Updated: 25-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


December, 1981

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


Protocol of Accession of Spain to the North Atlantic Treaty - Arms control and disarmament - Deterrent role of nuclear weapons - Soviet destabilising activities - Afghanistan - Military balance at lower levels of forces - President Reagan's 18 November Speech - US-Soviet Strategic Arms Reductions Talks (START) - Geneva negotiations on intermediate nuclear forces (INF) - MBFR - Helsinki Final Act - Poland - Madrid CSCE Follow-up meeting - Conference on Disarmament in Europe - Committee on Disarmament - 1982 2nd Special Session of UN General Assembly on Disarmament - Berlin - Meeting between Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and Chairman of the Council of State of the German Democratic Republic - International stability.

Economic Co-operation and Assistance within the Alliance - Science for Stability - Situation in the Mediterranean - Equipment Co-operation - Technology Transfer - Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society.

The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 10th and 11th December 1981. On this occasion Ministers signed the Protocol of Accession of Spain to the North Atlantic Treaty which will now be submitted for ratification in accordance with the constitutional procedures in their respective countries. They welcomed the decision of Spain to seek entry into the Alliance and thereby to play its part in Allied collective security in accordance with the principles of the North Atlantic Treaty. This decision offers new evidence of the enduring vitality of the Alliance.

Resolved to pursue peace and security through a stable balance of forces, reduced tensions and more constructive East-West relations, Ministers agreed on the following:

  1. The Alliance is committed to safeguarding the peace and thus allowing the peoples of its member countries to preserve the values and way of life they share. In the interest of lasting peace the Allies will continue to work unremittingly to establish through a constructive dialogue the essential climate of confidence and mutual restraint in East-West relations with the aim of achieving genuine détente and substantial progress in arms control and disarmament. But in the light of the Soviet Union's continued military build-up and as long as a solid foundation of trust has not been established, the Allies have no choice but to dissuade any potential aggressor by making it clear that they have the strength and the will to resist. The peace that Europe has enjoyed for the last 36 years is a measure of the success of the Alliance and its policy of deterrence and defence. An adequate deterrent does not jeopardize peace, it makes it safer. The unity and strength of the Alliance provide the best guarantee that its peoples can remain free from the fear of war.

    The role of nuclear weapons has attracted great attention in the Western political debate, in particular among the younger generation. The fact is, however, that nuclear weapons have thus far been an essential element in preventing war, in the face of the Warsaw Pact's massive conventional and nuclear forces. The Alliance has to maintain a nuclear capability, since disarmament has not reached a satisfactory level. The Alliance could not reduce the risk of war by divesting itself unilaterally of nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union has greatly increased its forces throughout the period of détente. Unilateral nuclear disarmament would give the Soviet Union, which could not be relied upon to follow suit, an overwhelming military advantage. The only sure way of preventing intimidation and war is to ensure a stable balance of forces between East and West. This should be done at the lowest possible level.

  2. Restraint and responsibility are essential for the conduct of international relations. But Soviet destabilising activities of all kinds persist in various parts of the world and cast doubt on their readiness to work for a real reduction of tension. While invoking exaggerated security requirements to justify its huge armaments development and production programme, the Soviet Union condemns as unwarranted the defensive measures taken by the Western countries. At the same time, it tries to exploit for its own purposes genuine concerns often expressed in the West, while prohibiting any free debate of this kind among its own people.

    The Soviet Union also seeks to further its own interests by the use of force. The occupation of Afghanistan continues, against the increasing resistance of the Afghan people and in the face of repeated international demands for Soviet withdrawal. Soviet refusal to respond to these demands constitutes a menace to the stability of the region, endangers international peace and security and seriously impedes improvements in East-West relations.

  3. In these circumstances the Alliance is resolved to strengthen - without seeking military superiority - its capacity to deter aggression and defend peace. Improvements in Allied defence readiness and military capabilities contribute to this end. Ministers expressed their support for the determination of the United States to ensure the deterrent capabilities of its strategic forces. An effective defence is also the essential basis for fruitful negotiations on arms control and disarmament.

  4. The Allies remain committed to vigorous efforts in all appropriate fora to achieve substantial, balanced and verifiable arms limitations and reductions. Recalling President Reagan's historic speech of 18th November 1981 they registered their full support for his far-reaching and constructive programme for the achievement of a stable peace. They share the United States' resolve to work for the establishment of a military balance at lower levels of forces and welcomed the four-point agenda which President Reagan conveyed to President Brezhnev.

    On this basis, as well as on the basis of restraint and responsibility, the Allies offer the Soviet Union comprehensive negotiations with the aim of effective arms control and disarmament. Soviet acceptance of this offer would benefit the peoples in East and West and in the Third World and promote peace and security worldwide .

    The US-Soviet Strategic Arms Reductions Talks (START), which the United States has proposed to begin as early as possible in 1982, will constitute an important new step towards reinforcing security and peace. These negotiations should lead to significant reductions in the US and Soviet strategic arsenals. The Allies also welcomed negotiations on US and Soviet intermediate range nuclear forces which opened in Geneva on 30th November 1981 at the initiative of the United States; they expressed the hope that these negotiations will lead to a positive result in the START framework. The Allies look forward to continued close consultations with the United States in the Council on these matters.

    Those Allies participating in the Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions talks in Vienna continue to seek genuine manpower parity, in the form of a common collective ceiling based on agreed data and adequate verification measures. They again call upon Eastern participating states to contribute constructively to clarifying these problems.

  5. The establishment of relations based on trust and co-operation in Europe depends on the full compliance by all the signatories with the provisions and principles of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act. These principles, to which the Allies are firmly committed, are of the utmost importance with respect to Poland; the Polish people must be free to solve their problems without outside interference or pressure of any kind. The Allies remain deeply attached to the human dimension of détente and thus to the tangible benefits which it must offer to the individual.

    The Allies will continue their efforts to achieve a balanced and substantive result at the Madrid CSCE Follow-up meeting, in the form of progress in all areas covered by the Final Act, including human rights, human contacts and information. They call upon the Soviet Union to live up to the Final Act and urge it to join in establishing a Conference on Disarmament in Europe and to agree now on a precise mandate for negotiations on confidence building measures applicable to the whole of Europe.

  6. Those Allies who are members of the Committee on Disarmament will contribute to work in that forum for the adoption of balanced and verifiable agreements on specific issues. The Allies reaffirm the importance they attach to the Second Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Disarmament to be held in 1982 in which they will play an active part.

  7. The Quadripartite Agreement of 3rd September 1971 has made a decisive contribution to stabilizing the Berlin situation during the 10 years since its signature. The Allies stress the continuing importance they attach to the maintenance of the calm situation in and around the city.

    The Allies note with satisfaction the forthcoming meeting between the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Chairman of the Council of State of the German Democratic Republic. They recall their statement in the Rome Communiqué of 5th May 1981, and express their hope that this meeting will contribute to the further development of relations between the two German states.

  8. Bearing in mind the close relationship between their defence and economic postures, the Allies will continue to give full support to the programmes to strengthen the economies of the less favoured partners in the spirit of Article 2 of the North Atlantic Treaty.

  9. International stability is vital to Western interests. Political settlements must be found to crises or conflicts. Genuine non-alignment can make an important contribution towards these goals. The Allies will continue to consult among themselves and work together with others to encourage the maintenance of stability and the independence of sovereign nations, to which they attach great importance, and to reduce the risk of crisis in the Third World. They will take the necessary political and economic measures to support efforts by such nations to defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity and to enhance stability world wide. In their consultations, Allies will seek to identify common objectives, taking full account of the political, economic and military situation in the area concerned. Those Allies in a position to do so will be ready to take steps outside the Treaty Area to deter aggression and to respond to requests by sovereign nations for help in resisting threats to their security or independence.

  10. Peace and economic and social development are increasingly becoming interdependent. The Allies will work together with other nations to assist countries who fight against hunger, poverty and under-development.

  11. The next meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Ministerial Session will be held in Luxembourg on the 17th and l8th May 1982.

In addition to the Communiqué, the Foreign Ministers decided to publish the following extracts from the Minutes of their Meeting of 10th and 11th December 1981:

Economic Co-operation and Assistance Within the Alliance

Ministers noted a report by the Secretary General on the particular economic problems faced by the less advanced member countries arising in large part from the serious international economic situation. The importance of follow-up actions initiated over recent years to extend assistance to these countries, both bilaterally and through those international organizations directly concerned, was recognized by member countries. Such action would contribute to the stability and cohesion of those member countries whose economies are less strong than others to withstand the adverse impact of current economic developments.

Science for Stability

Ministers noted with satisfaction the substantial progress that had been achieved during the past year in the implementation of the five-year "Science for Stability" programme for which initial funding had been provided in 1981. They noted that the planning and feasibility phases of a number of projects were underway in Greece, Portugal and Turkey and underscored the principal programme objective that these projects should support the strengthening of co-operative research relationships between the public and industrial sectors directed towards the solution of important problems concerned with furthering economic development. Ministers invited the Secretary General to present a progress report on the Science for Stability programme at their next meeting.

The Situation in the Mediterranean

Ministers noted the report on the situation in the Mediterranean prepared on their instructions and underlined again the necessity of maintaining adequate forces in the whole area. They requested the Council in Permanent Session to continue to consult on the question and submit a further report at their next meeting.

Equipment Co-operation

Ministers examined a report by the Conference of National Armaments Directors: they welcomed the level of exchanges of information, intended to lead to co-operative ventures, and noted with satisfaction the examples of effective equipment co-operation set out in this report. They noted the interest which the Conference is taking in the Transatlantic Dialogue and in particular in dual, joint and balanced production as well as the implementation of the concept of "families of weapons" and they expressed the hope that concrete results would be achieved. They expressed their satisfaction at the recent implementation within the Alliance of a comprehensive Periodic Armaments Planning System, which henceforth will be a valuable tool for co-operative equipment planning. Emphasising the importance of achieving effective industrial co-operation in equipment programmes, Ministers further welcomed the fact that the Conference had supported certain measures which would enable the NATO Industrial Advisory Group to broaden the scope of its advisory role.

Technology Transfer

Ministers recognised that transfers of militarily relevant technology to Warsaw Pact countries could have serious implications for the security of the Alliance. They agreed that this question should be studied.

Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society

Ministers took note of the annual progress report by the Secretary General on the work of the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS). They noted that the Committee had launched two new pilot studies in the course of the year, on Lighter-than-Air Aircraft and on Contaminated Land. Three studies had been concluded, on Plastic Wastes Recovery, the Improvement of Emergency Medical Services and the Disposal of Hazardous Wastes; as a follow-up to the latter, a world-wide symposium on the subject was organized in October by the German and United States Governments in Washington. In conclusion, Ministers noted that the Committee had further strengthened its follow-up procedures with a view to securing the widest dissemination of pilot study results.

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