23th May 1975
Mr. J. Luns.
Strategic situation and East-West military relationship- Mediterranean -Eurogroup and Two-Way Street Defence Equipment Procurement-US Military facilities in Spain - Long-range defence concept - Ministerial Guidance 1975.
- In the course of a general review of the strategic situation and the military relationship between East and West, Ministers were briefed on the latest developments in the growth of the military power of the Warsaw Pact. Against the background of the current economic situation, they reviewed the present state of NATO's defences; they emphasised the need for progress in the important fields of rationalisation of functions and standardisation of equipment and gave directions for further work in these areas. They also considered the military implications for the Alliance of the negotiations on MBFR currently in progress in Vienna.
- They devoted special attention to the current strategic situation in the Mediterranean area in the light of recent political, economic and military developments, Soviet military and maritime activities in the area and the implications for the Alliance of the situation in adjoining regions.
- Ministers heard with interest a statement by Mr. Roy Mason, this year's Chairman of the Eurogroup Ministers, on current activities in the Eurogroup, and agreed to pursue within the appropriate machinery the establishment of a two-way street between Europe and North America in defence equipment procurement, in order to promote a more cost effective use of resources and increase standardisation of weapon systems.
- Among the specific subjects discussed were the improvement of arrangements for crisis management in the Alliance and the financing of the common infrastructure programme up to 1979. Ministers also endorsed a proposed joint study of the possibilities of acquiring and operating an Airborne Early Warning and Control System on a co-operative basis to improve the effectiveness of NATO's air defences.
- The United States Secretary of Defense informed his colleagues of the present state of the bilateral agreements on the use by the US forces of military facilities in Spain, it being understood that these arrangement remain outside the NATO context.
- Finally Ministers laid down guidelines for defence planning in NATO. These guidelines restate the basic aims and strategy of the Alliance and place special emphasis on the adoption of a long- range defence concept. They also provide a fresh stimulus to the optimum use of resources through rationalisation, standardisation and greater co-operative efforts. This Ministerial Guidance will provide a directive and reference point for all defence planning activities in NATO up to 1982 and beyond. An abbreviated version is attached.