NATO Defence Ministers have expressed concern about a multi-warhead Soviet missile which could strike anywhere in Europe.
NATO Defence Ministers have expressed concern about a multi-warhead Soviet missile which could strike anywhere in Europe. At a meeting of the Defence Planning Committee in Brussels on Wednesday (16 May), United States Defence Secretary, Harold Brown, said that Moscow was trying to gain both military and political advantage by exploiting a gap in NATO's nuclear deterrent. Delegates from thirteen countries met at the NATO headquarters on Tuesday (15 May) for a two-day meeting on the new Strategic Arms Limitation (SALT Two) agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the need for NATO to modernise its nuclear arsenal to counter increased Soviet capability.
SYNOPSIS: Britain's new Defence Minister, Francis Pym making his NATO debut. He stressed to members the importance that his Conservative government attached to defence co-operation in Europe. Ministers agreed to increase defence spending by three percent per year in real terms from 1981 to 1986. They heard a report from the Chairman of the NATO military committee, General Zeiner Gundersen, that Soviet deployment of a new surface-to-surface missile was a serious threat to European security.
US Defence Secretary, Harold Brown briefed his NATO colleagues about the SALT Two agreement. But the new Soviet missiles are not included in the agreement and NATO must decide by the end of the year whether to buy similar weapons to counter Soviet capacity.
West Germany is one of the NATO members who think these new missiles are essential to ensure a strong bargaining position with Moscow. Ministers heard that the Soviet Union has made a massive effort to increase military strength with a defence budget which now absorbs between eleven and thirteen percent of Gross National Product.