Following the seven-nation western powers' economic summit in London over the weekend, the 15 member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, NATO, have been meeting in the British capital.
Following the seven-nation western powers' economic summit in London over the weekend, the 15 member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, NATO, have been meeting in the British capital. On Tuesday (10 May), they opened their conference on the question of the military capacity of the alliance.
SYNOPSIS: Following an elaborate opening ceremony in the banqueting hall at Whitehall, the business sessions were transferred to nearby Lancaster House.
The Canadians, headed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, expressed concern that growing special relationships between the US and the larger European allies could lessen the role of smaller NATO powers.
But the hardest message came from president Jimmy Carter, who called for an increased defence effort to meet growing Soviet military might.
West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt said that NATO's biggest threat came from economic and financial disorder. He said freedom could only be assured if the partners co-operated closely in coping with unemployment, energy development and relations with the third world.
The Europeans welcomed an assurance by President Carter that he would promote a two-way trans-Atlantic trade in defence equipment. Washington had been accused in the past of striving to sell arms to its allies, but showing reluctance to buy military equipment from them in return. It could be in this way that the Europeans will be able to heed Mr. Carter's call to increase their contribution to improved defence, without further stretching their economies. The two-way arms sales could also introduce more uniformity, and do away with the massive duplications that exist with each country having their own separate defence systems.