a new Europe
by Secretary General, Manfred Wörner at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of the Czech and Slovak Republic Prague
A year ago it would have seemed unimaginable that a Secretary General of
NATO visit Czechoslovakia as the official guest of your government. Yet
today a new Europe has emerged which makes the once impossible now seem
wholly natural; a Europe drawn together by the unfettered aspiration for
freedom, democracy and economic prosperity.
Your proud nation, always loyal to the traditions of Thomas Masaryk and
Eduard Benes, has played its part in bringing about this historic change.
In 1968 the Prague Spring proved that the love of your countrymen for freedom
could not be extinguished, despite the dark years that followed. Charter
77 and other courageous groups stuck doggedly to the principles of the CSCE
Final Act and its humanitarian provisions, thus creating, even at the worst
periods of repression by the state, an area of freedom about them.
Today Czechoslovakia is engaged in a bold process of democratic and economic
renewal. This will not be easy, as we all know, but your country has a long
democratic heritage and a tradition of industrial enterprise which bodes
well for your ultimate success. For your nation in its history and culture
is quintessentially a Western one. With energy and vision, your new leaders
are proving that Czechoslovakia intends also to play a key role in building
the new European order. Their proposals for a new European security architecture
and their staunch defence of human rights and freedoms are an inspiration
to us all.
It is, of course, not only in the relations between government and people
that the Cold War is over. Also in the relations between nations we see
a new spirit of cooperation - a common desire not to be held back by the
fears and suspicions that have bedevilled all previous attempts to create
a European family of nations. Indeed I would say that never has Europe had
such a palpable opportunity to break out of the infernal cycle of peace
and war and create a durable order of peace and prosperity. It is the privilege
of our generation to have this historically unique opportunity to make a
We in the Alliance are determined to seize this opportunity. Certainly,
and even with all the changes we see, age-old fears and suspicions, stereotyped
images and popular misconceptions, will not be banished overnight. But they
can be overcome, as President Havel has so eloquently stated. The active
participation of Czechoslovakia in the Pentagonal Initiative, and its role
in bringing the newly born democracies of Central Europe together, show
also how quickly bridges can be built over old divisions. We now have a
chance to spend our energy, imagination and money on building those democratic,
free-market societies that we know are inherently peaceful, and thus our
best guarantee of lasting stability, security and prosperity.
I have come to Prague today with the same, very simple message that I took
to Moscow in July and which I will take to Warsaw next week; for it is a
message that is addressed with equal conviction to all our former adversaries
who are now our friends and partners. We extend the hand of friendship to
you. We wish to cooperate with you. The time of confrontation is over. The
hostility and mistrust of the past must be buried. We need to work together.
Only in this way can we build the Common European Home or the European Confederation
or the new European Order, call it what you will. We all know what we mean
: a Europe of democracy, human rights and partnership in which the whole
sustains the parts and the parts sustain the whole. We must go forward together;
or we will be condemned to go backwards separately.
There is a way that leads us beyond confrontation and towards a Europe whole
We need to look afresh at our objectives and tasks. This our Atlantic Alliance
has done, and will continue to do. At the London Summit in early July 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. For
NATO has a new, even more valuable role to play as a supporting pillar of
- through the building of new structures of cooperation, a new European
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,
a new and peaceful order of cooperation in Europe. In such an order military
power will play a lesser role; less dominant, threatening no-one and dedicated
to the role of reassurance against risks and the prevention of war.
How has NATO changed, you may well ask. Which concrete steps have we taken?
These changes will be carried out as Soviet forces leave the territories
of Czechoslovakia and Hungary, as they have already agreed to do so, and
also the territory of the present - day GDR in the transition period following
German unification. They will also be conditional on the implementation
of a CFE treaty which will give all participating states firm guarantees
against military aggression or intimidation. Moreover the Atlantic Alliance
wishes not only to eliminate tension by reducing weapons, but also by increasing
confidence and transparency. Thus we are pushing hard for an Open Skies
agreement; we are proposing discussions on military strategy and doctrine.
Above all we want security to be something that we discuss and decide upon
- We are reducing our defence budgets and scaling back our forces;
- we are reviewing our force structures, and changing our military strategy;
- 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. We have already convened a meeting of our
Alliance's Special Consultative Group to draw up a mandate for these
- 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.
No nation these days can provide for its security alone or in isolation
from its neighbours. Nations seeking total security by their own efforts
only create insecurity around them. So we must never re-nationalize European
security. On the contrary real security can be achieved only through cooperation
This does not, of course, mean that NATO or any European nation has to be
defenceless. We live in an uncertain world with many risks and instabilities.
Indeed the present Gulf crisis has brought this home to us with a vengeance.
This crisis is not like previous regional disputes in which the interests
of only a few nations were directly at stake; nor is it only, or even primarily,
about oil. If our principal common objective - which must be the complete
Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait and the release of all hostages - is not fulfilled,
the entire international community will be exposed to grave danger. Danger
from the precedent of a large, powerful country cynically taking over a
smaller neighbour; danger even more ominously from the ambitions that successful
aggression will undoubtedly engender in dictatorships that increasingly
have access to technologies of mass destruction.
Thus it is of crucial importance not only for Kuwait, and peace in the Middle
East, but for our common effort to create a more durable and just international
order after the Cold War that the United Nations sanctions against Iraq
should work. We in the Alliance are determined to maintain our solidarity,
and we will do our utmost to build further on the new-found effectiveness
of the United Nations as the guarantor of international law and stability.
I salute the robust stance that Czechoslovakia has taken on this issue and
trust that we can continue to work together until we can prove to Iraq -
and all potential belligerants - that naked aggression cannot succeed.
Our Alliance must maintain a secure defence and we expect no less of other
nations. NATO will maintain a mix of conventional and nuclear forces in
Europe as the ultimate guarantee of peace. Yet our goal is clear : to reduce
military forces in Europe to a minimum so that no nation needs to threaten
others to feel secure itself. A military posture that gives maximum reassurance
is possible. Our Alliance's experience with its integrated defence structure
proves this; for could any of you seriously imagine 16 sovereign and democratic
states deciding to launch or support an attack?
Our aim is a Europe in which military aggression or threat becomes materially
impossible and politically meaningless. At our NATO Summit we moved resolutely
ahead to put the structures of such a secure Europe in place.
Firstly in creating a new dialogue with your country and all the other members
of the Warsaw Treaty Organisation. We have invited President Gorbachev to
come to Brussels to address the North Atlantic Council - an invitation that
I was able to deliver in person in Moscow last July and which he readily
accepted. After the recent visit of Minister Dienstbier, we also look forward
to a visit by President Havel.
We have proposed the establishment of diplomatic contacts with NATO, to
which Czechoslovakia has favourably responded. We look also to a multi-plication
of military as well as diplomatic contacts and exchanges. We have proposed
to negotiate a joint declaration on non-aggression between the member states
of NATO and of the Warsaw Treaty Organisation.
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 among the old adversaries of the two alliances.
Thus it is the indispensable first step in building a Europe whole and free;
which is why I am counting on the Czechoslovak government to do all it can
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 is the secure foundation on which the new European order
must be built if it is to last.
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 guarantees that change and renewal will not
be prejudicial to anyone's legitimate security interests. This is particularly
important in the case of your neighbour, the Soviet Union. Understandably
that country fears exclusion from the new Europe and is experiencing the
impact of change most acutely. So it is essential that we use the arms control
process to convince the Soviet Union that it has nothing to fear, but indeed
everything to gain from helping a process of change - that it has done so
much to initiate - to continue to its natural destination - a Europe whole
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. Czechoslovakia, of course, also attaches key importance
to an enhanced role for the CSCE as the genesis of a future European order.
Your government in this respect has made a number of important and interesting
proposals. In the weeks leading up to the CSCE Summit, we will strive to
bring these ideas together into a coherent concept.
To be effective, however, 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 forms of cooperation: initiatives such as the right to free
and fair elections, commitments to uphold the rule of law, guidelines for
economic and en-vironmental cooperation. In applying to become a member
of the Council of Europe, Czechoslovakia has demonstrated that it attaches
the same importance to these values as we do in our Alliance.
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 consul-tations
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.
Will you, however, permit me to sound on the subject of CSCE just one note
of caution? I know that there are many in the nations of Central and Eastern
Europe, as in our Alliance nations, who see CSCE as a replacement for the
existing security organisations. I will not comment on the Warsaw Treaty
Organisation for its continuation is clearly dependent on the free choice
of its members. Yet NATO will remain an essential supporting pillar of a
The CSCE can certainly enhance security. But it cannot substitute for the
Atlantic Alliance. It does not have the means to take sanctions or ensure
their implementation. The interests of each of its members, their social
structures and value systems, at least for the foreseeable future, are too
diverse to enable them to act collectively to preserve security in the event
of crisis. This does not in any way diminish the importance of CSCE as a
framework for creating confidence and promoting cooperation. It can, for
instance, contribute to the peaceful resolution of disputes between states
arising from problems with national minorities. We indeed see already how
much instability they can cause in Central and Eastern Europe. In this respect
the introduction into law of those commitments on human rights contained
in the Helsinki Final Act can be a useful step forward. At the same time,
we can and will develop confidence building measures and information exchanges
that will enable us to live more harmoniously together. Yet, in the final
analysis, CSCE will live up to its promise only if it is complementary to
a strong Atlantic Alliance on which it can rely. Consequently, it will be
all the more successful to the extent that we do not burden it with unrealistic
expectations from the outset.
The existence of a strong and coherent new Atlantic Alliance is in the interest
of Czechoslovakia as much as of any other European nation. It provides stablility
for change and maintains the transatlantic link with the United States of
America and Canada. This is indispensable for peace, and the freedom and
security of the whole of Europe.
Yet even such a well-established and resilient institution as NATO cannot
shoulder alone the burden of ensuring cooperation, prosperity and peaceful
progress across Europe. Fortunately for this purpose we also have the European
Community. It is the other essential component in our Western institutional
framework and it too is undergoing a process of change and renewal in its
striving to achieve an ever closer union of its members. While NATO provides
the stability and the transatlantic link, the European Community provides
dynamism, creativity and the basis of an ever more fruitful economic inter-dependence.
Together with an expanded role for the CSCE, both a strong NATO and a strong
European Community are the prerequisites for a Europe of progress and prosperity.
None can succeed without the others.
At a time when the entire international system is being transformed, no
government or alliance can fully control the powerful forces that make change
inevitable. But by working together we can steer that change and produce
an outcome in which there are no losers, only winners. I am vastly more
hopeful in this respect now that agreement has been reached on membership
of a united Germany in our Alliance. This will increase stability for all.
It is the gateway to overcoming division, and to establishing a partnership
between Western Europe and the newly democratising nations which will be
a key factor in their economic and social modernization.
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 :'
Here in Prague I hardly need to emphasize the benefits that cooperation
between us will bring. The 21st century will bring new challenges, some
of which could threaten our survival even more than nearly half a century
of Cold War. Environmental degradation is one which your government is particularly
concerned about; terrorism another which has been the subject of some fruitful
discussions between Czechoslovakia and Alliance member nations in recent
weeks. You too are aware as we are of the destabilizing potential of such
things as drugs, hunger, population growth and the proliferation of immensely
destructive military technologies in the Third World. Thus a dynamic Europe
of advanced industrial economies and technological inter-dependence is not
only essential for our material prosperity, but also for our security and
stability at home and abroad. Without such cohesion Europe could well be
the victim of these global challenges; together we can help to solve them.
- to promote constructive change;
- to provide stability so that change can take place in optimal conditions,
with diminished risk of setbacks and reversals.
My visit to this great European city of Prague today symbolizes a new era;
but it is also a concrete invitation : to work together using our combined
resources and ingenuity to create a new world, a world of cooperation where
none of us feel threatened. We cannot escape the responsibility that this
unique opportunity brings. Czechoslovakia which has contributed so much
to our European political and intellectual culture, is a key partner in
the building of a new Europe and a more just and equal world order. Let
us therefore make today the start of that new relationship and work for
that brighter future with trust and imagination.