Updated: 25-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


8-9 Dec. 1983

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


Allied commitments to arms control and genuine detente - Soviet concept of security - new appraisal of East-West relations - current state of international relations - Poland - Afghanistan - security aspects of East-West economic relations - CSCE - implementation of Helsinki Final Act and Madrid concluding document - Montebello decision - continued commitment to two-track decision - SCG Progress Report - Soviet efforts to maintain LRINF monopoly - Allied readiness to continue INF negotiations - mutual interests in resumption INF negotiations - START - Ministerial attendance at CDE - MBFR - Committee on Disarmament- chemical weapons - peaceful use of outer space - Berlin - sovereignty and genuine non- alignment- consultations on events outside the Treaty area - measures to suppress terrorism - Allied commitments under Article 2 - nomination of Lord Carrington - position of Spain.

Armaments Co-operation - Economic Co-operation and Assistance Within the Alliance - Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society - The Situation in the Mediterranean.

The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 8th and 9th December l983. Ministers agreed as follows:

  1. In the spirit of cohesion and solidarity, the Allies remain determined to safe-guard their freedom and independence, to prevent war, and to build the foundations of lasting peace and security in the NATO area. They will maintain military strength adequate to guarantee their collective security. None of their weapons will ever be used, except in response to attack. They remain firmly committed to balanced and verifiable arms control at the lowest possible level of forces, and will work for greater stability and progress towards genuine detente in East-West relations.

  2. The Allies remain resolved to deter aggression and attempts at intimidation. They will meet their legitimate security requirements with the conventional and nuclear forces necessary. They will devote resources and energy to the modernization of conventional forces, seeking a more effective and balanced transatlantic armaments co-operation. The Allies note with great concern that the Soviet Union continues its military build-up, which far exceeds defence needs, while promoting a concept of its own security which is unacceptable because it rests on maintenance of inequality in its favour (1)

  3. The Allies call on the Soviet Union to act with restraint and responsibility in its international behaviour and to co-operate with the West to promote a more constructive East-West dialogue aimed at reducing international tension. Rejecting any spirit of confrontation, the Allies reaffirm their determination to develop contacts and co-operation with the Warsaw Pact countries on the basis of mutual interest. While maintaining a firm and realistic attitude, the Allies would welcome any serious proposal aimed at restoring confidence between East and West. Ministers instructed the Permanent Council to undertake a thorough appraisal of East-West relations with a view to achieving a more constructive East-West dialogue and to report to the Ministerial Meeting in Spring 1984.

  4. The Soviet Union bears a heavy responsibility in the current state of international relations. By its behaviour, as in Afghanistan and towards Poland, and by recourse to persecution of human rights supporters, it has created serious obstacles to the normal development of relations (2)

  5. The situation in Poland continues to give cause for serious concern. Some of the steps taken by the Polish authorities, such as the lifting of martial law and the amnesty for most political detainees, contrast with the introduction of other measures which reinforce a repressive system. The Allies call on the Polish authorities to respect the aspirations of the people for reform and to abide by the commitments in the Helsinki Final Act and the Concluding Document of the Madrid Conference particularly with regard to trade union freedom and civil rights. They are ready to respond to steps which create the opportunity for constructive political and economic relations with the West.

  6. The Allies condemn the Soviet Union's continuing and intensified aggression against Afghanistan in violation of the United Nations Charter and in flagrant disregard of repeated calls by the United Nations General Assembly. They deplore the terrible suffering inflicted upon the Afghan people by Soviet forces. The withdrawal of these forces is essential for a political settlement to restore Afghanistan's independence, sovereignty and non-aligned status; to permit the voluntary return of refugees; and to provide the opportunity for the Afghan people to exercise freely its right to self-determination.

  7. Trade conducted on the basis of commercially sound terms and mutual advantage, that avoids preferential treatment of the Soviet Union, contributes to constructive East-West relations. At the same time, bilateral economic relations with the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe must remain consistent with broad Allied security concerns. These include avoiding dependence on the Soviet Union, or contributing to Soviet military capabilities. Thus, development of Western energy resources should b encouraged. In order to avoid further use by the Soviet Union of some forms of trade to enhance its military strength, the Allies will remain vigilant in their continuing review of the security aspects of East-West economic relations. This work will assist Allied governments in the conduct of their policies in this field (3).

  8. The successful conclusion of the Madrid Meeting contributes to the strengthening of the CSCE process. Although the Concluding Document agreed in Madrid falls somewhat short of the Allies' proposals, it is nonetheless substantive and balanced. The Allies attach equal importance to the implementation by all the CSCE countries of all provisions of both the Helsinki Final Act and the Madrid document, including their humanitarian aspects. An important result of the Madrid meeting was the agreement on a precise negotiating mandate for the Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe (CDE) due to open in Stockholm in January 1984.

  9. Since peace can and must be made more secure through equitable and verifiable agreements on disarmament and arms control, as well as through a balance of forces, the Allies have put forward a comprehensive series of proposals in this field. Their commitment to ensure security at the lowest possible level of forces was recently demonstrated by the member countries of the Nuclear Planning Group announcing at Montebello the withdrawal of 1,400 nuclear warheads from Europe, in addition to the reduction of 1,000 in 1980. The resulting stockpile will be the lowest in Europe for some twenty years. The Allies urge the Soviet Union to contribute to disarmament efforts in a concrete way and not to substitute declaratory proposals for deeds.

  10. Ministers underline that the two-track decision of December 1979 by Allies concerned demonstrates the commitment of the Alliance to preserve peace and stability at the lowest possible level of forces. The Allies concerned reaffirm their commitment to pursue a balance of intermediate-range forces through arms control negotiations with the USSR. The progress report of the Special Consultative Group provides a comprehensive account of United States efforts, on the basis of close consultations with other involved Allies, to achieve such an agreement. (4)

    Unfortunately, the negotiations in Geneva have not yet achieved concrete results, due to the Soviet effort to maintain their monopoly of long-range land-based INF missiles. Deployments of Pershing II and ground launched cruise missiles are thus proceeding in accordance with the December 1979 decision. Building on progress already achieved in Geneva, an agreement eliminating this entire category of United States and Soviet weapons, or at a minimum, limiting them to the lowest possible level, remains attainable. Allies concerned stress their willingness to continue negotiation and to halt, modify, or reverse the deployments now underway, on the basis of such an agreement. These Allies will continue to consult closely on steps directed toward achievement of this objective.

    The Allies note with regret the unjustified Soviet decision to leave the negotiating table in Geneva. The United States has negotiated over the past two years while Soviet deployments of SS-20s have grown by over 300 warheads. The Allies believe that the Soviet Union shares an interest with the United States in reducing nuclear weapons through negotiated agreement. The Allies therefore call for bilateral negotiations on intermediate-range nuclear forces to resume as soon as possible (5)

  11. The Allies fully support the United States efforts in the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START), and they welcome the recent American initiatives which provide the basis for a significant build-down of US and Soviet strategic weapons. In particular, the United States has indicated its willingness to discuss trade-offs in areas of each side's particular interest and advantage in order to achieve an equitable agreement which promotes stability. The Allies call on the Soviet Union to respond to these initiatives in a positive spirit. In this connection they note with regret the recent Soviet failure to agree to a specific date for the opening of the next round of the talks.

  12. The Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe (CDE) is an important part of the CSCE process and provides new possibilities for increasing security throughout Europe. Allied countries will table a comprehensive package of concrete measures, in conformity with the mandate agreed in Madrid, designed to promote military openness in order to increase confidence and security and reduce the risk of surprise attack. They are resolved to negotiate actively for an early agreement on politically binding, militarily significant and verifiable measures which will cover the whole of Europe. As a sign of their determination, Ministers will themselves attend this Conference.

  13. The Allies participating in the Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions (MBFR) talks reaffirm their determination to work for a mutually acceptable solution to the issues still barring progress. The Western draft Treaty presented last year providing a basis for a sound agreement. These Allies hope that the most recent Eastern statements indicate a new willingness to address the long standing basis issues of the Vienna negotiations and they are reviewing the state of these negotiations also in the light of these statements.

  14. In the Committee on Disarmament, the Western participants continue to strive for concrete disarmament agreements. They consider as a priority task for this Committee the elaboration of a verifiable agreement banning the development, production and stock-piling of all chemical weapons.

    The Allies remain gravely concerned about strong evidence of continued use of chemical weapons in South East Asia and Afghanistan, in violation of international law, and of Soviet involvement in the use of such weapons (6). They welcome the fact that the United Nations is continuing to develop procedures to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons.

    In the context of efforts aimed at the prevention of an arms race in outer space, the Allies have also proposed in the Committee on Disarmament that the existing international law concerning the peaceful use of outer space be reviewed.

  15. The maintenance of a calm situation in and around Berlin remains of fundamental importance to East-West relations. This continues to depend in particular on the strict observance and full implementation of the Quadripartite Agreement of 3rd September 1971. The Allies hope that the further development of co-operation between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic will benefit Berlin and the people in both states in Germany and will strengthen peace in Europe in the current state of international relations.

  16. The Allies urge respect for the sovereignty of states everywhere and for genuine non-alignment. They recognize that events outside the Treaty area may affect their common interests as members of the Alliance. They will engage in timely consultations on such events, if it is established that their common interests are involved. Sufficient military capabilities must be assured in the Treaty area to maintain an adequate defence posture. Allies who are in a position to do so will endeavour to support those sovereign nations who request assistance in countering threats to their security and independence. Those Allies in a position to facilitate the deployment of forces outside the Treaty area may do so, on the basis of national decision.

  17. The Allies condemn terrorist acts, which are a threat to democratic institutions an to the conduct of normal international relations. Recalling the relevant provision of the Bonn Declaration, they reiterate their determination to take effective measures for the prevention and suppression of such criminal acts.

  18. The Allies recall their commitment under Article 2 of the North Atlantic Treaty and reaffirm the importance of programmes intended to benefit the economies of less favoured partners.

  19. Ministers noted with regret the intention of Secretary General Dr. Joseph Luns to relinquish his post. They invited Lord Carrington to become Secretary General of the Organization as from 25th June 1984 and expressed satisfaction at Lord Carrington's acceptance.

  20. The Spring 1984 meeting of the Council in Ministerial Session will be held in Washington in May.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain informed the North Atlantic Council about the review undertaken regarding Spanish participation in the Alliance and in consequence reserved his Government's position on the present cornmuniqué.


  1. Greece expressed its views on the second part of the last sentence of this-paragraph.

  2. Greece expressed its views on the contents of this paragraph.

  3. Greece recalled its position on various aspects of this paragraph.

  4. The Progress Report by the Special Consultative Group has been published as a separate booklet. Copies can be obtained from the NATO Information Service, 1110 Brussels.

  5. Denmark and Greece reserve their positions on this paragraph.

  6. Greece recalls its position as it has been expressed during the previous Ministerial sessions.

In addition to the Communiqué, the Foreign Ministers decided to publish the following extracts from the Minutes of their Meeting of 8th and 9th December 1983.

Armaments Co-operation

Ministers examined the report by the Conference of National Armaments Directors. They noted CNAD efforts to foster closer co-operation not only between governments, but also between industries.

Reaffirming the need to improve the conventional capability of the Alliance against the background of ever-tightening equipment budgets Ministers noted continuing CNAD efforts to focus on priority areas of activity, and in particular to identify opportunities for exploiting key emerging technologies. They noted the intention of the CNAD to examine the various problems associated with such exploitation, and in particular the issues surrounding the appropriate sharing of these technologies, bearing in mind the need for their protection in the context of preventing the transfer of militarily relevant technology to the Warsaw Pact.

Economic Co-operation and Assistance within the Alliance

Mindful that the effects of the economic crisis in terms of social hardship are much more acutely felt in Greece, Portugal and Turkey than elsewhere in the Alliance, Ministers recognized the importance of increased Allied assistance in order to help these countries in the efforts to build a firm and secure economic foundation and encourage their hope for a more prosperous future. While stressing the Alliance's sensitivity to the economic plight of its less favoured partners, with a GDP per capita far below the NATO average, Ministers underlined once more the need for enhanced economic co-operation and support, both bilaterally and through the appropriate international organizations.

Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society

Ministers took note of the Secretary General's annual report on the work of the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society and expressed satisfaction at the continuance of its activities at a high level. The deliberations on the future direction of the Committee's activities have resulted in agreement on three new studies dealing, respectively, with assessments of the risks of toxic products, training in the environmental field and methods of combating forest fires. Two new seminars have been organized. Finally, three earlier pilot studies have been brought to a successful conclusion.

The Situation in the Mediterranean

Ministers noted the report on the situation in the Mediterranean. In view of the actual and potential impact on Alliance security of events in the area, they requested the Council in Permanent Session to continue to consult on the question and to submit further reports at their future meetings.

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