Defence ministers from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation met in Brussels on Tuesday (6 December) to discuss increased military spending.
SV PAN Delegates in conference room in Brussels
CU Chairman Joseph Luns seated
SV Italian delegates seated
CU Luxembourg delegates seated
SV Danish delegates
SV Chairman Luns seated
SCU West German delegates seated
SV PAN Delegates from Turkey, U.K. and U.S. seated
SV PAN Delegates from Belgium and Canada seated
The Ministers completed a series of improvements to NATO's anti-tank forces and examined progress on plans to improve the alliance's defences over the next 10 to 12 years. These long-term improvement plans will be presented to the NATO summit in Washington next May for approval. Meanwhile, NATO's most senior military officer, Norwegian General Herman Zeiner-Gundersen told the ministers the Soviet Union was continuing to build up its armed forces despite East-West detente. He said that in an East-West crisis, Soviet ships in the Indian Ocean could have considerable effect on the supply of oil and raw materials to the West. Alliance sources also say that several European ministers feel it's time to make a decision on the deployment of the Neutron bomb in Europe. So far they've not been prepared to tell President Carter that they want the weapon, which kills with massive radiation but spares buildings.
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Background: Defence ministers from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation met in Brussels on Tuesday (6 December) to discuss increased military spending. United States officials said they weren't completely satisfied at the way some European members were contributing to higher targets. On the other hand the Europeans said they were worried that the United States might give away too much to the Soviet Union during talks on the limitation of strategic arms.
SYNOPSIS: Delegates from the 11 NATO countries were meeting under the chairmanship of Secretary-General Joseph Luns. American officials said after the talks that the U.S. believes there's room for improvement in the way European member states are responding to the goal of increased spending. The target is three per cent a year, but the Americans say that some countries are responding better than others. The Soviet Union is increasing its defence budget by about five per cent a year.
But the European allies have a complaint of their own. Alliance sources say a number of European defence ministers are worried about the American plan to limit the range and deployment of the Cruise missile. The proposed limit to the range of ground and sea launched Cruise missiles is 600 kilometres, which the Europeans feel would be too short to be fully effective.