Updated: 24-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


F.R. Germany
21-22 Jan.

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


Balance of strategic nuclear forces - Statement by SACEUR on progress with planning in the field of theatre nuclear defence options - Provisions for nuclear consultation within NATO.

The NATO Nuclear Planning Group composed of the Ministers of Defence of seven NATO countries adjourned today in Hamburg after a two-day conference. This l8th of the regular half-yearly NPG meetings was originally scheduled for November last year and was postponed in order to permit the participation of the United States Secretary of Defense.

Ministers attending the meeting were Mr. Paul Vanden Boeynants, Belgium; Mr. Orla Moller, Denmark; Mr. Georg Leber, Federal Republic of Germany; Mr. Arnaldo Forlani, Italy; Mr. Ferit Melen, Turkey; Mr. Roy Mason, the United Kingdom and Mr. Donald Rumsfeld, the United States. The conference was chaired by Dr. Joseph M.A.H. Luns, Secretary General of NATO. Continuing the practice followed at former meetings the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Peter Hill-Norton, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). General Alexander Haig Jr. and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT), Admiral Isaac C. Kidd were also present.

The meeting opened with a briefing on the balance of strategic nuclear forces on the lines of those regularly given by the United States Secretary of Defense. Ministers discussed the continuing increases in Soviet strategic nuclear capabilities. They also reviewed the prospects for stabilisation through strategic arms limitations.

Ministers resumed earlier discussions on the implications of the developments of the United States-policy for the employment of strategic nuclear weapons which were announced in 1974, and heard a statement by SACEUR on progress with planning in the field of theatre nuclear defence options. They re-emphasized that improvements in NATO flexibility and selectivity in response enhance the NATO strategy of deterrence.

On improvements in NATO's theatre nuclear posture, Ministers continued discussions of the subjects relating to NATO's theatre nuclear forces as set out in the theatre nuclear force posture report to the U.S. Congress submitted in 1975. These include further development of NATO's planning for greater flexibility and more options. Ministers agreed to take up these discussions again at their next meeting.

Following its inception in 1967, the NPG prepared a number of basic policy guidelines (for example, on Alliance consultation and on initial defensive use of nuclear weapons) and then commissioned a number of detailed studies on the possible defensive use of nuclear weapons by NATO. Ministers agreed on arrangements for an important new phase of NPG work which will take account of these guidelines and studies and is designed to produce a consolidated statement of NATO policy for the use of theatre nuclear forces in defence of the Alliance.

Finally, Ministers continued their exchange of views about NATO's provisions for nuclear consultation on the various aspects of mutual defence. They agreed to some procedural improvements in this field and directed that these should be tested in related future NATO exercises.

Ministers agreed that the next NPG Ministerial Meeting would be held in the Spring of 1976. The date and place will be decided later.

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