Updated: 27-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


May 1989

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Manfred Wörner


Process of reform in Central and Eastern Europe - German Unification - Prospects for a just and lasting peaceful order in Europe - Rô1e of the Alliance in laying the foundations for change - Opportunities and challenges - Uncertainty and potential instabilities in a period of transition - Soviet retention of substantial nuclear and conventional capabilities - NATO's rô1e as a principal source of stability in Europe - Changes in composition of nuclear forces - Reduction of nuclear forces to lowest possible levels - CFE Treaty - Termination of Follow-on to LANCE programme and of modernisation of US nuclear artillery shells deployed in Europe - Nuclear policy - comprehensive review - US-Soviet negotiations on Strategic Arms Reductions, Defence and Space and Nuclear Testing - INF missiles in Eastern Europe - Verification and monitoring of arms control agreements - Modernisation and restructuring of Soviet nuclear forces - Soviet SNF numerical superiority - Coordinated and unified Alliance efforts to build on political changes in Europe.

  1. The NATO Nuclear Planning Group (NPG) met in Ministerial session at Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada, on the 9th and l0th of May,1990. Iceland attended as an observer.

  2. Our discussions have taken place against the background of dramatic and profound political changes in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe since Defence Ministers last met in November 1989. We warmly welcome the processes of reform which are underway and the efforts to establish democratic values and institutions in these countries. We fully endorse the process of German unification and note that a unified Germany in the Alliance will provide a cornerstone of stability in overcoming the division in Europe. These developments, coupled with the changes also taking place in the Soviet Union, bring us closer to the Alliance's long-held vision of a just and lasting peaceful order in Europe: a Europe characterized by co-operation, trust and peaceful competition. We are now presented with welcome opportunities to achieve our objective of a continent where the threat of conflict is removed and where military forces only exist to prevent war and to ensure self-defence.

  3. From the inception of NATO, Western democratic values have provided the basis for the strength and unity of an Alliance which has preserved peace in Europe and which has played a major rôle in laying the foundations for the fundamental changes now taking place. We are ready to build upon the achievements of the past 40 years, to seize the opportunities created by a new and changing Europe, to take on new challenges and to define the objectives NATO will pursue. We are optimistic about the future. At the same time, the period of transition which Europe has now entered entails uncertainty and potential instability. Even with the successful conclusion of the current arms control negotiations and the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Central and Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union will retain very substantial nuclear and conventional military capabilities. These factors must be taken into account as we address our long-term security requirements in the light of the current positive developments.

  4. In our discussions we noted that NATO is and will remain a principal source of stability in Europe. Our fundamental objective, which is to prevent war of any kind, remains valid, as do the principles governing our security as set out in the Alliance's Comprehensive Concept of Arms Control and Disarmament. For the foreseeable future, the deterrence of war will continue to require the maintenance of strategic nuclear forces and widespread Alliance participation in an appropriate mix of survivable and effective conventional and nuclear forces in Europe.

  5. We have discussed a broad range of nuclear-related issues in the light of the profound changes underway and their implications for the future nuclear planning and force posture of the Alliance. We noted that, as in the past, the size and structure of Alliance nuclear forces will evolve in response to changing inter- national circumstances and security requirements. The reduction of forces to the lowest possible level consistent with our security requirements remains a fundamental element in our goal of fostering peace and stability. In this regard, we recalled that the number of Alliance nuclear weapons in Europe has already been unilaterally reduced by more than one third during the past decade. Given the political and military changes now taking place in Central and Eastern Europe, together with the prospect of early signature and implementation of a Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, we agreed that there is a diminishing need for nuclear systems of the shortest range. Accordingly, we welcomed President Bush's decision to terminate the Follow-on To LANCE (FOTL) programme and to cancel any further modernization of United States nuclear artillery shells deployed in Europe. This demonstrates once again the ability of the Alliance to take the initiative in a rapidly changing situation.

  6. We have reviewed the work programmes which we set in hand at our last NPG Ministerial meeting. While the principal elements of NATO's nuclear policy remain valid, we will continue to adapt it and will reassess the future qualitative and quantitative requirements for NATO's sub-strategic nuclear forces. In this context, and also bearing in mind the continuing need for widespread Alliance participation, we noted that sub-strategic nuclear systems offering both flexibility and longer range will assume relatively greater importance. We therefore directed that our examination of the implications for NATO's nuclear forces of a CFE agreement be intensified, taking into account the changed politico-military environment. This comprehensive review of the rôles, missions, desired characteristics and composition of NATO's future nuclear force posture will provide guidance for the NATO Military Authorities in their further work on future nuclear requirements.

  7. We were also briefed on the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks, Defence and Space Talks and Nuclear Testing Talks between the United States and the Soviet Union. We expressed our full support for United States efforts in these negotiations. We reaffirmed that arms control remains an integral part of Alliance security policy. We welcomed the prospect of early negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union on short-range nuclear missile systems and emphasized the importance of close consultation within the Alliance on the development of objectives for these negotiations. More generally, we look forward to the successful conclusion of arms control agreements (both nuclear and conventional) which will enable us to achieve a balance of forces at much lower levels of armaments. Noting the recent disclosures of previously undetected INF-class missiles in Eastern Europe, we underlined the central importance of rigorous verification régimes for monitoring full compliance with arms control agreements.

  8. While we welcomed the changes underway in Central and Eastern Europe, we noted that modernization and restructuring of Soviet nuclear forces has continued and that the Soviet Union still has numerical superiority in short-range nuclear missile forces. With these considerations in mind, we repeated our call upon the Soviet Union to carry out substantial reductions in these systems.

  9. As we look to the future, we aim for a co-ordinated, unified Alliance effort to build on the welcome political changes taking place in Europe, and are ready to respond positively to continuing political and military developments. Our discussions have concerned primarily the implications of these developments for nuclear aspects of our security. At our Defence Planning Committee meeting in two weeks we will focus our discussions on their implications for our strategy, overall Alliance defence planning, and our conventional force posture.

  10. The Autumn 1990 NPG Ministerial meeting will be held at NATO Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium.

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