Updated: 27-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


Dec. 1988

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Manfred Wörner


Reaffirmed commitment to preserving peace, freedom and common security through effective deterrence and defence - Scale of Soviet military capacity and defence spending - Call for changes in Soviet military capabilities consistent with its declared policies - Identification of areas for further improvements in defence capability - Publication of report on enhancing NATO's collective security - Perceptions and realities of burden-sharing - Maximum efficiency in use of defence resources - Study on effectiveness and availability of operational capabilities of European forces in the Northern Army Group area including possible formation of a multinational division - Importance of sustained public support for defence and security - Minimising public impact of requisite training levels - Annual Defence Review - Continued validity of aims defined under Conventional Defence Improvements (CDI) initiative - Adoption of NATO Force Plan for 1989-1993 - Reaffirmed commitment to maintaining momentum of CDI programme - Progress in Spain's participation in Alliance defence planning outside NATO's integrated military structure - Approval of guidelines for development of coordination agreements between Major NATO Com- manders and Spanish Military Authorities - Overall levels of Allied assistance to Greece, Portugal and Turkey - Satisfactory progress in NATO Conventional Armaments Planning System trial (NATO CAPS) - Sharing and protection of militarily relevant technology - Biennial review of NATO Common Funded Infrastructure Programme - Additional infrastructure funding for relocation of US 401st Tactical Fighter Wing - Hopes for early commencement of Conventional Stability Talks and balanced outcome to Vienna CSCE Follow-up Meeting - Sustained efforts to ensure continued credibility of Allied strategy.

  1. The Defence Planning Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 1st and 2nd December 1988.

  2. We reaffirmed our commitment to preserve the peace, freedom and common security of the Alliance through effective deterrence and defence, and, on this basis, to pursue our arms control objectives of enhancing security and stability at lower levels of forces. Only by maintaining adequate military strength and political solidarity will we be able to continue to meet with confidence the challenge of the new opportunities for dialogue and broader cooperation with the East, including arms control.

  3. In this respect, we welcome and are encouraged by the signs of change in the policies of the Soviet Union, under the leadership of Mr. Gorbachev, and of some other members of the Warsaw Pact. These offer the potential for improved and progressively more stable East-West relations. However the Soviet Union, despite its declared intention of moving towards a defensive doctrine, maintains a formidable array of nuclear and conventional forces. These continue to be modernised at a steady and impressive rate, and are structured and deployed for offensive operations. We have, as yet, seen no evidence of relaxation in the scale of the Soviet Union's military effort which continues to absorb an estimated 15% to 17% of its GNP and remains the reality against which we must measure our own defences. We therefore call upon the Soviet Union to make changes in its military capabilities consistent with its declared policies.

  4. Central to our discussions has been the need for all Alliance members to share equitably the roles, risks and responsibilities, as well as the benefits, of our collective defence. This fundamental principle was the basis for the preparation of a wide-ranging and major report on enhancing NATO's collective security. This report, which we have agreed and which has been published, addresses the perceptions and realities involved in the fair sharing of the burdens and the benefits of Alliance membership. It concludes that, as the Alliance approaches its 40th Anniversary, its strength and cohesion remain as firm as ever with major contributions being made by both the European and North American pillars of the Alliance. Nevertheless, the report has also shown that there are significant variations among countries in the scale and nature of their contributions, and has identified a number of areas where further improvements could be made to strengthen the Alliance's defence capability.

  5. The report emphasises the need to provide adequate resources for defence and to use them as efficiently as possible. Our decisions on the rebasing and common funding arrangements for the United States' 401st Tactical Fighter Wing in Italy, in continued support of the Southern Region, and the cooperative effort leading to the establishment of a NATO Composite Force for the Northern Region are two recent examples of our collective resolve in this respect. In addition, we have agreed that a study should be undertaken by the NATO Military Authorities with the countries concerned on how to enhance the effectiveness and availability of operational capabilities of the European forces in the Northern Army Group area which will examine the feasibility of forming a multinational division. The report also concludes that sustained public support for defence and security will continue to be of fundamental importance. In this context, we considered the problem of how to ensure that our forces continue to receive the necessary level of training while seeking to minimise the impact on our publics. We are determined to meet fully the demanding challenges identified by the report. We will periodically review progress as part of our regular planning process.

  6. At the recent meeting of the Nuclear Planning Group in The Hague, we expressed our views on the nuclear requirements of Alliance strategy and on the work underway to ensure the continued credibility of NATO's nuclear deterrent posture. At our present meeting we concentrated attention on conventional forces and, in this context, reaffirmed our commitment to enhance the effectiveness of this equally essential component of our strategy. Our discussion of the Annual Defence Review underlined that the aims we defined under the Conventional Defence Improvements (CDI) initiative remain crucial, particularly in the present era of constrained defence resources. We welcomed the further progress that has been made towards redressing key deficiencies in our conventional forces, which has been achieved in part by applying our resources with greater efficiency to the agreed priority areas; although we noted that much more remains to be done. In this context, we agreed that it is essential that countries make every effort to meet those force goals most relevant to CDI.

  7. We adopted the NATO Force Plan for 1989-1993 and we reaffirmed our commitment to maintain, and where necessary augment, the momentum of the CDI programme and thus redress existing shortfalls. This is an important challenge to the Alliance : we must seek not only to increase the resources available for defence but also obtain greater value for the money we devote to defence. To this end, we are determined to further our concerted efforts towards increased co-operation, in order to achieve collective improvements which are beyond the resources of individual countries.

  8. We welcomed the progress being made in the participation of Spain in Alliance defence planning and the approval of the guidelines for the development of co-ordination agreements between the Major NATO Commanders and the Spanish Military Authorities for Spain's military contribution to the common defence outside the integrated military structure.

  9. We stressed the need to enhance Alliance efforts to increase the overall level of assistance to Greece, Portugal and Turkey. In this respect Military Assistance Requirements which we have introduced into our defence planning process this year will focus attention on the specific needs of these countries. We welcomed the examination that is now in hand of assistance through research and cost-sharing arrangements within armaments projects, and we look forward to early results. We will continue to explore, in the context of fair sharing of roles, risks and responsibilities in the Alliance, opportunities that such arrangements might offer for broadening the basis of assistance.

  10. We noted with particular satisfaction that the trial of a NATO Conventional Armaments Planning System (NATO CAPS) is proceeding well. We reaffirmed our commitment to the success of this important Alliance initiative. The Alliance has continued its work in a range of co-operative armaments projects, including those being pursued as a result of United States legislation. These endeavours, conducted on the basis of fair and equitable trade practices between all the Allies, have the potential to improve substantially efficiency and economy in equipping our conventional forces, thus contributing to Alliance strength, cohesion and solidarity. We continue to attach great importance to the sharing of technology among the member countries of the Alliance and to the protection of militarily relevant technology.

  11. Concluding our regular Biennial Review of the NATO Common Funded Infrastructure Programme, we agreed an initial commitment to the first two years (1991 and 1992) of the next six-year Slice Group which will be sufficient to maintain the current real rate of NATO infrastructure programming. In this context we agreed to provide additional funding for the NATO Common Infrastructure Programme to accommodate the relocation of the United States' 401st Tactical Fighter Wing from Spain to Italy.

  12. Arms control is an integral part of our security policy. We reaffirmed that we will continue to explore all opportunities, consistent with our security requirements, for effectively verifiable arms control agreements. In Europe the conventional disparities, as evidenced in the facts and figures on conventional forces published by the Alliance on 25th November, remain at the core of our concerns, and this field offers the greatest potential for enhancing security. Our objective is to establish a secure and stable balance of forces at lower levels through the elimination of disparities and, as a matter of priority, the Warsaw Pact capability for launching surprise attack and initiating large-scale offensive action. We therefore look forward to the early commencement of Conventional Stability Talks covering Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals following a substantial and balanced outcome to the Vienna Follow-up Meeting of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe. Until then the MBFR negotiations will continue.

  13. We remain determined to sustain our efforts to provide the necessary nuclear and conventional forces, of sufficient quantity, quality and diversity to ensure the continued credibility of the Alliance's strategy of flexible response and forward defence.

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