Updated: 25-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


December, 1979

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


Arms control and military security - SALT II - MBFR - Soviet long range theatre nuclear forces - Challenges to the security of the Alliance - 1979 Defence Review - LTDP - Air defence programme for ACE - Deterrent and defensive posture - New force goals - Military assistance to Portugal and Turkey - NATO Armaments Planning Review - Periodical Armaments Planning System - Eurogroup - 1980-1984 force plan.

  1. The Defence Planning Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 11th and 12th December, 1979.

  2. Ministers reviewed the overall state of the Alliance's security in the light of the developments during the year. They recalled that arms control as part of detente was essentially complementary to the safeguarding of security by military means and that these objectives must be pursued in parallel. They reaffirmed their support for the SALT II Treaty as a major contribution to detente and to security and looked forward to its early ratification. They took note of the present state of negotiations on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions and stressed the importance their governments attached to early progress in Vienna.

  3. Ministers reviewed developments in the military capabilities of the Warsaw Pact. They reiterated their concern at the continued build-up of these capabilities, which were already at levels well in excess of defensive requirements. They expressed their disquiet at the destabilizing effects of the already substantial and still increasing deployment by the Soviet Union of longer range theatre nuclear forces. They noted that the NATO response to this development, including the related arms control approach, would be considered by a meeting of NATO Foreign and Defence Ministers immediately following that of the Defence Planning Committee.

  4. Ministers noted that the forces now being deployed by the Warsaw Pact reflect substantial efforts sustained over a long period. They have been supported by the Soviet Union, its allocation to defence of 11 to 13% of its gross national product and its highly developed and technologically sophisticated armaments industry. Ministers concluded that the numerical strength and offensive capabilities of the Warsaw Pact forces, coupled with the Soviet Union's efforts to expand its global interest and influence, constituted a major and growing challenge to the security of the Alliance.

  5. Against this background, Ministers reviewed the outcome of the 1979 NATO Defence Review. On the positive side, they noted that NATO forces in all three services would benefit in the medium term from extensive major equipment and modernization programmes under way, together with certain other improvements in force capabilities, in response to the current NATO force goals.

  6. Ministers reviewed progress in the implementation of the Long-Term Defence Programme. They noted that, overall, progress was generally satisfactory; that the majority of the medium-term measures were already incorporated in national plans; and that planning was in most cases proceeding well for the longer term programmes. They recognized that much remained to be done before the benefits of the Long-Term Defence Programme could be fully realised to enable it to fulfil the objectives established by Heads of State and Government at the Washington Summit in 1978. In this context, Ministers reviewed a report on the air defence programme for Allied Command Europe for the next fifteen years. They approved the report as the architectural foundation on which future air defence can be built, and endorsed the first stage of this programme. They recognized the value of this co-ordinated approach to long-term planning and the opportunities it offers for greater co-operation.

  7. Ministers acknowledged that, notwithstanding the wide range of improvements under way or planned, major weaknesses exacerbated by recent enhancements in Warsaw Pact offensive capabilities, persisted in Allied forces. They agreed that a substantial effort would be needed by the Alliance to achieve and sustain the balance of forces necessary for the maintenance of, NATO's deterrent and defensive posture. To this end, they reaffirmed the importance of all member countries achieving as soon as possible the aim of an annual real growth in defence expenditures in the region of 3%, as the essential underpinning for the Alliance's efforts to improve its defence capabilities. They noted that the formulation, which would be undertaken in the Spring of 1980, of a new set of comprehensive, medium-term, NATO force goals would provide an opportunity for the further identification of areas requiring priority action.

  8. Ministers reviewed a report on military assistance to Portugal and Turkey. They acknowledged the commendable contributions to common defence made by these two countries from their own limited resources. They noted that the major share of assistance has been provided by the United States and Germany and that most other countries are also making a contribution. They agreed, however, that there was an urgent need for this effort to be intensified and to be on a much wider basis to enable Portugal and Turkey to fulfil more effectively their important roles in Alliance defence.

  9. Ministers noted the progress being made under the aegis of the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD) in the pursuit of co-operative programmes for the development and acquisition of equipment, particularly in relation to the implementation of the Long-Term Defence Programme, and the various measures being taken to enhance such co-operation and make more rational use of resources. They stressed again that the CNAD should bear in mind the interests of the less industrialized members of the Alliance. They welcomed the decision to implement a NATO Armaments Planning Review which would facilitate the identification of opportunities for standardization and interoperability and direct attention to areas where this was inhibited by divergences between national plans. They noted with satisfaction the initiation of trials involving the proposed Periodic Armaments Planning System. They urged nations to give full support to all these ventures and where appropriate to harmonize their national procedures with them.

  10. Ministers noted the emphasis being placed within the context of the Transatlantic Dialogue on families of weapons and on dual protection. They urged that increased efforts be made to improve interoperability in the important areas of communications, aircraft cross-servicing and ammunition, and to make more widespread and effective use of standardization agreements.

  11. Ministers received a statement by Mr. Ahmet Ihsan Birincioglu, National Defence Minister of Turkey and Chairman of the Eurogroup. They reiterated their support for the Eurogroup's work towards ensuring that the European contribution to the Alliance is as strong and as cohesive as possible. They welcomed the force improvements planned to be introduced by Eurogroup countries during 1980 as part of their NATO contribution and also their efforts in fostering co-operation in the Central Region and on the flanks, which had already given positive results.

  12. In conclusion, Ministers reaffirmed their determination to improve the deterrent and defensive capabilities of the Alliance, as an essential contribution to military stability and to the security of the West. To this end, they accepted on behalf of their governments the firm commitment of national forces for 1980 and adopted the NATO force plan for 1980-1984. Ministers reaffirmed their determination to implement the Long-Term Defence Programme and gave specific directives for maintaining its momentum. They emphasized the need for NATO to demonstrate its political solidarity and robustness in the face of repeated attempts by the Soviet Union to undermine the resolve of the Alliance and to prevent NATO from taking justified and adequate defensive measures. They confirmed their full support for new initiatives for arms control designed to promote detente and provide the means whereby security could be ensured at lower levels of armaments.

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