Updated: 24-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus



Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


East-West nuclear force balance - Maintenance of essential linkage between three elements of the Triad - Importance of conventional forces - Improvements to nuclear force posture - NATO policy on role of theatre nuclear forces in defence and deterrence.

The NATO Nuclear Planning Group currently composed of the Ministers of Defence of eight NATO countries today concluded its twentieth half-yearly meeting after a two-day conference in London. Ministers of Defence participating in this meeting were: Mr. Barney Danson, Canada; Mr. Evangelos Averoff-Tositsas, Greece; Mr. Vito Lattanzio, Italy; Mr. Henk Vredeling, the Netherlands; Mr. Rolf Hansen, Norway; Mr. Fred Mulley, the United Kingdom and Mr. Donald Rumsfeld, the United States. The Federal Republic of Germany was represented by its Permanent Representative to NATO Ambassador Dr. Rolf F. Pauls. The conference was chaired by Dr. Joseph M.A.H. Luns, the Secretary General of NATO. In conformity with past practice, the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Peter Hill-Norton, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Alexander M. Haig Jr., and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, were also present.

Continuing a practice the United States has followed at NPG ministerial conferences for many years, Secretary Rumsfeld briefed Ministers on the East-West nuclear force balance. The discussion focused on the need to maintain an adequate defence and deterrent capability in the light of recent developments and deployments over the full spectrum of Soviet forces.

Ministers stressed the importance of maintaining the essential linkage between the three elements of the NATO Triad, strategic nuclear, theatre nuclear and conventional forces. and especially the importance of strong conventional forces. They drew attention to interdependencies between developments in the threat, new weapons technologies and arms control measures. Ministers reaffirmed their view that Warsaw Pact attempts to achieve military superiority should be regarded as destabilizing and a threat to peace.

Ministers continued their discussion of improvements in the effectiveness of NATO's theatre nuclear force posture considered necessary to support the Alliance's strategy of flexibility in response, taking full account of developments in the Warsaw Pact threat. Ministers discussed new technologies which could contribute towards sustaining a defence posture capable of maintaining deterrence and safeguarding the integrity of NATO territory. They restated their view that the clear distinction between nuclear and conventional weapons should be maintained. They agreed to continue their discussions of political and military implications of new technologies at future meetings.

Ministers identified future studies to be undertaken and directed their co-ordination with on-going work to be considered in 1977, including the consolidated statement of NATO policy concerning the role of theatre nuclear forces in defence and deterrence.

Ministers received a briefing covering additions and refinements to NATO's procedures, for political consultation on the possible use of nuclear weapons in defence of the Alliance; they discussed these improvements and directed the testing of those procedures in exercises.

Finally, Ministers accepted an invitation to hold the next Ministerial Meeting in Canada in the Spring of 1977.

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