Declaration of the Heads
of State and Government Participating in the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council
in Brussels, Belgium
March 3, 1988
Time for Reaffirmation
the representatives of the sixteen members of the North Atlantic Alliance, have
come together to re-emphasize our unity, to assess the current state of
East-West relations, to review the opportunities and challenges which lie
ahead, and in so doing:
-- to reaffirm the
common ideals and purposes which are the foundation of our partnership;
-- to rededicate
ourselves to the principles and provisions of the Washington Treaty of 1949;
-- to reassert the
vital importance of the Alliance for our security, and
the validity of our strategy for peace.
Purposes and Principles of Our Alliance
Our Alliance is a voluntary
association of free and democratic equals, united by common interests and
values. It is unprecedented in its scope and success. Our security is
indivisible. Our Alliance is dedicated to
preserving peace in freedom and to collective self-defence,
as recognised by the United Nations Charter. None of
our weapons will ever be used except in response to attack.
Our concept of a balanced security policy as set out in the Harmel
Report has successfully stood the test of time. It remains valid in its two
complementary and mutually reinforcing approaches: political solidarity and
adequate military strength, and, on that basis, the search for constructive
dialogue and co-operation, including arms control. The ultimate political
purpose of our Alliance is to achieve a just
and lasting peaceful order in Europe.
The security in freedom and the prosperity of the European and North American
Allies are inextricably linked. The long-standing commitment of the North
American democracies to the preservation of peace and security in Europe is vital. The presence
in Europe of the conventional and
nuclear forces of the United States provides the essential
linkage with the United States strategic deterrent, and,
together with the forces of Canada, is a tangible
expression of that commitment. This presence must and will be maintained.
a free, independent and increasingly united Europe is vital to North America's security. The
credibility of Allied defence cannot be maintained
without a major European contribution. We therefore welcome recent efforts to
reinforce the European pillar of the Alliance, intended to strengthen
the transatlantic partnership and Alliance security as a whole.
Atlantic Alliance cannot be strong if Europe is weak.
Our aim will continue to be to prevent any kind of war or intimidation. By
maintaining credible deterrence the Alliance has secured peace in Europe for nearly forty years.
Conventional defences alone cannot ensure this;
therefore, for the foreseeable future there is no alternative to the Alliance strategy for the
prevention of war. This is a strategy of deterrence based upon an appropriate
mix of adequate and effective nuclear and conventional forces which will
continue to be kept up to date where necessary.
While seeking security and stability at lower levels of armaments, we are
determined to sustain the requisite efforts to ensure the continued viability,
credibility and effectiveness of our conventional and nuclear forces, including
the nuclear forces in Europe, which together provide
the guarantee of our common security. Taking into account the structure of the Alliance, each of us undertakes
to play his part in this joint endeavour in a spirit
of solidarity, reaffirming our willingness to share fairly the risks, burdens
and responsibilities as well as the benefits of our common efforts.
We seek a just and stable condition of peace in which the sovereignty and
territorial integrity of all states are respected and the rights of all
individuals, including their right of political choice, are protected.
want gradually to overcome the unnatural division of the European continent,
which affects most directly the German people. We will continue to uphold the
freedom and viability of Berlin and to support efforts
to improve the situation there.
search for improved and more stable relations with the Soviet Union and the other countries
is among our principal concerns. We call upon these countries to work with us
for a further relaxation of tensions, greater security at lower levels of arms,
more extensive human contacts and increased access to information. We will
continue the effort to expand co-operation with the East wherever and whenever
this is of mutual benefit.
Relations: The Way Ahead
We have noted encouraging signs of change in the policies of the Soviet Union and some of its allies.
This creates the prospect for greater openness in their relations with their
own people and with other nations. We welcome such progress as has been already
achieved in certain areas. But we look beyond pronouncements for tangible and
lasting policy changes addressing directly the issue dividing East and West.
However, we have to date witnessed no relaxation of the military effort pursued
for years by the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union persists in deploying
far greater military forces than are required for its defence.
This massive force, which the Soviet Union has not refrained from
using outside its borders, as is still the case in Afghanistan, constitutes a
fundamental source of tension between East and West. The steady growth of
Soviet military capabilities, as it affects every region of the Alliance, requires our constant
We will continue to be steadfast in the pursuit of our security policies,
maintaining the effective defences and credible
deterrence that form the necessary basis for constructive dialogue with the
East including on arms control and disarmament matters.
meet our security needs in the years to come will require ever greater
efficiencies in the application of our scarce resources. We are therefore
determined to expand our practical co-operation in the field of armaments
procurement and elsewhere. In this context we recognise
the challenges to our industrially less advanced Allies and the need to address
them through mutual assistance and co-operation.
Arms control is an integral part of our security policy. We seek negotiations
not for their own sake but to reach agreements which can significantly reduce
the risk of conflict and make a genuine contribution to stability and peace. We
shall work together vigorously and on the basis of the closest consultation to
Our representatives to the North Atlantic Council continue actively the further
development of a comprehensive concept of arms control and disarmament as
directed in the Statement of our Ministers at Reykjavik in June 1987.
The recently concluded INF agreement between the US and the Soviet Union is a milestone in our
efforts to achieve a more secure peace and lower levels of arms. It is the
impressive result of the political courage, the realism and the unity of the
members of the Alliance. The treaty's
provisions on stringent verification and asymmetrical reductions provide useful
precedents for future agreements. We look forward to its early entry into
Consistent with their security requirements, the fifteen Allies concerned will
make use of all possibilities for effectively verifiable arms control
agreements which lead to a stable and secure balance of forces at a lower
level. For them, the comprehensive concept of arms control and disarmament
-- a 50% reduction in
the strategic offensive nuclear weapons of the US and the Soviet Union to be achieved during
current Geneva negotiations;
-- the global
elimination of chemical weapons;
-- the establishment
of a stable and secure level of conventional forces, by the elimination of
disparities, in the whole of Europe;
-- in conjunction with the establishment of a
conventional balance and the global elimination of chemical weapons, tangible
and verifiable reductions of American and Soviet land-based nuclear missile
systems of shorter range, leading to equal ceilings.
Recognizing the urgency and central importance of addressing the conventional
force imbalances in Europe, we have adopted a separate statement on
conventional arms control.
The resolution of East-West differences will require progress in many fields.
Genuine peace in Europe cannot be established solely by arms control.
It must be firmly based on full respect for fundamental human rights. As we
continue our efforts to reduce armaments, we shall press for implementation on
the part of the governments of the Soviet Union and of other Eastern
countries of all of the principles and provisions of the Helsinki Final Act and
of the Madrid Concluding Document. We support the continuation and
strengthening of the CSCE process. It represents an important means of
promoting stable and constructive relations on a long term basis between
countries of East and West, and, moreover, enhances closer and more fruitful
contacts between peoples and individuals throughout Europe. We call upon all
participating states to make every effort for an early conclusion to the CSCE
follow-up meeting in Vienna with a substantial and
balanced final document.
We agree that the speedy and complete withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and the effective
restoration of that country's sovereignty would be of major significance. It is
against these criteria that we shall assess General Secretary Gorbachev's
We hope that at their forthcoming summit in Moscow President Reagan and the
General Secretary Gorbachev will be able to build upon the progress achieved at
their Washington meeting last December.
We strongly support the efforts of the United States. These fully accord with
our consistent policy to seek, through high-level dialogue, early and
substantial progress with the Soviet Union on a full range of
issues, including greater respect for human rights,
arms control, a lessening of regional tensions, and improved opportunities for
bilateral contacts and co-operation.
Reflecting upon almost four decades of common endeavour
and sacrifice and upon the results achieved, we are confident that the
principles and purposes of our Alliance remain valid today and
for the future. We are united in our efforts to ensure a world of more secure
peace and greater freedom. We will meet the opportunities and challenges ahead
with imagination and hope, as well as with firmness and vigilance. We owe no
less to our peoples.
Note: The following
sentence was on the bottom of last page of the declaration: ``Greece recalled its position on nuclear matters.'' The declaration
was not issued as White House press release.