The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial session in
Brussels on 11th and 12th December,1975.
- 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
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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- The issue of the present fisheries dispute between
Iceland and the United Kingdom was raised and discussed.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- The next Ministerial Session of the North Atlantic
Council will be held in Oslo on 20th and 2lst May, 1976.