Updated: 24-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


10-11 June

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


Eurogroup - Warsaw Pact military capabilities - NATO force goals 1977-1982 - Reports on measures to maximise efficiency of collective defence efforts - Rationalisation and specialisation of defence tasks - Standardization and co-operation in research, development and production of military equipment - NATO Airborne Early Warning System (AEW) - Relocation of US brigade to NORTHAG area - Situation in the Mediterranean - US/Turkish agreement on defence co-operation in the South-Eastern region - Report on bilateral US-Spanish treaty - MBFR - Special tribute to US defence effort.

    The Defence Planning Committee met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 10th and 11th June, 1976.

  1. Ministers first heard with interest a statement by Mr. Paul Vanden Boeynants, the current Ministerial Chairman of the Eurogroup, on the outcome of the Eurogroup's discussions in Ministerial Session at the meeting in Brussels on 9th June. They welcomed the valuable initiatives taken by Eurogroup Ministers to promote practical co-operation in defence through the work of the Eurogroup sub-groups; and they reaffirmed their support for the important cole of the Eurogroup as a whole in furthering European cohesion within the framework of the North Atlantic Alliance.

  2. Ministers were then given a briefing on recent increases in the military strength of the Warsaw Pact and voiced their concern that this continues to grow beyond levels justified for defensive purposes. They devoted particular attention to the implications of the increased emphasis on offensive capabilities in the Pact forces, especially air forces. A statement by the Chairman of the Military Committee followed on the current state of NATO defences, emphasising once again the continuing change in the balance of forces in favour of the Warsaw Pact. Ministers took note with concern of the substantial advances in size and effectiveness achieved during recent years in every sector of Soviet military capabilities, confirming a clear potential to use military force, directly or indirectly, or the threat of such force, world-wide.

  3. Against this background, and in the light of the economic outlook for the various countries concerned, Ministers endorsed the NATO force goals for the period 1977-1982, established on their behalf by the Defence Planning Committee in Permanent Session. They agreed that the force goals in general, and in their application to individual countries, comply with the Ministerial Guidance issued by them in June 1975, and represent objectives both reasonable and realistic for co-ordinated defence planning in NATO. They noted that for most countries these goals were capable of achievement in full within their economic capabilities and for the most part without any increase in the percentage of national wealth presently devoted to defence. In certain cases. however, they recognised that full implementation of the force goals would be dependent on assistance from within the Alliance. They agreed that the force goals represented measures which were designed to maintain a valid deterrent in the face of the increasing capabilities of the Warsaw Pact. They pledged themselves to do their utmost to ensure that the necessary resources were made available.

  4. At the end of their discussion of this subject, Ministers were pleased to note that this important step in the NATO integrated planning system, for which they had expressed their support at their last meeting, had been satisfactorily concluded. They reaffirmed the undertaking to introduce these force goals as planning targets into their own national forward planning in order to maintain and improve NATO's deterrent and defensive capabilities and to contribute to the stability of long-term defence planning within the Alliance.

  5. Recognising the vital need to make the best use of resources available within the Alliance, Ministers next considered a number of reports on measures to maximise the efficiency of their collective defence efforts. The first of these was the report on the flexibility of forces in the Central Region, which had been available to them at their last meeting. They took note of the action now being taken to implement the measures recommended and undertook to give this programme their vigorous support. They noted that similar reports on the Northern and Southern Regions and on the Maritime Commands were also now available, and invited the Defence Planning Committee in Permanent Session to examine them on their behalf and make recommendations at their next meeting.

  6. In the same context Ministers discussed a progress report on the rationalisation/ specialisation of defence tasks, covering in particular co-operative training, lines of communication and logistics. They took note with satisfaction of the progress made, and in particular expressed their support for several joint training projects and for improved co-operation in logistics. Ministers stressed the great importance they attach to rationalisation/ specialisation and called for an expansion of activity in this area.

  7. Ministers also had before them a report on standardisation and co-operation in the research, development and production of military equipment. They welcomed the productive efforts of the Ad Hoc Committee on Equipment Interoperability, under the auspices of the North Atlantic Council, which aim to improve Alliance capabilities in certain priority areas such as communications, interchangeability of ammunition, aircraft rearming and fuels. Ministers instructed their staffs to continue their efforts to find solutions to the problems posed in the areas of both interoperability and standardisation. They also asked for further examination to be made of the possibility of adopting a more systematic approach to armaments planning within the Alliance as a whole.

  8. Ministers further discussed the setting up of a NATO Airborne Early Warning (AEW) system in the light of the view of the Military Authorities that such a system is an urgent requirement for the Alliance, and recognised the need for timely decisions in this matter. They noted the view of the Military Authorities on the desirable size of a NATO AEW force to provide this capability and endorsed the continued exploration of the financial arrangements and other related questions. They called for the formulation of a comprehensive proposal with regard to such a NATO AEW system to be presented to the Ministers at their December 1976 meeting. They further noted with interest the funding by certain Allies of activities required for the necessary decision.

  9. Ministers noted with satisfaction progress made with planning for the relocation of a US Brigade to the Northern Army Group area of Germany, which will strengthen Allied defences in that area and will increase opportunities for developing common doctrine and procedures among Allied forces. They welcomed this deployment and agreed to improve the interoperability of the US Brigade with other Allied forces in the area.

  10. Ministers gave particular attention to the situation in the Mediterranean area and expressed concern for the continuing tensions prevailing throughout it. They emphasised the importance they attach to strengthening Allied defence capabilities which are vital to the security of the Alliance in this area. In this connection Ministers noted with satisfaction the progress made regarding the new defence co-operation agreements relating to the South-Eastern Region and also noted with approval a statement made by the Turkish minister of Defence and the United States Secretary of Defense who drew attention to the importance of the recent agreement concluded between their two countries. They welcomed the contribution that the implementation of these agreements would make to the security and solidarity of NATO in this Region.

  11. The United States Secretary of Defense reported on the new bilateral United States - Spanish Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation.

  12. Ministers reviewed the status of negotiations on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions. They reaffirmed their support for the Western proposals that mutual reductions beginning with USSR and US forces should lead to approximate parity in ground forces in the area of reductions in the form of a common collective ceiling for ground force manpower on each side and a reduction of the disparity in tanks. They also reaffirmed the importance they attach to the principle that in the meantime NATO forces be maintained and not reduced, except in the context of a Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction agreement with the East. They also took note of the status of strategic arms limitation talks between the United States and the Soviet Union.

  13. Finally, Ministers recalled that at their meeting in May 1975, they had laid down guidelines intended to provide a directive and reference point for all defence planning activities in NATO up to 1982 and beyond. In reviewing the efforts and activities being undertaken in NATO to put this guidance into practice, Allied Ministers paid special tribute to the substantial and increasing defence contribution of the United States, which provides evidence of the most concrete character of their commitment to NATO. In the spirit of the Ottawa Declaration, all Ministers participating in the Defence Planning Committee pledged themselves collectively and individually, and in accordance with the economic and military potential of their countries, to continue to maintain and improve their contributions to the common defence of the Alliance and to reinforce their co-operative efforts to that end.

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