Updated: 27-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


Dec. 1986

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Lord Carrington


Fundamental purpose of the Alliance - Allied commitment to a more cooperative East-West relationship - Importance of human rights and contacts - Reykjavik meeting - Validity of Alliance strategy of deterrence - Continuing build-up of Soviet forces - Arms control and disarmament - Prerequisites for equitable agreements - Allied support for US efforts in the field of arms control - Need for substantial reductions in offensive nuclear forces - Progress at Reykjavik towards agreement on reductions in strategic forces and LRINF - LRINF negotiations - Imbalances in shorter-range US and Soviet INF missiles - US-Soviet negotiations on defence and space systems - Importance of effective verification in each area - Conventional disparities - First report of High Level Group on conventional arms control - Brussels Declaration on Conventional Arms Control - MBFR and Western initiative of 5 December 1985 - Concern over continued Soviet build-up of chemical weapons - Geneva Conference on Disarmament - Agreement on elimination of chemical weapons within reach - Strengthening CSCE process - Vienna follow-up meeting - Results of Stockholm CDE - Events outside the Treaty area - Afghanistan - Terrorism - Berlin - Inner German relations - IEPG- Mutual assistance and co-operation within the Alliance - Continuing validity of the principles included in the Report of 1956 Committee of Three.

Armaments cooperation - Economic cooperation and assistance within the Alliance - Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS) - Terrorism - Situation in the Mediterranean - Out of Area - East-West Trade.

The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 11th and 12th December 1986. Ministers agreed as follows :

  1. Securing peace in freedom remains our fundamental purpose: wars of all kinds, nuclear and conventional, must be prevented. In the conviction that the security of our Alliance is indivisible, we shall continue to consult closely on all matters affecting our common interests.

  2. We shall continue to explore all opportunities for a broad and constructive dialogue which addresses the concerns of the peoples of East and West. We reconfirm our commitment to a more co-operative East-West relationship including political dialogue, commercial relations, and cultural exchanges, in which all states participate on equal terms. Respect for human rights and encouragement of human contacts remain essential.

    Recent high-level meetings, notably that between President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev in Reykjavik, constitute important milestones in East-West relations.

  3. The Alliance strategy of deterrence, based on adequate conventional and nuclear defences, has proved its value in safeguarding peace and enabling us to resist intimidation. It remains fully valid. The continuing build-up of Soviet forces underscores that maintaining this effective range of deterrence capabilities must remain a key Alliance priority.

  4. Arms control and disarmament are an integral part of our security policy. We remain committed to reaching equitable agreements aimed at enhancing stability at lower levels of forces and armaments. They must strengthen security in Europe and must not weaken the link between the European and North American members of the Alliance. Effective verification is an essential condition for all such agreements. Real progress on arms control can only be made if a stable overall balance is assured at all times.

  5. Following Reykjavik, we support the United States in seeking balanced, equitable and effectively verifiable arms control agreements with the Soviet Union. We agree that instead of simply codifying the existing levels of arsenals, agreements in Geneva should seek to achieve substantial reductions in offensive nuclear forces in ways that will enhance peace and stability. We therefore welcome the progress at Reykjavik towards agreement on 50 % reductions in US and Soviet strategic offensive forces and towards an agreement on longer-range intermediate nuclear missiles. We fully endorse the United States' determination to negotiate detailed agreements on this basis as a matter of priority and urge the Soviet Union to join in this effort in Geneva.

    Opportunity for progress in some areas, notably in the LRINF negotiations, must not be held hostage to agreements in other unrelated ones. Soviet insistence on doing so would contradict assurances given at the highest level.

    On the basis of the December 1979 NATO decision on LRINF modernisation and arms control, the Allies concerned fully support the envisaged elimination of American and Soviet land-based LRINF in Europe and the limitation to 100 warheads in Asia and the United States, while their ultimate objective remains the total elimination of all such LRINF. They stress that an INF agreement must not neglect the existing imbalances in shorter-range US and Soviet INF missiles and must provide for a commitment to follow-on negotiations on these missiles.

    We also reviewed the US-Soviet negotiations in Geneva on defence and space systems which aim to prevent an arms race in space and strengthen strategic stability. We strongly support these efforts.

    In all cases, effective verification would be an essential condition. We will continue to assess and to consult closely on all these issues in the appropriate Alliance fora (1).

  6. Nuclear weapons cannot be dealt with in isolation. We also look for progress in other areas of arms control, particularly since reductions in nuclear weapons will increase the importance of removing conventional disparities and eliminating chemical weapons. An effective resolution of these issues is an essential requirement for real and enduring stability and security in Europe.

  7. At our last session in Halifax we stressed the importance which we attach to conventional arms control and decided to consider all the issues involved in a high level group. We have approved the first report of this group and have also adopted the Brussels Declaration on Conventional Arms Control.

  8. Those of us participating in MBFR reaffirm our determination to reach early, substantial and verifiable agreement and call upon the East to respond constructively to the Western initiative of 5th December l985. This would, in our view, significantly contribute to the launching of other negotiations, this time extended to Europe as a whole (2).

  9. The continued Soviet build-up of chemical weapons is a matter of great concern, as is the proliferation and use of such weapons. At the Geneva Conference on Disarmament, we seek a convention which meets our objective, the general, complete and verifiable prohibition of chemical weapons and the destruction of all existing stock-piles. If the Soviet Union is prepared to take a constructive attitude on all aspects of an effective verification regime, such an agreement is within reach. We appeal to the USSR to join us in overcoming the outstanding obstacles.

  10. The Vienna CSCE Follow-up meeting is of major importance for the promotion of stable and constructive East-West relations and for the sustained long-term improvement of relations between all the participating states. We deplore the deficiencies of Warsaw Pact countries in honouring their commitments, particularly in the field of human rights and human contacts. We shall continue to insist on the full implementation of all agreements reached in the CSCE process.

    We welcome the results of the Stockhom CDE. The confidence and security building measures agreed upon, if fully implemented, will create more transparency and contribute to greater confidence and predictability of military activities in the whole of Europe. The measures thus represent progress in regard to the Helsinki Final Act and demonstrate the validity of the step-by-step approach defined in the Madrid mandate.

    We shall press for a balanced and constructive outcome at Vienna and a strengthening of the CSCE process through improved compliance by the East and progress in all three Baskets.

  11. We respect the sovereignty and independence of all states. We will remain vigilant and continue to consult on events outside the Treaty area which might threaten our common security.

  12. We call on the Soviet Union to end its unacceptable military occupation of Afghanistan, soon to enter its eighth year. The international community demands the speedy and complete withdrawal of Soviet armed forces and a political settlement which would restore Afghanistan's independence and non- aligned status. This would create conditions for the safe and honourable return of refugees to their homes and permit Afghan self determination.

  13. We firmly condemn terrorism. We have intensified the fight against it, whatever its form and from whatever quarter it comes. We invite all states to unite their efforts to defeat this scourge.

  14. The maintenance of a calm situation in and around Berlin, including unhindered access and preservation of the status of the city and of its internal security, remains of fundamental importance for East-West relations. The 750th anniversary of Berlin will provide an opportunity to make clear its present and historical importance.

    The members of the Alliance support the efforts of the Federal Republic of Germany, through dialogue and co-operation with the GDR, to obtain practical improvements to benefit the German people, including Berliners, and to strengtlen peace in Europe.

  15. We have noted encouraging progress in our efforts to enhance armaments co-operation among all countries of the Alliance. We shall actively continue these efforts. The recent work of the IEPG represents an important contribution to the transatlantic dialogue in this field.

  16. In the spirit of Article 2 of the North Atlantic Treaty, we reaffirm the importance of mutual assistance and co-operation within the Alliance, including the Science for Stability Programme. We also reaffirm the need to improve defence-industrial collaboration, particularly in order to enable Greece, Portugal and Turkey to upgrade their defence industries.

  17. Thirty years ago, the Foreign Ministers of Canada, Italy and Norway presented a report to the North Atlantic Council which called for enhanced political consultation, the improvement and extension of co-operation and the development of greater unity and solidarity within the Atlantic community. Commemorating this year the work of the Committee of Three, we acknowledge the continuing validity of these principles.

  18. The Spring 1987 meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Ministerial Session will be held in Reykjavik in June.


  1. Greece recalls its position on nuclear matters and space system issues as expressed during previous NATO Ministerial meetings

  2. Recalling its position on the MBFR negotiations, France has made a reservation on this sentence.

In addition to the Communiqué, the Foreign Ministers decided to publish the following extracts from the Minutes of their meeting in Brussels of 11th and 12th December 1986.

Armaments Co-operation

Ministers examined the report by the Conference on National Armaments Directors (CNAD). Recalling their approval in December 1985 of an Armaments Co-operation Improvement Strategy, they noted with satisfaction that the strategy was proving to be a useful political framework for improving armaments co-operation between the European and North American and the developed and developing members of the Alliance. They emphasised that such enhanced co-operation had an important role to play in efforts to improve the Alliance's conventional defences. In this context, Ministers reviewed progress to date in the projects launched as a result of the Nunn Amendment, and noted that several of these projects were reaching the stage when major programme decisions would be required. They agreed to monitor developments in these programmes with particular attention.

Ministers noted that in the light of experience gained to date, the IEPG nations had put forward a number of "Principles for Collaboration" which had been welcomed by their North American Allies. Ministers agreed to give continued emphasis to the exploitation of emerging technologies in equipment programmes, particularly in the long-term, and reaffirmed the importance they attached to the sharing of technology between the Allies, as well as to the protection of militarily relevant technology.

Economic Co-operation and Assistance Within the Alliance

Ministers re-emphasised that Allied security not only depended on military deterrence and political cohesion, but also on the economic well-being of all members of NATO. Noting the Secretary General's personal report on `Economic Co-operation and Assistance Within the Alliance', in which concern was expressed over the large differences still existing in standards of living between the richer and less prosperous members of the Alliance, Ministers stressed the need for more assistance and co-operation, particularly in the defence industrial sector, enabling Greece, Portugal and Turkey to upgrade the technological capabilities of their defence industries and increase their availability for Allied procurements in this area. Ministers also took note of the Secretary General's statement that the relationship between economic policy and security policy should not be neglected. The Secretary General was encouraged by the greater awareness shown by the more prosperous Allies of the problems of Greece, Portugal and Turkey, and remained confident that they would continue to take into consideration the special needs of these countries and, to this end, also bring their influence to bear in the appropriate international fora.

Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS)

Ministers took note of the Secretary General's annual report for 1986 on the work of the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society and expressed gratification at the maintenance of its activities at a high level. They noted that while two studies (on the Conservation/Restoration of Monuments and the Utilization and Disposal of Municipal Sewage Sludge) were completed in the course of the year, three new ones had been undertaken : the Assessment of the Risk of Accidental Pollution from the Shipping of Dangerous Products Remedial Action Technologies for Contaminated Land and Groundwater and the Protection of Astronomic and Geophysical Sites which brings to fifteen the number of projects currently conducted under the Committee's aegis.


Referring to paragraph 13 of their December 1986 Communiqué, Ministers strongly reaffirmed their condemnation of increasing acts of terrorism world- wide. They noted with grave concern that these acts constitute a threat to their citizens, challenging democratic and free institutions and the conduct of normal international relations. Ministers again stressed the need for effective co-operative efforts to prevent and suppress this scourge.

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.

Out-of Area

Ministers reaffirmed 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.

East-West Trade

Recalling previous statements, Ministers reaffirmed that 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. 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.

 [ Go to Comm '80-'89 Index ]  [ Go to Homepage ]