Updated: 25-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


May, 1980

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


25th anniversary of the accession to NATO of The Federal Republic of Germany - Afghanistan - Warsaw Pact military build-up - Improvement of Allied defence capabilities -Near-term defence measures - Implementation of LTDP - Military assistance to Portugal and Turkey - NATO Armaments Planning Review - Eurogroup - 5-year Infrastructure Programme - TNF modernization - MBFR - 1981-1986 NATO force goals - Efforts to achieve 3% goal.

    The Defence Planning Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 13th and 14th May 1980. Foreign Ministers of countries participating in the integrated military structure of the Alliance took part in the Session of 14th May. In appreciation of the important contribution made by the Federal Republic of Germany to Allied defence and co-operation, Ministers drew attention to the 25th anniversary of its accession to NATO on 6th May 1955.

  1. Ministers carried out their discussions against a background of the major strategic issues facing the Alliance in the light of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the implications of that action for stability in South West Asia. Foreign Ministers looked forward to a full discussion of the political aspects of these developments at the forthcoming Ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Ankara.

  2. Ministers expressed their concern that for the first time in the post-war era the Soviet Union had used military force to impose its will on a non-aligned country of the Third World and in a way which affected the overall strategic situation. Ministers denounced this use of force which jeopardises international peace and stability and strikes at the principles of the United Nations' Charter, and called for the total and immediate withdrawal of all Soviet forces from Afghanistan. The people of Afghanistan must be free to shape their future without outside interference.

  3. Ministers expressed the hope that the Soviet Union would re-establish the conditions for more positive and productive East-West relations. They stressed their readiness to continue the search for progress in the field of arms control and disarmament on the basis of realistic balanced and verifiable measures. They reaffirmed their support for the SALT II Treaty as a major contribution to détente and to security and looked forward to its early ratification. Ministers recalled the wide range of initiatives particularly in the field of confidence building and arms control contained in the communiqués of 12th and 14th December 1979 and designed to improve mutual security and co-operation in Europe. They appealed to the members of the Warsaw Pact to make their contribution towards this goal and to respond positively to these Western proposals. At the same time, in the present circumstances, Ministers underlined the continuing need to maintain and strengthen the Alliance's defence posture in the interests of deterrence.

  4. Ministers further agreed that the stability of regions outside NATO boundaries, particularly in the South West Asia area, and the secure supply of essential commodities from this area are of crucial importance. Therefore, the current situation has serious implications for the security of member countries. The altered strategic situation in South West Asia warrants full solidarity and the strengthening of Allied cohesion as a response to the new challenges. Ministers recognised that maintenance of the special relationships of Allies with the regional countries are in the interests of the West as well as of the countries of the region.

  5. It is in the interests of members of the Alliance that countries which are in a position to do so should use their best efforts to help achieve peace and stability in South West Asia, taking into consideration the interests of the regional countries and the value of their political co-operation. The burden, particularly in so far as defence measures are concerned, falls largely upon the United States, which has already taken steps to enhance its effectiveness. Ministers noted that this commitment, which in certain circumstances might substantially increase, could place additional responsibilities on all Allies for maintaining levels and standards of forces necessary for defence and deterrence in the NATO area. Ministers agreed on the need for ensuring that at the same time as the United States carries out the efforts to strengthen defence capabilities for South West Asia described above, Allied capabilities to deter aggression and to defend NATO Europe are also maintained and strengthened.

  6. In discussing the effect of recent events on the NATO area, Ministers agreed that there was no sign of any relaxation in the efforts being undertaken by the Warsaw Pact and, in particular, the Soviet Union to increase substantially the quality and readiness of their forces. Despite a slowdown in economic growth and increasing difficulties in the energy sector, Soviet defence expenditure still amounted to 11 to 13% of its GDP, and continued to receive top priority despite the needs of the civil economy.

  7. Ministers pledged themselves to increase their efforts to improve the capabilities of the full spectrum of forces committed to the Alliance. They received the assurance of the United States Secretaries of State and Defense that the security of the NATO area remains central to United States policy. and they noted that the United States has no plans to withdraw any United States forces permanently stationed in Europe for use in South West Asia. Ministers of other countries agreed to do their utmost to meet additional burdens for NATO security which could result from the increased United States responsibilities in South West Asia.

  8. As an expression of their willingness to respond to the needs of the present situation, Ministers agreed upon a number of near-term defence measures to be undertaken by individual countries. Action would represent earlier or augmented implementation of urgently required defence measures designed to improve force capabilities in the NATO area. These measures are derived largely from existing national plans and based on comprehensive Alliance defence planning.

  9. Ministers also called for a report, for the December 1980 Defence Planning Committee meeting, establishing again on a country-by-country basis further specific measures for prompt or accelerated implementation. In the main, these would also be selected from current defence programmes; they would take account of the evolution of the international situation in general and of the situation in South West Asia in particular, and of the possible effects of this situation on the reinforcements available for the defence of the NATO area. Areas suitable for consideration would include readiness, reserve mobilization, war reserve munitions and materiel, maritime defence, airlift enhancement, support by nations of reinforcing forces, military assistance to Portugal and Turkey and the NATO Infrastructure Programme.

  10. Ministers agreed that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and its implications for international stability including in South West Asia made it more than ever necessary to maintain solidarity, cohesion and undiminished strength throughout the Alliance. These developments also brought more sharply into focus the strategic importance of the Mediterranean area and the pressing need for strengthening the economic and defence postures of member countries on the Southern Flank.

  11. Ministers also discussed a number of issues related principally to the continuation and implementation of current NATO defence plans designed to maintain the credibility of the Alliance's deterrence and defence posture.

  12. They discussed the status of the Long-Term Defence Programme and approved recommendations designed to ensure steady progress in a number of key areas. These areas included certain readiness and reserve mobilization measures, a number of maritime equipment projects, the provision of electronic warfare units and war reserve stocks.

  13. Ministers once more reviewed the serious economic difficulties of Portugal and Turkey. Their effect on the defence capabilities of both nations, but in particular of Turkey, continues to give grave concern. Problems and possible remedies were identified and highlighted. Noting that satisfactory progress has not been made up to now, Ministers agreed that Allied military assistance needs to be intensified and accelerated to meet the critical requirements in a timely way. In this respect they welcomed the decision of Germany further to increase its already substantial aid programme for Turkey. To strengthen the Alliance's maritime posture, particularly in the field of anti-submarine warfare, Ministers also supported the Portuguese Government in its plans to acquire three modern frigates and agreed to consider the best ways to provide assistance for them.

  14. Ministers welcomed the evidence of closer collaboration amongst member nations in defence equipment matters as reported by the Conference of National Armaments Directors. They noted with satisfaction that the NATO Armaments Planning Review is already providing a useful means of identifying opportunities for co-operative development and production of equipment and for improving interoperability, and that the trial of the Periodic Armaments Planning System is proceeding well. They welcomed the progress being made towards ammunition interchangeability and the establishment of several new project groups for future equipment, including air-delivered missiles and a frigate replacement.

  15. Ministers noted with interest the greater emphasis being placed on transatlantic co-operation in the development of families of weapons. In this respect they welcomed the progress being made in the field of third-generation anti-tank weapons and air-to-air missiles and the prospects for a family of maritime mines. They encouraged the search for greater use of new technology, including that now available in the Commercial sphere, for application to systems which will enhance the effectiveness of NATO defence including that of members of the Alliance which are less industrialised. To safeguard the military advantages accruing to NATO from the application of advanced technology, Ministers considered that close attention should be given to the implementation of trade control provisions, so that Soviet forces cannot benefit from the transfer of any technology which would enable them to modernize their forces more quickly and at lower cost.

  16. Ministers received a statement by Dr. Hans Apel, German Defence Minister and Chairman of the Eurogroup. They reaffirmed their support for the continuing work of the Eurogroup aimed at strengthening the cohesion of the Alliance and at making the European contributions to collective security as effective as possible. They welcomed the determination of Eurogroup members to continue steady and sustained force modernization; and to ensure that resources available for defence are used to maximum advantage through co-operation and collaboration in practical fields of activity. In this connection they noted the continuing progress in the fields of logistics, training, communications, equipment co-operation, force structures and medical co-operation.

  17. Ministers noted that the NATO Military Commanders had presented a case for an augmentation and acceleration of the current five-year 1980-1984 NATO Infrastructure Programme and agreed to consider a more substantive report at their December 1980 meeting.

  18. Ministers endorsed a new procedure to extend NATO's defence planning progressively into a longer timeframe, with the goal of achieving closer co-ordination at both the national and international level in setting Alliance objectives and in allocating resources for defence.

  19. Ministers recalled their decision of 12th December 1979 to pursue the two parallel and complementary approaches on long-range theatre nuclear force (TNF) modernization and on arms control involving TNF, and took note of the progress report on the proceedings of the Special Consultative Group on Arms Control involving TNF. Ministers expressed support for the repeated efforts of the United States to engage the Soviet Union in serious negotiations aimed at achieving verifiable limitations on Soviet and United States land-based long-range TNF consistent with the principle of equality between the sides. This offer was first made following the December TNF decision and was repeated by the United States Secretary of State on 4th April 1980. Ministers regretted that the Soviet Union has in response reiterated its rejection of the offer to conduct serious negotiations and is instead advancing conditions which would perpetuate inequality. The Soviet Union has until now posed unacceptable pre-conditions for negotiations, and is continuing the process of deploying SS-20 missiles at a rapid pace. Ministers therefore called on the Soviet Union to respond positively and to accept without delay the United States' offer to negotiate.

  20. Ministers expressed their concern about the Soviet superiority in long-range TNF systems. They recognised that the continuing deployment of new Soviet long-range TNF systems, particularly of the SS-20 missile, further increased the already existing disparity in long-range TNF in favour of the Soviet Union. They noted that the Alliance's long-range TNF modernization programme, in which an initial operational capability for modern long-range TNF in Europe is anticipated towards the end of 1983, is a deliberately restrained one compared with the qualitative and quantitative growth in Soviet nuclear capabilities facing the Alliance which has already taken place and is continuing. The Soviet Union is already in the process of deploying for its SS-20's alone more warheads than will be involved in the entire Alliance modernization programme. Ministers reiterated that the scale of NATO's long-range TNF requirements will be examined in the light of concrete results achieved through negotiations.

  21. Ministers recalled that it was decided at the December 1979 meeting that 1.000 United States nuclear warheads should be withdrawn from Europe as an integral part of the decision to modernize TNF without increasing NATO's reliance on nuclear weapons, and to pursue arms control involving TNF. They noted that this withdrawal has begun, as has implementation of other parts of the December decision.

  22. Ministers took note of the present state of negotiations on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions. They urged Eastern participants to make a positive response to the recent Western proposals for an interim Phase I agreement, and for a package of associated measures which forms an integral part of the interim agreement proposal.

  23. Ministers concluded their meeting by endorsing NATO force goals for the period 1981-1986 established on their behalf by the Defence Planning Committee in Permanent Session. There was full recognition that in view of the current imbalance between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces, implementation of these force goals would represent a major factor in the maintenance of adequate Alliance defence.

  24. Accordingly Ministers pledged themselves to preserve and strengthen the military capabilities of the Alliance. They reaffirmed the importance of member countries achieving and sustaining the aim, endorsed by Heads of State and Government, of increases in annual defence expenditures in real terms in the region of 3%. They expressed their confidence that those countries who have not yet been able to meet this goal will make every effort to do so.

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