Royal Institute
of International
Chatham House

4 Mar 1997


by the Secretary General

I was interested to see a piece in the Economist a few weeks ago about the differences between Chatham House Man and Davos Man . I was at Davos a few weeks ago along with the distinguished director of this Institute. I am now at Chatham House. I am not sure where that puts me on the evolutionary ladder, but I can assure you that I still feel myself to be part of the same species as everyone here present and I am very glad and honoured to be with you today.

The debate was whether Chatham House Man, held to epitomize the world of traditional diplomacy, was being superseded by Davos Man, representing the world of business. It is now the businessmen of the world, not the diplomats, according to the Economist, who are making the world safer. This point of view is over-simplistic - it is not that one or the other is responsible but the two build on each others achievements in a virtuous circle: economic prosperity is a function of greater international security, and vice versa.

Today I want to talk to you about NATO's agenda to the Summit and beyond. The Yalta conference set the pattern of European and global history for fifty years. The Yalta security order was based on the unnatural division of Europe. Its end, in 1989, was a wonderful moment. But the period of transition that followed brought with it new risks of uncertainty, instability and flux. A new security order has yet to be created. The elements are all there - a transforming NATO, an integrating European Union and a more effective OSCE. But we need now to seize the moment.

I sense that, in 1997, we are again at a defining point in history. Decisions taken now will reverberate well into the next century. We have the unique chance to define the framework for European security. A few months ago, in Lisbon, the OSCE took the crucial decision to construct a model for European security for the twenty-first century. In four months time, the NATO Summit will effectively lay the cornerstone for that new security model.

So, at the July Summit, you can expect a series of decisions, all with far-reaching implications for European security as a whole. In terms of NATO s organisation, our Summit will not mark the beginning of a new NATO. But it will bring together all of the structural and organisational initiatives that have transformed the North Atlantic Alliance in recent years.

The extent to which NATO has already changed is often underestimated.

The collective defence of Alliance territory remains at the heart of NATO, but the Alliance is no longer organised solely and exclusively for that purpose. We also have to be able to cope with regional crises and conflicts, and we have made great headway in reducing and restructuring our forces to this end. But there is more to do. At present, we are implementing the Combined Joint Task Forces concept which will greatly improve our force projection capability. And we are working on the development of a visible, concrete European defence component.

The Summit will complete this internal transformation by deciding the form and the details of a new and smaller command structure, streamlined for crisis management and intervention. There will be far fewer military Headquarters. The new structure will make it easier for NATO to interact with its Partners. Also, the European Security and Defence Identity will be developed within the structure, with Spain and, I hope, France being fully involved.

The result will be a much more versatile NATO. We will be able to respond to crises faster and with a range of options. As in Bosnia, we would have the capacity to form a grand coalition for peace with Partners who have exercised with us under the auspices of Partnership for Peace. Or, if circumstances require, we will have standing arrangements to lend our assets to the Western European Union for a European-led action.

Completing NATO's internal adaptation is therefore of major significance. It is the pre-requisite for the new NATO and for its new, wider role in European security.

Many observers, however, portray the Summit as a one-decision meeting. For them, it will be about choosing new members only. This is a distorted perspective. NATO's enlargement is not an end in itself, it is one part of a wider package that is designed to develop closer relationships with all countries in the Euro-Atlantic area. The whole package is about uniting the whole of the Euro-Atlantic community around a common security culture. It is about consigning concepts like dividing lines , buffer zones and spheres of influence where they belong: in the dustbin of history.

There are four key component parts of this package: an enhanced Partnership for Peace and the establishment of an Atlantic Partnership Council; the accession of new members to NATO; a distinctive arrangement with Ukraine; and a strategic relationship with Russia.

Let me take each of the elements in turn.

Partnership for Peace demonstrates NATO's commitment to Europe's wider security. When launched in 1994, PfP was criticised for being a security placebo. One commentator here in the UK referred to it as a military kabuki play - strong on form, weak in content.

The reality has been very different. We now have 27 Partners involved in dialogue and military co-operation with NATO. Countries from a wide variety of security traditions have joined, encompassing almost every country in Europe, including Russia, and reaching out as far east as Central Asia. Neutrality is no bar to membership, nor to active engagement with the Alliance - Austria, Moldova and Turkmenistan, all countries where neutrality is enshrined in the constitution, have been members of PfP for years. And the most recent member, who joined last December, is Switzerland.

Partnership for Peace has succeeded because it responds to a strong need of the Europe of the 1990s. It allows countries to participate directly in shaping the new patterns of a cooperative security order. But it does not tie anyone down to commitments they do not want to assume. Its openness and flexibility are keys to its success.

At Madrid in July, we will launch an enhanced form of PfP. This will dramatically expand the scope for participation. Military exercises will cover the whole spectrum of possible crisis interventions. Partners will be involved in planning and preparing for contingency operations, building on the success of our common experience in Bosnia.

There will also be possibilities for closer political dialogue and consultations. We already have the North Atlantic Co-operation Council which, in the five years of its existence has been a great success, extending to our Partners the habit of consultation and co-operation that we have long taken for granted as Allies. But we want to go further. The next stage of PfP will be developed within the framework of an Atlantic Partnership Council. This will provide a single political framework for all our co-operation activities. It will provide the necessary forum where Allies and Partners can meet and determine our future co-operation together.

I visited Moldova and the Caucasian countries last month. There, PfP has led directly to proposals for a peacekeeping battalion. All four countries I visited were enthusiastic about the opportunities offered by PfP and are eager to involve themselves further, taking advantage of NATO expertise in everything from the democratic control of the military to co-operation in science, environment and civil emergency planning. Next week I will be visiting Central Asian Republics, where I shall discuss the progress and potential of their co-operation programmes with NATO.

PfP is more, much more, than just organising workshops and seminars. The value of PfP can be seen in the field in Bosnia. The practical co- operation in SFOR expresses better than any number of communiqués or speeches what NATO is actually achieving through its co-operation initiatives. The 16 Allies and 17 Partners, including Russia, are working together every day under the same rules of engagement and command structures, in the cause of peace. The effect is cumulative. There is a growing and widespread interest in moving closer to NATO. The Summit will greatly expand the possibilities for doing so.

The accession of new members to the Alliance is another major element of the Summit package. In July, we will invite one or more countries to start accession negotiations. Our aim is that new members will join by 1999 - NATO's 50th anniversary year. The decision to enlarge NATO was made three years ago, at the Summit in 1994. In Alliance circles it has long been considered and debated. The process has been gradual, open and transparent.

But only recently has a public debate seriously got underway. I need only to read the British newspapers to see that the debate in this country is as healthy and vigorous as anywhere. NATO's agenda for change must be discussed and understood: it is one of the most portentous developments since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. But it seems all too easy for critics of NATO's policy to forget that enlargement is part of a broader strategy. I see a great tendency to highlight the difficulties and speculate about the consequences of enlarging NATO - but far less attention to the far greater implications of not doing so. NATO's enlargement should not be considered outside the context of an evolving security architecture. If we are truly to create a Europe without dividing lines, then successful established institutions like NATO and the EU must offer a real prospect of membership to those who are legitimately asking to join.

Opening up NATO will help solve one of the perennial sources of instability on this continent. Historically, when the security status of Central and Eastern Europe has been left unclear, the resulting uncertainty has exerted a strong and dangerously destabilising influence on the whole of Europe.

As Sir Bryan Cartledge pointed out in The Times last week, in Central and Eastern Europe historical memories of partition and abandonment figure prominently in contemporary thinking. It is difficult to see how this region can develop in hope and confidence without being anchored to the stable, established democratic organisations of the West. To keep NATO as a closed shop, would be to keep those countries imprisoned in their past. It would be to rob them of one of the best means of moving forward and sharing in the future peace and prosperity we in the West are aiming for. Do we want to deal with the consequences of leaving these Partners outside?

Therefore, the opening up of NATO is both a moral and hard-headed obligation we have towards the new applicants. They want to belong to our unique community, because they share our values, because giving them a sense of belonging is good for them and for the wider Europe, and because there is no law of nature that would confine our Atlantic community forever to the 16 current Allies.

We want them in because it will add to the stability of our continent. Not to enlarge is the do-nothing, achieve nothing option. It is the option the Alliance long ago rejected.

NATO's commitment to accept new members is already having a positive effect. With the incentive of joining the West, many have entrenched democratic reforms at home and settled longstanding bilateral disputes abroad. Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, the Baltic States and others have concluded or are about to conclude agreements settling long unresolved differences. Such progress has been made because the Alliance, at the right time, has given the signal that it is no longer a closed club. We must not draw a line across Europe, dividing it into winners and losers. In the new security architecture, there will only be winners. We have made it clear that our door is and will remain open. As a credible organisation, we have been taken at our word. And the credibility of NATO, both politically and militarily, is the engine of the Partnership for Peace.

The cost of NATO's enlargement has recently been in the press. Everyone accepts that at a time of reducing and stringent defence budgets for all NATO Allies, the additional costs have to be seriously considered. But some of the figures that have been quoted by private think tanks are grossly exaggerated, and are based on arbitrary and unrealistic assumptions. Any assessment of cost depends on the assumptions the analysts wish to make. It has to be seen in perspective.

My view is that membership is more about commitment than cost. The recent Report to the US Congress confirms the point. Applicants will pay their fair share of common costs, but it will not be an excessive share. New members, like NATO's present members, will have the time and the freedom to meet the requirements in a way that they can absorb. NATO will provide a solid, reliable framework for the long term security of the new members - and that means a cheaper, more cost-effective defence than they would otherwise have.

Opening NATO to new members is a good bargain, a sound investment. It will maintain the momentum of transformation and remove the final traces of past divisions. It will demonstrate that those countries which at Yalta had their destinies chosen for them, will, in the next century, be shaping their own destinies as free and independent states.

The emergence of new democratic states is a feature of the new security order. Their ability to survive and flourish as independent states is a key test for all of the institutions and individual nations alike.

In this sense, Ukraine occupies a crucial place in Europe. An independent, stable and democratic Ukraine is of strategic importance for the development of Europe as a whole. We are developing a distinct and effective relationship between NATO and Ukraine, to strengthen Ukraine's participation in securing the stability of Europe. We are working with the Ukrainian authorities to formalise this new security relationship by the time of the Madrid Summit. In the meantime, with the active support of the Ukrainian government, NATO is about to establish an information office in Kyev. It is practical initiatives like this, spreading the message about the new NATO, that turn rhetoric into reality.

Finally, there is Russia. One persistent argument used against NATO enlargement is its possible negative effect on that country. It is an objection based on a very narrow view of security in Europe and a reluctance to abandon the concept of spheres of influence . It assumes that the underlying relationship with Russia will always be problematic. A number of commentators appear to believe that somehow we have to choose between NATO enlargement and Russia. The underlying idea seems to be that we can't have both: new members and a new relationship with Russia. This is nonsense.

Those who believe that NATO has to choose between enlargement and Russia are approaching Europe with a mentality that is wholly inappropriate for today s strategic environment. Russia still has considerable problems in understanding the new NATO and its opening to new members.

But it is not inevitable that Russia will retreat into hostile isolation. Russia is a great power with great power interests. Many of these interests will suggest close co-operation with NATO. Russia is a member of the OSCE and already has close links with the EU, the Council of Europe and the G7. It wants and deserves its full place in Europe. That is why I believe that Russia will ultimately come to the conclusion that a privileged relationship with an enlarged NATO is far preferable to any other alternative.

NATO and Russia are now engaged in a discussion which will continue through the months ahead. Both sides are genuinely committed to a successful outcome. One of our goals is to create a permanent mechanism of consultation, and possibly, joint action.

I would like to see Russia permanently represented at NATO, ready to make their points and also to see with their own eyes what NATO is really about. We have given assurances on nuclear weapons. We are already approaching the adaptation of the CFE Treaty in a constructive way. And we have a partnership with Russia in the Bosnian operation which clearly corresponds to our common interests.

I have been talking to the Russians in some detail over the past few months. We have exchanged ideas. We are about to begin work on the text of an agreement. The atmosphere is constructive. I do not want to minimise the difficulties, but I believe they are interested in a partnership with NATO and that we will conclude one. The form is not so important. It is the content which counts. There is movement and momentum in this discussion.

What we are willing to conclude with Russia is of far-reaching strategic importance for the whole of Europe. There is no question of buying Russia off or compensating them for enlargement. Like the enlargement process itself, the development of our relationship with Russia is part of a wider transformation of NATO that will be good for Russia, good for NATO, and good for the whole of Europe.

So let me conclude. We have to recognise how far the map of European security has changed in a very few years. We cannot stand by and wait for the dust to settle - we must take charge of the process. There is no do nothing option - there are only do options. And the option we have chosen is that of a strong and united NATO, working in a close and productive partnership with Russia. A strong NATO as the driving force behind an Atlantic Partnership Council binding together the security and democratic structures of all Partner states from the Atlantic to Eastern Europe and beyond.

That is my vision. That is the vision that the 16 governments of the Alliance are seeking to make reality. We shall take a major step forward at Madrid. And the momentum of change, the momentum of progress, will continue.

Europe today faces an opportunity which comes around only once in a generation. We must grasp that opportunity boldly. We can make the next century safer, more stable, more peaceful than this one. NATO's Summit in July will mark a major milestone in the development of the new security architecture. We will complete our internal transformation. We will be ready to take our relationships with Partners to a new level of co-operation. We will establish a strategic partnership with Russia. We will close the book on Yalta and put the division of Europe permanently behind us. We will end the 20th century in a far better shape than we began it.

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