16 July 1990
common Europe-Partners in Stability
by Secretary General, Manfred Wörner
It is not only a great honour for me to be here in Moscow but also a rare
pleasure - one indeed that I hope will not be rare at all in the future.
It is my second visit to your great country, to this land that has done
so much to shape our European, and also universal culture. One thinks, on
the literary side, of Pushkin, Tolstoy and my favourite author Dostoevsky;
on the musical side of Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich; and on the
scientific side of Lomonosov and Sakharov; to name those that, for me, are
the most obvious.
to Members of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR
Your country endured immense suffering in the Second World War, a sacrifice
which has earned the Soviet people our respect and sympathy.
When I first visited your country in 1960, I was 25 years old, a student.
It was still the time of the Cold War. Europe was divided. NATO and the
Warsaw Pact confronted each other. Far too many of our resources went into
armaments, and to what purpose? Where did it lead us except into even more
sterile confrontation? It was to nobody's benefit. In short, a waste of
energy, imagination and sacrifice; money that could have been better spent
building those democratic, industrially advanced and prosperous societies
that we know are inherently peaceful, and thus our best guarantee of lasting
stability and security.
Now 30 years later I come again. This time as Secretary General of the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization. This visit in itself symbolizes the dramatic
changes of the past year. The Cold War now belongs to the past. A new Europe
is emerging, a Europe drawn together by the unfettered aspiration for freedom,
democracy and prosperity. Certainly age-old fears and suspicions cannot
be banished overnight; but they can be overcome. Never before has Europe
had such a tangible opportunity to overcome the cycle of war and peace that
has so bedevilled its history.
We in the Alliance intend to seize this opportunity. We wanted and welcome
this. And our Alliance has done its share in helping to bring it about.
Yet the Soviet leadership also deserves much of the credit for the promising
new era that opens before us. President Mikhail Gorbachev initiated the
new thinking in your country. It was he who realized the imperative need
not only to change fundamentally the structures of your society, but also
the entire pattern of East-West relations.
I have come to Moscow today with a very simple message: we extend our hand
of friendship to you. And I have come with a very direct offer: to cooperate
with you. The time of confrontation is over. The hostility and mistrust
of the past must be buried. We see your country, and all the other countries
of the Warsaw Treaty Organization, no longer as adversaries but as partners
in a common endeavour to build what you call a Common European Home, erected
on the values of democracy, human freedoms, and partnership.
There is a way that leads us beyond confrontation and towards a Europe whole
We have to draw the consequences from the changes we see. Our Alliance has
done so and will continue to do so. At the London Summit 10 days ago, we
decided to change our Alliance in the most far-reaching way since its inception
forty one years ago. We have no interest in a confrontational system. NATO's
future is as a supporting pillar of a new and peaceful order of cooperation
in Europe in which military power plays a lesser role in interna-tional
relations; less dominant, threatening noone and dedicated to the role of
reassurance against risks and the prevention of war.
- through the building of new structures, a new architecture that includes
all of us;
- through arms control negotiations to reduce weapons to the minimum,
and to increase stability and reassurance;
- through cooperation between us in all fields, political, economic,
How has NATO changed, you may well ask. Which concrete steps have we taken?
These changes will be carried out as Soviet Forces return home and the conventional
arms control agreement is implemented. Moreover this Alliance wishes not
only to eliminate tension by reducing weapons, but also by increasing confidence
and transparency. So we are pushing hard for an Open Skies agreement; we
are proposing discussions on military strategy and doctrine. Above all we
want to consult and to discuss our security with you.
- We are reducing our defence budgets and scaling back our forces;
- We are reviewing our force structures, and changing our military
- we are reducing the readiness of our active units, reducing training
requirements and the number of exercises;
- we are relying less on nuclear forces in Europe; we have proposed
to the Soviet Union the elimination from Europe of all nuclear artillery
- we have offered to negotiate on short range nuclear forces in Europe
once a CFE treaty is signed;
- and also, following agreement on CFE, we have offered immediately
to proceed to follow-on negotiations to build on that agreement, including
measures to limit manpower in Europe.
Our security must increasingly become cooperative in an age when no nation
can provide for its security alone or in isolation from its neighbours.
NATO will maintain a secure defence, as will the Soviet Union. We live in
an uncertain world with many risks and instabilities, and will continue
to do so. And that security will require us to maintain a mix of nuclear
and conventional forces in Europe, as the Soviet Union will also do. Yet
our goal is clear: to reduce military forces in Europe to a minimum. We
wish to explore with you a common concept of war prevention at minimum levels.
Our aim is a military posture that gives maximum reassurance. Our own history
in the Alliance shows that this is possible.
Our aim is a Europe in which military aggression or threat becomes materially
impossible and politically meaningless. At our NATO Summit we moved boldly
ahead to put the structures of such a secure Europe in place.
Firstly in enhancing our dialogue with you and the other members of the
Warsaw Treaty Organization. We have invited President Gorbachev to come
to Brussels to address the North Atlantic Council. We have proposed the
establishment of diplomatic contacts with NATO. We have proposed a joint
declaration on non-aggression, to be concluded between the member states
of NATO and the Warsaw Treaty Organization.
Secondly in pursuing the arms control process with vigour and determination.
A conventional arms control agreement is the key that will unlock the syndrome
of confrontation between us. It is the indispensable first step in building
a Europe whole and free; so I call on the Soviet Union to help us conclude
this treaty now. This agreement will lay the basis of cooperation and mutual
reassurance that will enable us to create an enduring peace in Europe. It
makes possible all that we foresee can be accomplished in this decade.
The conventional arms control process, coupled with talks on short range
nuclear forces and an agreement on additional Confidence Building Measures,
will give all of us in Europe, including the Soviet Union, guarantees
that change in Europe will not be prejudicial to legitimate security interests.
Soviet security will be enhanced as much as Allied security.
Thirdly, the NATO Summit in London set forth our ideas for building on
the CSCE to bring all of Europe closer together in new or expanded structures
of cooperation. To be effective, CSCE must serve first and foremost to
protect democracy and freedom throughout Europe, and tackle the problems
involved in the transition to efficient market economies. Thus NATO has
proposed a range of initiatives to strengthen the existing Helsinki principles
and establish new foms of cooperation: initiatives such as the right to
free and fair elections, commitments to uphold the rule of law, guidelines
for economic and envi-ronmental cooperation.
To enable the CSCE to perform these tasks, and to amplify and give more
structure to wider political dialogue, NATO has proposed new institutional
forms for the CSCE, most notably a programme for regular high-level consultations
among member governments; CSCE review conferences once every two years;
a small CSCE secretariat; a CSCE centre for the Prevention of Conflict;
and a Parliamentary Assembly of Europe. Our aim is to have a CSCE that
allows all the nations of Central and Eastern Europe to play a full role
in building with us the future European order.
One thing is clear: we intend to steer change in Europe so that there
are no losers, only winners. This applies also to the case of German unity.
Germany's membership in the Alliance will increase stability for all.
It is as much in the interests of the Germans as their neighbours in East
and West, including the Soviet Union. Many in your country ask if NATO
is not gaining a unilateral advantage from this outcome. We take such
questions seriously. That is why we are not only striving to understand
your security interests, but also to respect them and to offer you tangible
guarantees that German unification will not shift the balance of power
in Europe. Rather, it is really the gateway to overcoming division, and
In short, NATO sees its future role as putting in place new structures
of cooperation across Europe that will make it impossible for a situation
like the Cold War ever to return. We want to work together with you in
helping to manage the two crucial tasks in Europe today :
- to promote constructive change;
- to provide stability so that change can take place in optimal conditions,
with diminished risk of setbacks and reversals.
Nevertheless, some in your country may still ask us : what have we to
gain from this historical upheaval that is reshaping the world? The answer
is the Soviet Union gains partners that will help in its great domestic
task of reform and renewal. Partners who will cooperate to ensure that
the Soviet Union is an active and constructive part of the dynamic Europe
of advanced industrial economies and technological inter-dependence of
the 21st century. True security, like prosperity, comes from the stability,
prosperity and growth that only freedom, inter-dependence and partnership
can bring. Beyond confronta-tion, we can address the immense global challenges
of today and tomorrow : environmental degradation, drugs, terrorism, hunger,
population, the prolif-eration of immensely destructive military technologies
in the Third World. Together we can achieve a great deal.
Our generation is lucky. We have a historically unique opportunity which
may not repeat itself. An opportunity to create a new world, a world of
co-operation, where none of us feel threatened. We cannot afford to miss
the chance. The Alliance I have the honour to represent wants partners
in the building of a new Europe and a more just and equal world order.
Your country has much to offer. Indeed it is vital to this whole process
of historical change. Let us look to a common future, and work for it
with trust and imagination. And let our children be even luckier than