Updated: 25-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


December, 1978

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


Economic co-operation and assistance for some member countries - East-West relations - CSCE and preparations for Madrid Meeting - Berlin and Germany - Concern at continuing build-up of Warsaw Pact forces and armaments, both conventional and nuclear - Efforts to improve balance in North American and European sharing in development of new defence equipment - AWACS - Arms control and disarmament - Progress towards SALT II - MBFR - Situation in the Mediterranean - Middle East peace prospects - CCMS progress.

  1. The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 7th and 8th December, 1978.

  2. Ministers reaffirmed their resolve to preserve and strengthen the solidarity of the North Atlantic Alliance as the indispensable guarantor of their security, freedom and well-being, and as an important contribution to international peace and stability. They underlined their faith in the principles and purposes of the Alliance which have their foundation in the values of democracy, human rights, justice and social progress.

  3. Ministers examined the Secretary General's study on economic co-operation and assistance within the Alliance which was undertaken at the request of the Council meeting in Washington in May, in view of the economic difficulties of some member countries.

    Bearing in mind the close relationship between defence and the economy, as well as the fundamental importance of economic and social improvement for a stable democracy, they emphasised once again the need to secure a sound basis for the economies of these countries and to assist them in their economic growth.

    As an expression of their solidarity and in the light of Article 2 of the North Atlantic Treaty, Ministers agreed on the urgent necessity of increasing financial assistance and economic co-operation by member governments which are in a position to do so through bilateral and multilateral channels. They requested the Council in Permanent Session to continue its consultations on this important question and to report to them.

  4. Ministers discussed the current state of East-West relations in all its aspects and recalled especially the East-West Study adopted by Allied leaders at the meeting in Washington last May. They reaffirmed their resolve to seek further improvement in East-West relations and their continued commitment to a policy of detente as the best means of promoting stable and mutually beneficial relations between governments and better and more frequent contacts between individuals. In doing so they emphasised once again the indivisibility of detente, pointing out that disregard for this would inevitably jeopardise improvement in East-West relations. They stressed the need for peaceful solutions in all problem areas.

  5. Ministers expressed again their firm conviction that full implementation of all sections of the CSCE Final Act is an essential element for promoting detente. They noted with regret certain negative developments in its implementation during 1978 especially in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and in that of information. They stressed the need for improvement in implementation to be shown between now and the Madrid Meeting so that the participating states could take part on the political level. They emphasised that this meeting would provide a valuable opportunity for undertaking a further review of the implementation of the Final Act and for considering future progress. They agreed on the importance of careful preparation of the Madrid Meeting and, to that end, expressed their intention to consult closely both among the Allies and with the other CSCE participating states. They noted the positive outcome of the recent Bonn meeting on the preparation of a Scientific Forum.

  6. Ministers reviewed the developments concerning Berlin and Germany as a whole. They noted with satisfaction the improvement of the economic situation in Berlin and welcomed the efforts undertaken in the last few months to strengthen the economic basis for the viability of the city. The continuation of an undisturbed climate in Berlin and on the access routes remains an essential element of detente in Europe. Ministers noted with satisfaction the conclusion of agreements and arrangements with the German Democratic Republic on 16th November, 1978, which are an important contribution to the stability of the Berlin situation and to detente in Europe in general.

  7. Ministers noted with concern the continuing build-up of Warsaw Pact forces and armaments, both conventional and nuclear, notwithstanding repeated Eastern assurances that their aim is not to seek military superiority. In the face of these developments, and while seeking concrete and verifiable measures of arms control, Ministers stressed the need to continue to devote the resources necessary to modernise and strengthen Allied capabilities to the extent required for deterrence and defence. They reviewed with satisfaction the actions to this end taken by the Allies since the Washington Meeting.

  8. Ministers welcomed the increasing emphasis being placed on co-operative equipment programmes aimed at achieving a more effective use of available resources. They also welcomed the efforts being made to achieve a more balanced relationship among the North American and the European members of the Alliance in sharing in the development and production of new defence equipment, and to enhance the quantity and quality of standardized or interoperable systems. They instructed National Armaments Directors to pursue this approach, bearing in mind the special concerns of the less industrialised countries of the Alliance.

  9. Ministers welcomed the agreement reached by the Governments now participating in the NATO Airborne Early Warning Programme, the largest co-operative equipment project so far launched within the Alliance.

  10. Ministers reaffirmed their conviction that concrete and verifiable arms control and disarmament measures would contribute significantly to security, stability and peace. They therefore welcomed the increasing world-wide attention being paid to arms control and disarmament, as exemplified by important current negotiations as well as the United Nations Special Session on Disarmament and the forthcoming first meeting in Geneva of the Committee on Disarmament in which Alliance members will actively participate. Ministers recalled their agreement to make fuller use of the Alliance machinery for thorough consultation on arms control and disarmament issues and noted with satisfaction that such consultations have been intensified. In this connection, they had a useful exchange of views on the French proposal for a Conference on Disarmament in Europe and on the prospects that this proposal might offer for confidence-building and security in the area.

  11. The Ministers discussed the US-USSR Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. They welcomed the progress made in the negotiations and expressed support for US efforts to bring them to a successful conclusion. Ministers continue to believe that a SALT agreement, which enhances strategic stability, maintains deterrence and responds to the security interests and concerns of the Alliance, will be in the common interest.

  12. The Ministers of countries which participate in the negotiations on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions reaffirmed their commitment to these negotiations and re-emphasised their determination to bring them to a successful conclusion. They confirmed as the goal of these negotiations the establishment of approximate parity in ground forces in the form of a common collective ceiling on the manpower of each side and the reduction of the disparity in main battle tanks. The achievement of this aim would contribute to a more stable relationship and to the strengthening of peace and security in Europe. These Ministers recall that to this end an important Western initiative had been introduced in April of this year. The Eastern response to these proposals, while containing some welcome movement in matters of structure and concept, leaves important differences of substance unresolved. Both sides should now address these open issues progressively and constructively.

    These Ministers welcomed the Eastern movement towards agreement on the concept of approximate parity. They stressed, however that this has made the clarification of the data base, which they always regarded as essential for substantial progress, even more urgent. They called on the Eastern side to respond positively to recent Western efforts relating to the data discussion designed to identify the reasons for the discrepancy between Western figures and Eastern data regarding existing manpower levels in the area of reductions.

    These Ministers also recalled the announcement made by Allied leaders in Washington in May on a meeting of the negotiations at Foreign Minister level. It was their view that, despite the movement meanwhile, the requirements stated at that time for such a meeting had not yet been met but they agreed to keep this matter under review.

    These Ministers continue to attach importance to the inclusion in an MBFR agreement of associated measures which should also ensure undiminished security for the flank participants.

  13. The Ministers welcomed the continuation of the dialogue started as a result of the Montreux Summit Meeting between the Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey. They expressed their hope that this constructive step taken by the two Governments will produce positive and early results through further joint efforts, and the reaffirmation, where necessary, of their political will to attain this goal.

  14. Ministers took note of the report on the situation in the Mediterranean and underlined again the necessity of maintaining the balance of forces in the whole Mediterranean region. They requested the Council in Permanent Session to pursue its consultations on this question and to report again at their next meeting.

  15. Ministers reviewed developments in the Middle East and expressed the hope that all parties concerned would take the fullest advantage of the opportunities for a just and lasting peace offered by the current negotiations. They expressed hope for an early successful conclusion of these negotiations as a major step towards a comprehensive peace in the Middle East and expressed support for United States efforts for such a comprehensive settlement.

  16. Ministers took note of the progress made by the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS) and in particular its efforts to strengthen international co-operation aimed at enhancing the environment and improving the quality of life. Ministers further noted with satisfaction that the Science Committee continues to serve as an effective mechanism and forum for international co-operation in areas of major scientific and technological concern to Allied countries.

  17. In viewing world economic conditions Ministers noted that they remained unsettled, with all countries still adjusting to the recent adverse trends in the economic climate. They observed that vigorous efforts had been made by Allied countries in support of a more equitable world economic system, including strengthened world trade and payments arrangements, within the context of renewed growth. These efforts are continuing.

  18. Ministers agreed that the next Ministerial Session of the North Atlantic Council will be held in The Hague on 30th and 31st May, 1979. They noted that 1979 will mark the XXXth Anniversary of the foundation of the North Atlantic Alliance and that since its creation it has enabled Europe to live in peace.

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