Defence Ministers of the 15 countries making up the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) met in Brussels today (Wednesday) for a top-level Defence Planning Committee meeting.
Defence Ministers of the 15 countries making up the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) met in Brussels today (Wednesday) for a top-level Defence Planning Committee meeting. High on the agenda was progress made by a special European study group towards greater co-operation in the purchase and development of weapons.
One of the first decisions taken today gave the go-ahead for the biggest NATO exercise every staged. Code-named "Strong Express", manoeuvre will be held in Norwegian waters next September, with 50,000 men and 190 ships taking part. Nine countries will participate.
The committee also heard a report off the continuing expansion of Soviet forces. Later, United States Defence Secretary Melvin Laird said that the sustained strength of NATO was an important Factor contributing to President Nixon's current summit talks in Moscow.
SYNOPSIS: The fifteen countries forming the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation sent their Defence Ministers to Brussels on Wednesday for an important meeting of the Defence Planning Committee. A wide-ranging agenda included progress towards pooling weapons systems and towards East-West armament reduction.
NATO Secretary General Dr Luns arrived to chair the meeting. Each Mistier attending was due to report on the defence situation in his own country.
Defence Secretary Lord Carrington was there to report for Britain. The meeting comes at end of a period of intense study into methods of co-operating in the development and purchase of weapons. One of the committee's first decisions, however, concerned the development of existing weapons. Members gave the go-ahead for the biggest NATO exercise ever staged. It will be held in Norwegian waters next September, and will involve fifty-thousand men and nearly two-hundred ships.