Updated: 23-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus



Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


Development of East-West relations - CSCE results - Notification of manoeuvres - SALT - MBFR and additional Western proposals - Berlin - Mediterranean - Iceland and United Kingdom dispute - Armaments and standardization problems - CCMS.

    The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial session in Brussels on 11th and 12th December,1975.

  1. Ministers noted that there had been encouraging features in the development of East-West relations during recent months. They reaffirmed their determination to persevere in their efforts to place relations with the USSR and other Warsaw Pact countries on a more stable basis.

    At the same time, they noted that the beneficial effects of detente can develop only in so far as all the countries concerned do their best to reduce the risk of confrontation in both the political and military fields.

    In the political sphere, detente requires tolerance and mutual understanding, and accordingly demands that the natural contest of political and social ideas should not be conducted in a manner incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Final Act of Helsinki. Furthermore, Ministers considered that attempts to take advantage of tension in any part of the world could have a negative impact om detente.

    In the military sphere, Ministers viewed with concern, as on previous occasions, the continued rapid growth of the power of the land, air and naval forces of the Warsaw Pact, which exceeds its apparent defensive needs. They emphasized that detente and security are closely linked. In these circumstances they stressed the need to preserve the defensive strength of the Alliance which is important as a deterrent not only against military aggression but also against political pressure.

    Ministers reaffirmed that the solidarity of the Alliance and the security which it provides are essential conditions for the improvement of East-West relations, and they restated the determination of their governments, expressed in the Ottawa Declaration, to maintain and improve the efficiency of their forces.

  2. Ministers welcomed the adoption of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, which provides guidelines for an evolution of relations between the participating states and between their peoples towards greater understanding and co-operation. They noted the fact that the results of the Conference apply throughout Europe, including, subject to Quadripartite rights and responsibilities, Berlin. The Allies attach high priority to the full implementation of the Final Act by all signatories in improving relations between states, in applying confidence-building measures, in encouraging closer economic co-operation, and in lowering barriers between people. Noting that only a short time had elapsed since Helsinki, Ministers hoped that substantial progress would be seen during the coming months.

    In accordance with the provisions of the Final Act, the Allies concerned have already notified all CSCE participants of a number of military manoeuvres and have invited observers. The Allies look for the implementation of such measures also by the members of the Warsaw Pact.

  3. Ministers heard a report from the United States Secretary of State on the continuing US efforts towards the further limitation of strategic offensive arms. The Ministers expressed satisfaction with the substantial progress made since the Vladivostok Summit towards a SALT II agreement. They expressed the hope that further efforts would lead to the conclusion of a satisfactory agreement. The Ministers also expressed appreciation for continuing consultations within the Alliance with respect to strategic arms limitation.

  4. Ministers of the participating countries reviewed the state of the negotiations in Vienna on mutual and balanced force reductions. They recalled that it is the aim of these negotiations to contribute to a more stable relationship and to the strengthening of peace and security in Europe.

    These Ministers stressed again that the existing disparities in ground force manpower and tanks are the most destabilizing factor in Central Europe and that any agreement must deal adequately with these disparities. They reconfirmed therefore the Allied proposal to establish in the area of reductions approximate parity in ground forces in the form of a common collective ceiling for ground force manpower on each side. A first phase reductions agreement concerning United States and Soviet ground forces as proposed by the participating Allies would be an important and practical step towards this goal.

    With a view to achieving these objectives, they approved important additional proposals and authorized their presentation at the appropriate moment in Vienna.

    These Ministers reiterated their resolve to pursue vigorously all the Allied objectives in order to assure undiminished security for all parties. They proceed on the premise that the additional proposals will lead to the achievement of these objectives.

    These Ministers noted with satisfaction that Allied solidarity has continued to prove itself in these negotiations. They reaffirmed the principle that NATO forces should not be reduced except in the context of a mutual and balanced force reductions agreement with the East.

  5. The Ministers took note of the declaration made by the Governments of France, the United Kingdom, and the United States on 14th October, 1975, that the rights and responsibilities of the four powers for Berlin and Germany as a whole remain unaffected by the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance concluded by the USSR and the GDR on the 7th October, 1975. They shared the view of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany that its policy to work for a state of peace in Europe in which the German nation will regain its unity through free selfdetermination, is fully consistent with the Final Act of Helsinki. Ministers underlined the essential connection between the situation relating to Berlin and detente, security and co-operation throughout Europe.

    They emphasized, in particular, that traffic and ties between the Western sectors of Berlin and the Federal Republic of Germany and the representation abroad of the interests of those sectors by the Federal Republic of Germany continue to be important elements of the viability of the city.

  6. Ministers reviewed developments in the Mediterranean area since their last meeting. They expressed concern at the possible dangers of new tensions that could affect the balance of forces in this region. They reaffirmed the importance they attach to the continuation of efforts designed to achieve an overall settlement resulting in a just and durable peace in the Middle East. Ministers took note of the report on the situation in the Mediterranean prepared on their instructions. They requested the Council to keep this question under review and to report back to them again at the next meeting.

  7. The issue of the present fisheries dispute between Iceland and the United Kingdom was raised and discussed.

  8. Ministers discussed various aspects of problems related to armaments and standardization with the aim of improving the military capability of the Alliance and of making more effective use of available resources, especially in view of the increasing pressures on national budgets. They agreed that the examination of these questions would be pursued by the Council and the other competent bodies of the Alliance in accordance with established procedures. They agreed to form for a limited time an Ad Hoc Committee under the Council to prepare a specific programme of action covering the interoperability of military equipment.

  9. Ministers took note of the progress achieved by the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society ( CCMS ). They endorsed resolutions on coastal water pollution and oil spills, noting the determination of the member countries to continue to combat pollution of the seas and to enhance the quality of the marine environment. Ministers noted and endorsed the initiation of a pilot study open to interested nations on the relationship between food and health, and the continuation of other studies relating to the environment and to energy. They noted the important contribution of the CCMS to effective international co-operation in areas of major concern to our societies.

  10. Ministers reaffirmed the attachment of their nations to the democratic principles on which their free institutions are founded. They expressed their confidence in the ability of their countries to surmount the problems of our time. They considered the cohesion and vitality of the Alliance to be a sure source of mutual support and solidarity.

  11. The next Ministerial Session of the North Atlantic Council will be held in Oslo on 20th and 2lst May, 1976.

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