Updated: 27-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus

Committee and

Dec. 1990

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Manfred Wörner


Transformation of European security environment - New course for the Alliance as set out in the London Declaration - Progress towards revision of strategy and changes to conventional and nuclear force posture - Unification of Germany - Progress towards democratisation in Central and Eastern Europe - Decline of the Warsaw Pact - Unilateral Soviet reductions and withdrawals - CSCE Summit - CFE Treaty - Joint Declaration marking the end of the Cold War - Future uncertainties and risks facing the Alliance - Residual Soviet military capabilities - Future security guarantees - The Gulf crisis - Rôle of Alliance members in support of United Nations Security Council measures following Iraq's aggression against Kuwait - Consultation within the Alliance - Development of new military strategic concept for the Alliance in accordance with London Summit decisions - Coordination of national force plans - Orientations of future force posture - Reductions in readiness status of various Allied forces - New guidelines for Alliance force sustainability - New concept for reinforcement - Adjustment of NATO's Infrastructure Programme to future requirements - Progress report on adaptation of Air Command and Control System (ACCS) programme - Basing of US 401st Tactical Fighter Wing in the Southern Region - Endorsement of decision on construction of Crotone air base - Improvements in conditions of defence trade - CFE Treaty - Challenges related to destruction and verification aspects of CFE - Cooperation within NATO Verification Coordination Committee - Equipment transfers - Changes in nuclear policy and force posture - Modifications affecting nuclear deterrent forces - Development of future nuclear force posture in conjunction with new Alliance strategic concept - Consultations on framework for US-Soviet arms control negotiations on reduction of short-range nuclear forces - Progress in START negotiations - US proposals for dialogue with the Soviet Union on nuclear deterrence - Rôle of new CSCE structures - Adoption at the Paris Summit of further confidence and security-building measures - Fundamental Alliance rôle of war prevention - Intensification of political and military dialogue and contacts in Europe.

  1. The Defence Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation met in Ministerial sessions in Brussels on 6th and 7th December 1990.

  2. In the past year, the security environment in Europe has undergone a profound transformation, and the process of change continues. We have entered a new and promising era. In July, in the historic London Declaration, Alliance leaders set a new course for the Alliance to meet the opportunities and challenges we face. At our meetings we reviewed the progress being made towards the revision of our strategy and the implementation of fundamental changes to our conventional and nuclear force posture.

  3. Since July we have seen further momentous developments towards our goal of a Europe whole and free. The historic achievement of the unification of Germany, fully embedded in the Alliance, the continuing process of democratisation in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the changes in the Warsaw Pact including its decline as a coherent military organisation and the unilateral reductions and continuing withdrawals of Soviet forces have all enhanced European security and stability. A crucial step forward was taken at the Paris CSCE Summit meeting with the signature of the CFE Treaty which, when fully implemented, will eliminate the most destabilising asymmetries in major conventional weapons systems. The Joint Declaration issued at that meeting underlining that the member states of the two Alliances no longer see each other as adversaries marks the end of the Cold War.

  4. As the threats of the past recede, peace and freedom are values which still need to be constantly safeguarded. In an uncertain world there is a continuing need for the collective security arrangement provided by the Alliance based upon the transatlantic partnership. The risks that Allies now face in Europe arise principally not from the likelihood of deliberate aggression against Allied territory, but rather as unforeseeable consequences of instabilities that might emerge in a period of rapid and widespread political, social and economic transformation. Even in a non- adversarial relationship prudence requires NATO to counterbalance residual Soviet military capabilities, and risks to Alliance security can also arise from instability in East and Central Europe and from elsewhere. We are determined to maintain sufficient military strength to guarantee our common security.

  5. The Gulf crisis has demonstrated once again the continuing risks of aggression. Iraq's aggression against Kuwait presents a fundamental challenge to the vision of a peaceful world order, and has reinforced the need for all countries committed to peace and international law to stand together. In support of the United Nations Security Council resolutions, Alliance members have participated, individually or through other organisations, in the international effort by diplomatic initiatives, deploying forces, funding economic and humanitarian assistance, allowing overflight and landing rights and providing logistic support. These contributions have enabled a more rapid and formidable international response to the crisis than any single nation could have achieved through its own resources. Consultation within the Alliance has also made a positive contribution. We shall maintain international solidarity in dealing with this crisis.

  6. We continue to hope that this crisis will be resolved by peaceful means. Resolution 678 of the United Nations Security Council, which authorizes the use of all necessary means to implement all relevant Security Council resolutions and to restore international peace and security in the area, offers Iraq one final opportunity as a pause of good will to comply fully with its international obligations. That same resolution requests all members of the United Nations to provide appropriate support for the actions undertaken in its pursuance. Individual Alliance members, together with the many countries who have united against Iraq's unprovoked aggression, will continue to implement fully the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

  7. In this time of transition we are looking forward and concentrating on the requirements of the future. As directed by the London Summit, we are developing a new military strategic concept for the Alliance. An important aim will be to provide NATO's Military Authorities with policy guidance upon which to develop a new force posture and operational concepts. We shall also take into account the inter-relationship between defence capabilities, arms control and the emerging co-operative security structures. Work on the strategy review is proceeding well and we expect to be in a position to approve the new strategic concept next Spring.

  8. In our DPC meeting we continued our consultations on the changes which many member countries are contemplating making in the forces they contribute to the common defence. We attach particular importance to the close co-ordination of national force plans, so that we maintain a coherent Alliance force posture, in line with the emerging new strategy. Our aim is to ensure enhanced stability and security throughout the current period of transition and also in the new co-operative European security environment. Our future force posture will be based on smaller, more mobile and flexible active forces, able to respond to aggression from any quarter. A considerable portion of our forces will be held at lower levels of readiness and availability but able to be built up and reinforced if the need arises. We will increasingly rely on multinational formations, which will enhance co-operation between Allies and underline the collective nature of our defence arrangements. A continued significant presence in Europe of forces from the North American democracies is indispensable.

  9. We reviewed a number of steps that are being taken to adapt our forces to the new circumstances. In particular we welcomed the fact that these circumstances have permitted further reductions in the readiness status of various Allied forces; work continues in this area. We have agreed that further work now needs to be undertaken in two important areas to reflect both the CFE Treaty and the emerging new strategy and new force structures: the establishment of new guidelines for Alliance force sustainability and the development of a new concept for reinforcement. NATO's Infrastructure Programme is being redirected to adjust it to the Alliance's future requirements. We received a progress report on the work in hand to adapt the scope of the Air Command and Control System (ACCS) programme to reflect the changed security environment. We reaffirmed the continuing importance to the Alliance of basing the United States' 401st Tactical Fighter Wing in the Southern Region, and continue fully to endorse our previous decision to construct, with common Infrastructure funding, a new airbase at Crotone for its future deployment. We also noted that a group of nations is undertaking an initial investigation of the feasibility of improving the conditions of defence trade between NATO Allies.

  10. We look forward to ratification and full implementation of the CFE Treaty by all parties and to the continuation of the CFE negotiations. As defence ministers we carry special responsibility for the implementation of the Treaty. It will be one of our major tasks in the coming years. We noted with approval the agreement reached within the Alliance on the maximum levels of national equipment holdings under the CFE Treaty. In the near future the need to destroy considerable numbers of weapons and the unprecedentedly detailed and intrusive verification provisions of the Treaty will pose new challenges. Although these are essentially national obligations, they will nevertheless require continuing close co-operation within the Alliance, for example in the newly created NATO Verification Co-ordinating Committee.

  11. A further opportunity for co-operation will be the transfer of excess modern equipment from some Allies to replace older equipment in other Allied forces. This will also help meet the long-standing Alliance objective of assisting Greece, Portugal and Turkey to modernise their forces. In the case of CFE-related equipment transfer and destruction we have agreed in principle that certain associated costs could be met from within existing Alliance common funds.

  12. In our Nuclear Planning Group meeting we reviewed progress on the development of our nuclear policy and force posture which will change substantially in the light of the commitment made at the London Summit to modify the size and adapt the tasks of our nuclear deterrent forces in a transformed European security environment.

  13. We reaffirmed that to keep the peace, the Alliance must maintain for the foreseeable future an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional forces, based in Europe, and kept up to date where necessary. Our nuclear policy will continue to be based on fundamental principles which remain valid: nuclear weapons, strategic and sub-strategic, play a key role in the prevention of war and the maintenance of stability; European-based nuclear forces provide the necessary linkage to NATO's strategic forces; and widespread participation in nuclear roles and policy formulation demonstrates Alliance cohesion and the sharing of responsibilities, and makes an important contribution to our nuclear posture.

  14. While these basic principles will endure, the new political and military situation has allowed us to begin developing substantial changes in the Alliance nuclear force levels and structures to reflect the reduced reliance on nuclear weapons foreseen in the London Declaration. We welcomed the work in progress to this end which will lead to further dramatic reductions in the number of NATO's nuclear weapons retained in Europe. The remaining nuclear forces, for which we seek the lowest and most stable level commensurate with our security requirements, must be sufficiently flexible, effective, survivable and broadly based if they are to make a credible contribution to NATO's overall strategy for the prevention of war. We will develop our future nuclear force posture in conjunction with the new Alliance strategic concept reflecting the principles and new directions for nuclear forces set out in the London Declaration.

  15. There is a clear inter-relationship between the efforts to develop a future policy and posture for our nuclear forces and the consultations underway within NATO to develop an arms control framework for negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union on the reduction of short-range nuclear forces. We accordingly reaffirmed our commitment to continued close co-ordination within the Alliance on this work.

  16. We welcomed the progress in the START negotiations, expressed our support for the United States efforts and looked forward to the successful conclusion of a treaty. We discussed developments in Soviet nuclear forces including their continued modernization and the differing views within the Soviet Union on the role of nuclear weapons. We agreed that a dialogue with the Soviet Union on nuclear deterrence, as recently proposed by the United States, could result in a common understanding of strategic concepts and thereby enhance reassurance and stability.

  17. The Alliance is in a period of promising opportunities to promote further stability and freedom in Europe. The new CSCE structures will complement the Alliance's efforts to pursue a broader and more co-operative approach to European security. Furthermore the Paris Summit saw important progress in a number of areas, including a new package of Confidence and Security Building Measures. At the same time the need for the effective and reliable collective defence arrangements provided by the Alliance will remain. The security of all Alliance members will continue to be indivisible. Based on a new strategic concept we will further adapt our force levels, force structures and operational concepts to meet the new circumstances in Europe. Our fundamental objective remains the prevention of war. We will therefore maintain an effective and credible deterrence and defence. We will also, at both a political and military level, intensify the process of the constructive dialogue and contacts in Europe that the new security environment has made possible. We will play a full and active role in the pursuit of greater co-operation and security in a world in which our common values are ever more widely shared.

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