17 OCTOBER 1994

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,

Three weeks ago in New York I had the pleasure to be
nominated by the North Atlantic Council to become
Secretary General of NATO.  I was deeply moved by the
faith and confidence that my fellow Foreign Ministers
placed in me on that occasion.  To be chosen to lead this
great Alliance which has done so much to promote peace and
freedom in Europe is indeed a rare honour for any
So today, as I take up my new tasks here at NATO
Headquarters, I am aware of the great responsibility that
is now mine and I am determined to be worthy of this

I am mindful too of the great debt that both I personally
and this Alliance owe to my predecessor, Manfred W”rner. 
For he has set the example of courage, vision and skilful
leadership that we must follow.  His influence and
statesmanship were decisive in steering NATO through its
first, difficult stage of transformation.  For this I am
grateful to Manfred W”rner.  His place in our common
history is secure.

The Alliance has undergone during these latter years the
changes and radical adaptation to the new security
situation in Europe, but NATO transformation is still
not complete.  This effort must continue so that we can
exploit fully the unique strengths and resources of this
Alliance to extend the security and stability we the
Allies have enjoyed to all the other countries of Europe. 
In particular I see four major tasks for the months ahead.

First, and foremost, we must work with our new partners to
the East to develop a cooperative approach to security and
indeed a widening of our unique security community.  This
is a historical duty, and I consider its realisation the
number one goal of my tenure as NATO Secretary General.  
We cannot accept unequal zones of security nor the
isolation of any country.  So the efforts the Alliance has
undertaken, through the NACC and the PFP, to associate our
partners with the work of NATO, and thereby spread
security, must be pursued with vigour.  In particular, we
must build on the early success of the PFP and sustain its
momentum.  We will keep our promise to our partners to
help them transform their military establishments and
bring them under democratic control.  In due course,
the Alliance will enlarge, as stated in the Brussels
Summit Declaration.  But we must ensure that when this
happens, it will not lead to new divisions, nor prevent
us from extending our cooperation with all our other

The second task will be to build a relationship of
dialogue and common endeavour with Russia.  We recognize
Russia's weight and international role.  It is an
indispensable partner if the Alliance is to fulfil its
vision of a lasting and secure order of peace in Europe. 
So we will establish a dialogue with Russia in areas of
common interest, both inside and outside PFP, in order to
achieve this partnership. 

In third place, we will need to further develop our
political and military instruments so as to be able to
contribute to crisis management and peace-keeping
As this will likely be under the authority of the CSCE or
UN, it will be necessary to increase our links and
practical interaction with these institutions.  Only a
system of sovereign but interlocking institutions, in
which each institution contributes its particular
resources and expertise, can guarantee stability in
Europe.  NATO has already demonstrated in the former
Yugoslavia how its proven military capabilities can
support the UN.  We will continue to do this in ways which
preserve NATO's credibility and autonomy.  Cooperation
between NATO and the UN has developed rapidly over the
last two years.  I personally intend to carry it further
and make it as effective as possible. 

Finally, the European security and defence identity must
be realized in full and the WEU confirmed in its r“le as
European pillar of NATO.  In this respect, the development
of the concept of Combined Joint Task Forces is of
particular importance.  But let me insist on one point: a
European security and defence identity can never be a
substitute for a strong transatlantic link embedded in a
strong Alliance.  It will reinforce that link, not weaken
it.  The community of values and action between North
America and Europe remains as vital for meeting the
challenges of tomorrow as for those of yesterday.

So you can imagine, I have exchanged one demanding job for
perhaps an even more demanding one.  After being a
Minister in Belgian governments for some 22 years, I now
face the unique challenge of leading an international

As daunting as the future is, I am confident.  This
Atlantic Alliance is one of history's greatest success
stories.  It takes its strength not only or even primarily
from its military capabilities but from the democratic
values and habit of cooperation that bind its members
together.  This solidarity has stood the test of time and
has allowed NATO to adapt while preserving its traditional
and still primary r“le as the guarantor of its members'
security.  Because of this Alliance we were able to
overcome the crises and the confrontations of the Cold
With this Alliance we can now help to build for the wider
Europe that secure and prosperous future that it has
hardly ever enjoyed before in its history.  I will do my
utmost to contribute to this new chapter in NATO's
evolution, and to take up the torch of my distinguished
predecessors in this great office.  I shall now begin. 
Thank you for coming here today and my best wishes to you