The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 12th and 13th December, 1974. At the close of the year
which marked the 25th Anniversary of the Alliance, Ministers
noted with satisfaction that member countries remain firmly committed to the Alliance and that this had found solemn expression in the Ottawa Declaration.
- Ministers reviewed developments in East-West relations. They
noted the progress, albeit uneven, towards detente over the past
six months. They stated their readiness to continue their
efforts to make progress in their negotiations and exchanges
with the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries aimed at steady
improvement in East-West relations. Noting, however, the
increase in the military strength of the Warsaw Pact countries,
and bearing in mind that security is the prerequisite for the
policy of detente, they expressed their determination to
maintain their own defensive military strength.
- Ministers had a broad discussion on the implications of the
current economic situation for the maintenance of Alliance
defence and noted the efforts made at both the national and
international levels to overcome the difficulties confronting
the economies of the Allied countries. They reaffirmed their
determination to seek appropriate solutions in the spirit of
co-operation and mutual confidence which characterizes their
relations. Ministers decided to continue to consult on the
repercussions of economic developments on areas within the
direct sphere of competence of the Alliance.
- Ministers noted that at the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe there had been enough progress to show that
substantial results were possible. Nonetheless, important questions remain to be resolved. Ministers expressed the
undiminished determination of their governments to work
patiently and constructively towards balanced and substantial
results under all the Agenda headings of the Conference, so as
to bring about a satisfactory conclusion to the Conference as a
whole as soon as may be possible.
- Ministers of the participating countries reviewed the state
of the negotiations in Vienna on Mutual and Balanced Force
Reductions. These negotiations have as their general objective
to contribute to a more stable relationship and to the
strengthening of peace and security in Europe, and their success
would advance detente. These Ministers were resolved to pursue
these negotiations with a view to ensuring undiminished security
for all parties, at a lower level of forces in Central Europe.
They reaffirmed their commitment to the establishment of
approximate parity in the form of an agreed common ceiling for
the ground force manpower of NATO and the Warsaw Pact in the
area of reductions. They considered that a first phase reduction
agreement covering United States and Soviet ground forces would
be an important and practical first step in this direction. They
noted that the negotiations have, so far, not produced results
and expressed the hope that a constructive response to the
Allied proposals would soon be forthcoming. They reaffirmed the
importance they attach to the principle to which they adhere in
these negotiations that NATO forces should not be reduced except
in the context of a Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction
agreement with the East.
- Ministers heard a report from the United States Secretary of
State on the continuing United States efforts towards the
further limitation of strategic offensive arms in the light of
President Ford's recent talks with Mr. Brezhnev. They noted with
satisfaction the significant progress towards limitation of
strategic nuclear weapons achieved in Vladivostok. They
expressed the hope that this progress will lead to the early
conclusion of a satisfactory SALT II agreement. They also
expressed appreciation for continuing consultations within the
Alliance with respect to the SALT negotiations.
- The Ministers reviewed the developments concerning Berlin and
Germany which have taken place since their last meeting in June
1974, especially as regards the application of those provisions
of the Quadripartite Agreement relating to the Western Sectors
of Berlin. They considered, in particular, traffic and ties
between the Western Sectors and the Federal Republic of Germany
and the representation abroad of the interests of those sectors
by the Federal Republic of Germany. They emphasized the
importance to the viability and security of the city of all the
provisions of the Quadripartite Agreement. The Ministers also
emphasized that there is an essential connection between detente
in Europe and the situation relating to Berlin.
- Ministers expressed their concern about the situation in the
Middle East which could have dangerous consequences for world
peace and thus for the security of the members of the Alliance.
They reaffirmed the overriding importance they attach to fresh
progress towards a just and lasting peace in this area. They
likewise welcomed the contributions which Allied governments
continue to make to United Nations peace-keeping activities.
Ministers noted the Report on the Situation in the Mediterranean
prepared by the Permanent Council on their instructions. They
found the instability in the area disquieting, warranting
special vigilance on the part of the Allies. They invited the
Permanent Council to continue consultations on this subject and
to report further.
- As regards Greek-Turkish relations, Ministers heard a report
by the Secretary General under the terms of his Watching Brief
established by the Ministerial Session of May 1964. They
expressed the firm hope that relations between these two Allied
countries would rapidly return to normal.
- Ministers noted the progress of the work of the Committee on
the Challenges of Modern Society, especially on solar and
geothermal energy resources as well as on coastal water
pollution, improved sewage disposal, urban transport and health
care. Ministers also noted the start of projects on the disposal
of hazardous wastes and action to follow up completed CCMS
studies on the prevention of ocean oil spills, road safety
improvement, cleaner air and purer river water, thus enhancing
the quality of life for their citizens.
- The Ministers directed the Council in Permanent Session to
consider and decide on the date and place of the Spring session
of the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council.