Ministers from the fifteen member-nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation gathered in Brussels on Monday (10 December) for the beginning of the two-day Council of Ministers meeting.
SV INT Delegates enter NATO building
CU PAN Mr. Luns arriving
SV Sir Alec Douglas-Home arriving
SCU Dr. Kissinger arrives
TV INT Delegates standing talking
SCU Drs. Kissinger and Luns talking with others
TV & GV Delegates stand talking around tables (2 shots)
SV Icelandic delegates
CU PAN Herr School of West Germany
SV Turkish delegate
SV PAN Canadian, Danish and French delegates taking seats
SV Dutch delegates
SV U.S. delegates
GV Delegates around table
Initials BB/2154 AS/MR/BB/2216
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Background: Ministers from the fifteen member-nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation gathered in Brussels on Monday (10 December) for the beginning of the two-day Council of Ministers meeting.
High on the agenda was the recent Arab-Israeli war and the ensuing crises. The United States' Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger attended, making his first appearance at a N.A.T.O. meeting. He had been highly critical a few weeks ago over West European attitudes adopted towards the Middle East attitudes that conflicted with the U.S. pro-Israeli stand.
During Monday's opening session, Dr. Kissinger warned that the alliance was faced with the question of whether its member-nations could continue as allies or would drift into competition. Firmly asserting the United States' allegiance to N.A.T.O., the Secretary-of-State said his country was treating the question seriously. He went on to outline what he saw as other problems facing the Organisation.
After Dr. Kissinger's speech, United States officials stated that in affirming U.S. support of N.A.T.O., the Secretary of State had in mind the continued presence of U.S. military forces in Western Europe. Some partners have frequently expressed fears of a unilateral withdrawal by the U.S. of its 300,000 troops in Europe.
The Secretary-General of N.A.T.O., Dr. Joseph Luns, urged members to increase their defences to keep up with "the enormous rise in Soviet military power." Dr. Luns, the first speaker at the meeting, was frank in his remarks about the oil crisis: "Ali of you know that the present economic well-being of our countries is in danger of being seriously jeopardised by the oil embargo of the Arab states and an economic recession may well be on its way."
Another speaker at the Monday session warned of the Soviet threat to the alliance. Britain's Foreign Secretary, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, claimed that the Soviet Union wanted to undermine the West's resolution to defend itself. Sir. Alec urged NATO to stay on guard.
Observers in Brussels feel the delegates at the meeting will be trying to heal rifts within N.A.T.O. caused by the Middle East conflict. To that end, West german Foreign Minister Walter School told his fellow-ministers that differences of opinion must be overcome and lessons learned from what had happened.