Updated: 27-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


11 Dec. 1987

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Lord Carrington


INF: a Treaty without precedent in the history of arms control - Possibility of progress in other arms control areas - 20th anniversary of Harmel Report - More forthcoming Soviet attitude - Imperatives of collective security - Strategy of deterrence - Efforts towards effectively verifiable arms control measures - Comprehensive concept of arms control - Elimination of conventional disparities - START - Chemical weapons - MBFR - CSCE - Implementation of Stockholm Document - WEU Hague Declaration - Inner German dialogue - Afghanistan - CAPS - IEPG - Terrorism - Appointment of Mr. Wörner as Secretary General of NATO.

Out-of-area - Iran/Iraq Conflict - Economic Co-operation and Assistance within the Alliance - CCMS - Science for Stability - Situation in the Medi- terranean - East/West trade.

The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 11th December 1987. Ministers heard, and exchanged views on, a detailed report by the United States Secretary of State on the Washington summit talks between President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev, including the conclusion of a Treaty without precedent in the history of arms control which will eliminate all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles of the two parties, and notable progress in other areas.

Ministers agreed as follows:

  1. We welcome the Washington INF Treaty. This Treaty is the successful result of solidarity and resolve shown by the Alliance as a whole. It is fully consistent with the security requirements of the Alliance. It accomplishes an important and long-standing Alliance objective : the elimination of a class of Soviet nuclear weapons threatening the European Allies and other regions of the world. The Treaty establishes significant new standards in verification procedures and in achieving asymmetric reductions to redress the present imbalance. The process of intense consultation and co-operation within the Alliance in support of this effort has demonstrated and reinforced the close ties and common interests between Europe and North America that lie at the heart of the North Atlantic Alliance. We consider that the INF Treaty will be all the more meaningful because it opens the way to progress in other arms control areas. We fully support the INF Treaty and urge its early entry into force.

  2. We are convinced that these developments have been made possible by the consistent and realistic pursuit of Alliance security policy set forth in the Harmel Report whose 20th Anniversary we celebrate this year. We are agreed upon the importance of Alliance cohesion and solidarity, and adequate military strength, which remain an essential basis for our policy of dialogue and co-operation aimed, together with arms control, at resolving the underlying tensions between East and West. We take this opportunity to reaffirm the continuing validity of this balanced and complementary approach, which has ensured Alliance security, prevented war and helped bring about a constructive East-West dialogue.

    Not withstanding the continuing fundamental differences between the states of East and West, we note a more forthcoming Soviet attitude, which could lead to real progress in East-West relations, especially in the field of arms control. We are ready to explore all possibilities thus offered to us with realism and open-mindedness. We shall do so, thoroughly investigating areas of common interest and acting on the basis of actual Soviet and Warsaw Pact conduct and of a sober calculation of the implications for our own security. Only in this way can the unnatural division of Europe be healed. As the Harmel Report states, the ultimate political purpose of our Alliance is to achieve a just and lasting peaceful order in Europe accompanied by appropriate security guarantees.

  3. An essential element of the Alliance is our commitment to share both the burden and the benefits of our common effort. A sustained and adequate contribution by all concerned is imperative to our collective security. We agree on the undiminished need to respond in solidarity to a continuing Soviet military threat, sustained by current Soviet armaments programmes.

    For the foreseeable future, there is no alternative to the Alliance concept for the prevention of war, which is a strategy of deterrence based upon an appropriate mix of adequate and effective nuclear and conventional forces, each element being indispensable. It is on this basis that the countries of the Alliance will be able to continue their own essential contribution to peace and security and to deterring war and threat of aggression or intimidation.

  4. Arms control is an integral part of this security policy. We will continue to seek effectively verifiable arms control measures leading to a more stable and secure balance of forces at lower levels. In light of the decisions they took at the Reykjavik Ministerial of last June, the fifteen Allies concerned consider that the INF Treaty is an important element in a coherent and comprehensive concept of arms control and disarmament, consistent with NATO's doctrine of flexible response, which would include:

    • a 50% reduction in the strategic offensive nuclear weapons of the US and Soviet Union;

    • the global elimination of chemical weapons;

    • the establishment of a stable and secure level of conventional forces, by the elimination of disparities, in the whole of Europe;

    • in conjunction with the establishment of a conventional balance and the global elimination of chemical weapons, tangible and verifiable reductions of American and Soviet land-based nuclear missile systems of shorter-range, leading to equal ceilings.

  5. We further note that the North Atlantic Council in Permanent Session is actively continuing its work, in conjunction with the appropriate military authorities, to consider the further development of a comprehensive concept of arms control and disarmament. We recognise that the arms control problems faced by the Alliance raise complex and interrelated issues which must be evaluated together, bearing in mind overall progress in the arms control negotiations enumerated above as well as the requirements of Alliance security and of its strategy of deterrence.

  6. We look to fresh progress with a view to the speedy conclusion of an agreement in the START context, in line with the Reykjavik goal of achieving a 50 % reduction in the Soviet and United States strategic arsenals.

  7. We hope that the recent Soviet recognition of the need for comprehensive verification of a chemical weapons ban can soon be translated into treaty obligations providing for effective verification, and that a convention on the global elimination of these weapons and their future non-production can be quickly concluded. We reaffirm our commitment to two future security negotiations, in the framework of the CSCE process, on conventional stability aiming at a comprehensive, stable and verifiable balance of conventional forces at lower levels and new confidence building and security measures in Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals. We hope that agreements on mandates for such negotiations meeting our objectives can be achieved as part of a balanced outcome of the Vienna CSCE follow-on meeting so that the new negotiations can begin in the near future.

  8. Those of us participating in the MBFR negotiations reiterate their desire to reach an early, substantial and verifiable agreement and call upon the Warsaw Pact participants to adopt a more constructive posture in the negotiations.

  9. Progress towards more security and peace require not only specific measures in the field of arms control, but also substantial changes in the overall East-West relationship, in line with the principles of the Helsinki Final Act. The Allies thus strongly support the continuation and strengthening of the CSCE process as a vital instrument to develop and enhance stable and constructive East-West relations on a long-term basis. We are concerned about the slow progress at the current CSCE follow-up meeting and the essential need for the USSR and its allies to improve significantly their implementation of the CSCE Documents, especially in the human dimension. The results of the Vienna follow-up meeting must not be confined only to the military aspects of security; it is essential for balanced progress to be recorded in all spheres covered by the Helsinki Final Act. We recall the proposals to this effect submitted by Western allies. In this respect we attach particular importance to the Western proposal on the human dimension. We will continue to work for the speedy adoption of a substantive concluding document containing concrete improvements with a view to further implementing the Final Act as well as the Madrid Concluding Document and assuring a proper balance between all CSCE areas.

    We note with satisfaction the implementation up to now of the Stockholm Document.

  10. We note with satisfaction that the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the Western European Union in their Declaration published at The Hague on 27th October 1987 underlined a number of our basic principles and that they affirmed a positive identity in the field of European security within the frame- work of the Atlantic Alliance, conducive to the strengthening of the transatlantic partnership and of the Alliance as a whole.

  11. The maintenance of a calm situation in and around Berlin, including unhindered traffic on all access routes, remains of fundamental importance for East-West relations. The viability and attractiveness of Berlin were impressively underlined during the 750th anniversary year. The members of the Alliance welcome current efforts to improve and expand Berlin's air services, to enhance the city's role as a centre for international events, and to strengthen human contacts there.

    The Alliance supports the efforts of the Federal Republic of Germany to promote a permanent dialogue and co-operation with the GDR, for the benefit of the divided German people, including Berlin within this process. These efforts contribute to furthering East-West co-operation and strengthening peace and stability in Europe.

  12. We deplore the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and call, in accordance with the United Nations' repeated resolutions on this subject, for a speedy and complete withdrawal of Soviet troops and the installation of a transitional government acceptable to all parties.

  13. We approved the establishment of a NATO Conventional Armaments Planning System on a trial basis, subject to the completion of the necessary supporting policy guidance. The new system will encourage nations to get better value out of the resources they devote to defence procurement and thereby better to support the Alliance by providing a useful framework within which it will be possible to analyse long term national equipment requirements, to examine to what extent national plans meet Alliance needs and to promote greater co-operation in defence equipment.

    We shall continue to pursue actively our efforts to enhance armaments co- operation among all the countries of the Alliance. The work of the IEPG represents an important contribution to the transatlantic dialogue in this field.

  14. In the spirit of Article 2 of the North Atlantic Treaty and in view of the prosperity gap among the various members of the Alliance, we reaffirm the importance of improving the present level of mutual assistance and co-operation within the Alliance.

  15. We condemn terrorism in all its forms. We reiterate our resolve to fight against it and reaffirm our belief that closer international co-operation remains central to defeating this scourge.

  16. Ministers noted with regret the intention of the Secretary General, Lord Carrington, to relinquish his post. They invited Mr. Manfred Wörner to become Secretary General of the Organization as from lst July 1988 and expressed satisfaction at Mr. Wörner's acceptance.

  17. The Spring 1988 meeting of the Council in Ministerial Session will be held in Madrid on 9th and l0th June.

In addition to the Communiqué, the Foreign Ministers decided to publish the following extracts from the Minutes of their meeting in Brussels of 11th December 1987.

Out-of Area

Ministers reaffirmed that events outside the Treaty area may affect their vital common interests as members of the Alliance. They will engage in timely consultations on such events, if it is established that their vital common interests are involved. Sufficient military capabilities must be assured in the Treaty area to maintain an adequate defence posture. While recognising that the policies which nations adopt outside that area are a matter of national decision, 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.

Iran/Iraq Conflict

As regards the conflict between Iran and Iraq, Ministers underlined the importance of an early and full implementation of SCR 598. They also recalled the importance of freedom and security of navigation in the Gulf. They call for appropriate follow-up action in order to resolve these problems.

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 and they stressed that the relationship between economic policy and security policy should not be neglected. In the spirit of Article 2 of the North Atlantic Treaty and in view of the prosperity gap between the richer and less developed members of the Alliance, and noting the Secretary General's personal report on "Economic Co-operation and Assistance Within the Alliance", we reaffirm the importance of improving the present level of mutual assistance and co-operation within the Alliance. The Secretary General also expressed concern about the decline in the overall level of Allied assistance provided over the last two years. Nevertheless, in view of the greater awareness shown by the more prosperous Allies of the problems of Greece, Portugal and Turkey, he remained confident that they would continue to take into consideration the special needs of these countries.

Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS)

Ministers took note of the Secretary General's annual report for 1987 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 during the course of the year the study on Forest Fires was completed and that the following two new studies were launched : "Promotion of Environmental Awareness in the Armed Forces" and "Conservation of Historic Brick Buildings", thus bringing the total of on-going projects to fifteen. An interim report on the abatement of aircraft noise was also issued, and its recommendations will be widely publicised within the Alliance.

Science for Stability

Ministers noted with interest that the second phase of the "Science for Stability Programme", aimed at developing the technological capabilities of Greece, Portugal and Turkey, is being successfully launched: over 70 proposals were received and about 30 retained, for which roughly 80% of the expected funds have already been earmarked.

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.

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 the policies in this field.

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