Updated: 24-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


17-18 May

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


Review of Council discussions by Heads of State and Government - Setting up of long-term defence programme to enable NATO forces to meet changing defence needs of the 1980s - Ministerial guidance to NATO military authorities for 1979-1984 - Eurogroup - Co-operation for effective use of available resources and defence procurement - Standardization and interoperability - AWACS - Allied assistance for Portugal's armed forces - MBFR - SALT.

    The NATO Defence Planning Committee in Ministerial Session met in Brussels on 17th-18th May, 1977.

  1. Ministers reviewed the discussion on defence matters at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council held in London on 10th - 11th May with the participation of Heads of State and Government in the context of the strategic situation and the military balance between NATO and the Warsaw Pact; and they noted the agreement that the North Atlantic Council should conduct a fresh study of the long-term trends in East-West relations and would assess their implications for the Alliance. They heard a statement by the Chairman of the Military Committee and expressed their concern at the steady expansion of Warsaw Pact military capabilities which have greatly increased the power and flexibility of Warsaw Pact forces; they noted that these forces had become increasingly offensive in posture and were now capable of projecting Soviet power on a global scale. In the light of these developments they stressed the urgent need for NATO to maintain and improve its defensive capabilities.

  2. In response to recommendations and decisions made at the London meeting for improving Alliance defences, Ministers agreed that the Alliance should, as a means of strengthening ongoing NATO force planning and national programmes, undertake a long-term defence programme to implement 1977 Ministerial Guidance and to enable NATO forces to meet the changing defence needs of the 1980s. In this regard, they directed the Defence Planning Committee in Permanent Session to prepare a time-phased defence action programme concentrating on a limited number of areas where collective action is urgently required and to review means for strengthening NATO programming and implementing machinery, for Ministerial approval in the Spring of 1978 and to be transmitted to Heads of State and Government at their meeting in Washington. To complement this effort, Ministers agreed to initiate on a more immediate basis a programme of short-term measures in areas of anti-armour, war reserve munitions, and readiness and reinforcement.

  3. Following these assessments Ministers approved guidance to the NATO Military Authorities for the development of force proposals for the period 1979-1984 designed to correct current deficiencies in Alliance defences. They agreed that this guidance, which recognised the need for NATO's defence planning to be based on a longer term approach, should be adopted as a directive and reference point for all NATO defence planning activities both national and international in NATO. A summary of the guidance is attached at Annex.

  4. Ministers noted with interest a statement by Mr. Orla M ller, this year's Chairman of the Eurogroup Ministers, on current work in the Eurogroup in enhancing collaboration for the benefit of the whole Alliance. They took note with satisfaction of the progress accomplished in the various fields of practical co-operation covered by its sub-groups.

  5. Ministers reviewed progress in co-operative programmes and reaffirmed the urgent need for greater Alliance co-operation on a longer term basis, noting that the effective use of resources depends largely on progress made in this area. They noted the call of the Allied leaders meeting in London on 10th May to co-operate more closely in all aspects of defence procurement and to review the means of deepening this co-operation, in appropriate fora. They agreed that measures called for in the long-term defence programme should be fully consistent with this directive.

  6. They welcomed the emphasis being placed by the Conference of National Armaments Directors on the development of an improved armaments planning system and the establishment of further co-operative efforts. They reaffirmed their conviction that increased efforts should be made towards achieving a greater degree of standardization and interoperability. Ministers recognised the need for greater interoperability and security of Alliance communications and agreed to give their personal direction and support to achieving this objective. Ministers agreed that the development and procurement of all future communications systems should be subject to prior consultation, with consideration given to collaboration among all the Allies concerned.

  7. Ministers considered a further report on measures to improve the flexibility of NATO forces. They noted with satisfaction that action was being taken on many of these proposals and that a number of them had been completed.

  8. Ministers reviewed the status of work to develop a NATO Airborne Early Warning programme which would take into consideration the United Kingdom decision to provide its contribution in kind with Nimrod aircraft towards meeting the NATO requirement. They reaffirmed the importance of providing an Alliance-wide capability in this field through an interoperable force and agreed to devote all possible efforts to reach a decision on procurement as soon as practicable.

  9. Ministers, noting that the Common Infrastructure Programme well demonstrates the Alliance's solidarity and cohesion, agreed to additional funding for the current five-year programme (1975-1979).

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