Updated: 23-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus



Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


Implications for NATO of Warsaw Pact forces' improvements - Vladivostok agreements - MBFR - Eurogroup - NATO Force Plan 1975-1979 - US Force improvements in Europe - Mediterranean - Consequences of inflation - Rationalization and standardization - Infrastructure - Guidance for defence policy planning.

    The Defence Planning Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization met in Ministerial Session on 10th and 11th December, 1974, in Brussels.

  1. During their meeting the Defence Planning Committee heard an appraisal of the overall situation from the Secretary General and an assessment of the military situation from the Chairman of the Military Committee. In the light of these they discussed the implications for NATO of the continued strengthening and modern- ization of Warsaw Pact forces on land and in the air, and the growing capability and worldwide deployment of the Soviet Navy. Ministers expressed their deep concern at the scale of resources which the Soviet Union is continuing to devote to military purposes, which indicates its determination to seek military superiority over the West, and noted that these resources already provide the Soviet Union and its Allies with a military power far in excess of that required for self-defence.

  2. Ministers took note of the status of the current talks between the United States and the Soviet Union on the limitation of strategic armaments, and in particular of the important developments in this area represented by the agreements reached between President Ford and Mr. Brezhnev at Vladivostok. Ministers also exchanged views on the state of negotiations in Vienna on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions, in anticipation of the discussion which the North Atlantic Council will have on the subject in the next few days. In this connection, they confirmed their support for the agreed Alliance approach and, collectively and individually, they reaffirmed the importance they attach to the principle that NATO forces should not be reduced except in the context of a Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction agreement with the East.

  3. Ministers heard with interest a report by the Chairman of the Eurogroup on the Group's discussions in Ministerial Session earlier in the week. They welcomed the announcement of substantial European force improvements planned for 1975 and expressed their appreciation of the Eurogroup's work in developing a strong and cohesive European contribution to the common defence. They also took note of a further report on the consultations between Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway on the replacement program for the F-104G and other aircraft.

  4. After reviewing the national force contributions to Alliance defence for the current year, Ministers then turned their attention to plans for the next planning period. They discussed the extent to which national plans for the period up to 1979 provide for the implementation of the force goals adopted by them at their June meeting. They took note of certain proposed changes in national defence programs on which Alliance consultation was proceeding. Subject to the outcome of these consultations they approved the NATO Force Plan for the period 1975-1979 and designated the forces which their countries undertook to commit to NATO over the coming twelve months.

  5. Ministers took note with approval that substantial improvements had been made to the conventional capabilities of NATO forces during the past year; they also noted the programs initiated in many countries for improving the quality of NATO forces in the important fields of anti-armor and low level air defence, and the extra impetus being given to improvements in electronic warfare capabilities, the provision of modern aircraft munitions and the level of war reserve stocks. They noted the substantial aircraft modernization programs under way in some countries, and the need for early decision in others. They reviewed the plans for improving the survivability and anti-submarine warfare capabilities of the maritime forces. During this part of their discussion Ministers also identified areas of NATO defence where weaknesses seemed likely to persist, and agreed to redouble their efforts to correct them.

  6. Ministers took note with special satisfaction of the intention of the United States to form the equivalent of two new brigades in Europe beginning in 1975 by the re-allocation of personnel from supporting functions. They welcomed this practical recognition of the need for improving the capability of ready combat forces.

  7. Ministers reviewed the present strategic situation in the Southern Region and the Mediterranean, and discussed measures needed to maintain the security of the Alliance in this area. In particular the expressed concern at the scale of Soviet military activity in the Mediterranean area and the possible repercussions on the Alliance of the unstable situation in the Middle East.

  8. Ministers next discussed the impact of inflation on defence budgets and the measures being taken by countries to maintain the current purchasing power of their defence expenditures. In so doing they re-emphasized the need to make the optimum use o resources through co-operative efforts in defence.

  9. In this connection Ministers received a report on current activities in the areas of rationalization and specialization selected for detailed examination. They agreed to give full support to these continuing activities and called for special efforts by countries to take advantage of these possible methods of improving the effectiveness of NATO forces.

  10. Ministers received reports covering standardization in certain areas of military equipment, with particular reference to the area on which they had previously agreed to concentrate their efforts namely airborne early warning, electronic warfare, the replacement for the F-104G aircraft, the standardization of rifle ammunition and a new rifle for the 1980s. They welcomed in particular the prospect of standardizing on two caliber's only for the whole family of future portable infantry weapons. They agreed to give special attention to two further specific areas, interpretability and security of communications, and a second generation anti-ship missile In so doing, they endorsed the urgent need for co-ordinated Alliance wide action in the first of these and welcomed the promising initiative taken with respect to the second.

  11. Ministers agreed to the level of funding for the next five year Infrastructure program covering the period up to 197S subject to confirmation of the final cost-sharing arrangements and details of the program by the Defence Planning Committee in Permanent Session

  12. Ministers then turned their attention to the Guidance that they will give next Spring to provide policy direction for defence planning activities in NATO for the period up to l982. The decided that the new Ministerial Guidance should include a long range defence concept setting objectives for co-operative effort within the framework of the NATO strategy of flexible response and forward defence, in order to obtain maximum efficiency from the force levels and resources which the Alliance can reasonably expect to have at its disposal. They instructed the Defence Planning Committee in Permanent Session to prepare a new Ministerial Guidance including such a planning concept, for consideration by Ministers at their Spring 1975 meeting.

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