Updated: 24-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


8-9 June

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


NATO-Warsaw Pact nuclear force balance - Soviet nuclear missile improvements - New intermediate range mobile system (SS20) - Current and potential improvements to NATO nuclear weaponry - Implications for Western Security of cruise missiles - Need to improve both NATO's theatre nuclear forces and also conventional forces - New technology - Machinery for consultation and control of possible use of nuclear weapons.

  1. The NATO Nuclear Planning Group, which is responsible for the development of Alliance nuclear defence policy and is currently composed of the Ministers of Defence of eight NATO countries, concluded its twenty-first half-yearly meeting in Ottawa, Canada, today. Attending the two-day conference were the following Ministers of Defence: Mr. Danson, Canada; Mr. Leber, Federal Republic of Germany; Mr. Lattanzio, Italy; Mr. Stemerdink, the Netherlands; Mr. Mulley, the United Kingdom; and Dr. Brown, the United States. Undersecretary of State for Defence Zaimis M.P. represented Greece and Undersecretary of State for Defence Holst represented Norway. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Luns, the Secretary General of NATO. The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Zeiner Gundersen, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Haig, and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, Admiral Kidd, were also present.

  2. Ministers received a briefing by the United States Secretary of Defence on the balance of nuclear forces between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. They noted the continuing improvements in Soviet nuclear forces over the whole spectrum of capabilities including the appearance of new nuclear missile systems equipped with multiple warheads, such as intercontinental systems and the SS-20 mobile intermediate range system capable of striking targets in the whole of Europe and beyond. They also discussed current and potential improvements in NATO nuclear forces. They agreed that the Alliance's nuclear capability as a whole continued to make a vital contribution to deterrence and underlined their determination to maintain essential equivalence between the nuclear capabilities of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. They continued their on-going discussion of the importance of SALT and other arms control negotiations in this context. Ministers reviewed the implications for Western security of current developments in cruise missiles, including the relationship to arms control negotiations on these developments.

  3. Ministers discussed the results of two studies prepared by the NATO military authorities, dealing with air defence and the use of dual-capable aircraft. They reaffirmed the need for continuing efforts to improve the effectiveness of NATO's theatre nuclear forces. Ministers also reaffirmed the importance of improving NATO conventional forces so as to maintain the credibility of NATO's strategy of forward defence and flexible response.

  4. Ministers also considered a report by a study group on new technology. Their discussion centred on the political and military implications of this new technology and they agreed that its efficient application, while not offering a low-cost and easy means of maintaining a credible and effective deterrent, could enhance NATO's capability to implement its strategy if deployed in a timely, integrated manner and exploited imaginatively. They gave directions for further work in this area taking into account work recently initiated in the Defence Planning Committee to develop a long term defence programme for the Alliance for the 1980s.

  5. At their meeting in London in November 1976, Ministers agreed to some procedural improvements and refinements in the machinery for consultation un and control of the possible use of nuclear weapons in the defence of NATO. Since then, these improved and refined procedures have been tested in an Alliance-wide exercise and Ministers discussed some of the political and military aspects of the exercise. It was agreed that efforts to refine these procedures should be continued.

  6. Ministers accepted with pleasure an invitation to hold the next NPG Ministerial Meeting in Italy in the Autumn of 1977.

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