force reduc- tions which they had proposed. They considered a report by Allied negotiators in Vienna, and noted that the talks were pro- ceeding in a businesslike way. They instructed the Council in Permanent Session to continue its work on the negotiations.

  9. These Ministers recalled that, as agreed on 28th June at the preparatory consultations in Vienna, the general objective of the negotiations would be to contribute to a more stable relationship and to the strengthening of peace and security in Europe. To this end the Allied negotiators in Vienna have proposed the establishment of approximate parity between the two sides, in the form of a common ceiling for overall ground force manpower on each side in the area in which reductions would take place, having regard to combat capability. They have also proposed a first phase agreement providing for reductions of Soviet and US ground forces in the area. These Ministers reaffirmed their resolve, on the basis of the agreed Allied approach to mutual and balanced force reductions including associated measures, to strive for an outcome which was both balanced and equitable, and which would ensure undiminished security for all parties.

  10. These Ministers reaffirmed the need to maintain and improve Allied forces in Europe, and expressed their conviction that reductions should take place only in the context of MBFR. They also recognized that the maintenance of United States forces in Europe at their present level calls for a common effort on the part of the Allies to achieve a solution to the financial problems which the United States consequently faces. To this end, these Ministers reaffirmed the decisions taken by the Defence Ministers and expressed their support for the statements contained in paragraphs 9-12 of the Communiqué of the Defence Planning Committee issued on 7th December, 1973.

  11. Ministers expressed appreciation for the continuing efforts undertaken by the United States in SALT II towards a permanent agreement limiting strategic offensive arms. They took note of the Declaration on the Basic Principles of Negotiations on the Further Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms signed on 21st June, 1973, including, in particular, the recognition of each side's equal security interest.

  12. In noting the progress reported by the Chairman of the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS), Ministers welcomed the start on co-operation in the development of supplemental energy sources through the use of solar and geothermal energy, and in the disposal of hazardous wastes and toxic industrial effluents. Ministers took note of the CCMS International Road Safety Resolution, and the CCMS guidelines on national planning for regional development. Ministers expressed satisfaction at the practical work of the CCMS in such other fields as air and water pollution, health care, and urban transportation.

  13. The Ministers directed the Council in Permanent Session to consider and decide on the date and place of the next session of the Ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council, taking into account that 1974 will mark the 25th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty.

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