- At a special meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers
in Brussels on 12th December 1979:
- Ministers recalled the May 1978 Summit where
governments expressed the political resolve to meet the
challenges to their security posed by the continuing
momentum of the Warsaw Pact military build-up.
- The Warsaw Pact has over the years developed a large
and growing capability in nuclear systems that directly
threaten Western Europe and have a strategic significance
for the Alliance in Europe. This situation has been
especially aggravated over the last few years by Soviet
decisions to implement programmes modernizing and expanding
their long-range nuclear capability substantially. In
particular, they have deployed the SS-20 missile, which
offers significant improvements over previous systems in
providing greater accuracy, more mobility, and greater
range, as well as having multiple warheads, and the
Backfire bomber, which has a much better performance than
other Soviet aircraft deployed hitherto in a theatre role.
During this period, while the Soviet Union has been
reinforcing its superiority in Long Range Theatre Nuclear
Forces (LRTNF) both quantitatively and qualitatively,
Western LRTNF capabilities have remained static. Indeed
these forces are increasing in age and vulnerability and
do not include land-based, long-range theatre nuclear
- At the same time, the Soviets have also undertaken a
modernization and expansion of their shorter-range TNF and
greatly improved the overall quality of their conventional
forces. These developments took place against the
background of increasing Soviet inter-continental
capabilities and achievement of parity in inter-continental
capability with the United States.
- These trends have prompted serious concern within the
Alliance, because, if they were to continue, Soviet
superiority in theatre nuclear systems could undermine the
stability achieved in inter-continental systems and cast
doubt on the credibility of the Alliance's deterrent
strategy by highlighting the gap in the spectrum of NATO's
available nuclear response to aggression.
- Ministers noted that these recent developments require
concrete actions on the part of the Alliance if NATO's
strategy of flexible response is to remain credible. After
intensive consideration, including the merits of
alternative approaches, and after taking note of the
positions of certain members, Ministers concluded that the
overall interest of the Alliance would best be served by
pursuing two parallel and complementary approaches of TNF
modernization and arms control.
- Accordingly Ministers have decided to modernize NATO's
LRTNF by the deployment in Europe of US ground-launched
systems comprising 108 Pershing II launchers, which would
replace existing US Pershing I-A, and 464 Ground Launched
Cruise Missiles (GLCM), all with single warheads. All the
nations currently participating in the integrated defence
structure will participate in the programme: the missiles
will be stationed in selected countries and certain support
costs will be met through NATO's existing common funding
arrangements. The programme will not increase NATO's
reliance upon nuclear weapons. In this connection,
Ministers agreed that as an integral part of TNF
modernization, 1.000 US nuclear warheads will be withdrawn
from Europe as soon as feasible. Further, Ministers
decided that the 572 LRTNF warheads should be accommodated
within that reduced level, which necessarily implies a
numerical shift of emphasis away from warheads for delivery
systems of other types and shorter ranges In addition they
noted with satisfaction that the Nuclear Planning Group is
undertaking an examination of the precise nature, scope and
basis of the adjustments resulting from the LRTNF
deployment and their possible implications for the balance
of roles and systems in NATO's nuclear armoury as a whole.
This examination will form the basis of a substantive
report to NPG Ministers in the Autumn of 1980.
- Ministers attach great importance to the role of arms
control in contributing to a more stable military
relationship between East and West and in advancing the
process of detente. This is reflected in a broad set of
initiatives being examined within the Alliance to further
the course of arms control and detente in the 1980s.
Ministers regard arms control as an integral part of the
Alliance's efforts to assure the undiminished security of
its member States and to make the strategic situation
between East and West more stable, more predictable, and
more manageable at lower levels of armaments on both sides.
In this regard they welcome the contribution which the SALT
II Treaty makes towards achieving these objectives.
- Ministers consider that, building on this
accomplishment and taking account of the expansion of
Soviet LRTNF capabilities of concern to NATO, arms control
efforts to achieve a more stable overall nuclear balance
at lower levels of nuclear weapons on both sides should
therefore now include certain US and Soviet long-range
theatre nuclear systems This would reflect previous Western
suggestions to include such Soviet and US systems in arms
control negotiations and more recent expressions by Soviet
President Brezhnev of willingness to do so. Ministers fully
support the decision taken by the United States following
consultations within the Alliance to negotiate arms
limitations on LRTNF and to propose to the USSR to begin
negotiations as soon as possible along the following lines
which have been elaborated in intensive consultations
within the Alliance:
- Any future limitations on US systems principally
designed for theatre missions should be accompanied by
appropriate limitations on Soviet theatre systems.
- Limitations on US and Soviet long-range theatre
nuclear systems should be negotiated bilaterally in the
SALT III framework in a step-by-step approach.
- The immediate objective of these negotiations should
be the establishment of agreed limitations on US and Soviet
land-based long-range theatre nuclear missile systems.
- Any agreed limitations on these systems must be
consistent with the principle of equality between the
sides. Therefore, the limitations should take the form of
de jure equality both in ceilings and in rights.
- Any agreed limitations must be adequately verifiable.
- Given the special importance of these negotiations for
the overall security of the Alliance, a special
consultative body at a high level will be constituted
within the Alliance to support the US negotiating effort.
This body will follow the negotiations on a continuous
basis and report to the Foreign and Defence Ministers who
will examine developments in these negotiations as well as
in other arms control negotiations at their semi-annual
- The Ministers have decided to pursue these two
parallel and complementary approaches in order to avert an
arms race in Europe caused by the Soviet TNF build-up, yet
preserve the viability of NATO's strategy of deterrence and
defence and thus maintain the security of its member
- A modernization decision, including a commitment to
deployments, is necessary to meet NATO's deterrence and
defence needs, to provide a credible response to unilateral
Soviet TNF deployments, and to provide the foundation for
the pursuit of serious negotiations on TNF.
- Success of arms control in constraining the Soviet
build-up can enhance Alliance security, modify the scale
of NATO's TNF requirements, and promote stability and
detente in Europe in consonance with NATO's basic policy
of deterrence, defence and detente as enunciated in the
Harmel Report. NATO's TNF requirements will be examined in
the light of concrete results reached through negotiations.
- France did not participate in the Special Meeting.