On 11 April 1958, the Assistant Secretary-General of the Standing Armaments Committee (SAC) circulates a note from the United Kingdom delegate on interdependence in research, development and production. The United Kingdom representative emphasises, however, that this policy statement, drawn up by officials in the Ministry of Defence, does not represent formal proposals by the British Government. The note sets out the principles that should govern cooperation between Member States: they should aim to increase the European production base through research and development, conclude agreements on cooperation over specific items of equipment, consult other Member States concerned before funding any developments that compete with the cooperation project in which they are involved and, finally, pay any other Member States for facilities, design information or finished products transferred.
On 12 August 1963, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates a draft reply from the French delegation to the Council to paragraph 1 b) of Recommendation 93 by the WEU Assembly. The Council emphasises the importance it places on the entry into force of the Convention of 14 December 1957 making provision for due process of law so that the Agency for the Control of Armaments (ACA) can effectively fulfil the duties assigned to it. The French delegation confirms that the control of stocks of atomic weapons raises various legal and technical problems but that the ACA has always been in a position to report that no unauthorised production has taken place. The Council does not consider it opportune to make the changes to the modified Brussels Treaty that would be entailed by the WEU Assembly’s recommendation.
On 16 September 1963, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates the amendments proposed by the United Kingdom delegation to the draft reply by the Council to Recommendation 93 (WPM(335)). The British delegation suggests removing the section that refers to the importance placed by the Council on the entry into force of the Convention and simplifying but preserving the substance of the paragraph proposed by France. Moreover, the British believe that the fact that the provisions of the revised Brussels Treaty do not apply equally to each Member State cannot be described as discrimination since the treaty should be considered as a balanced whole with regard to national interests.
On 26 July 1979, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates the draft reply to Recommendation 335 prepared by the French delegation to the Council. The draft mentions that the replies to Recommendations 297 and 325 already outline the reasons why armaments cooperation between European countries is necessary. The Council reaffirms the importance it attaches to the continuation of the work with a view to achieving genuine cooperation on specific programmes, particularly within the Standing Armaments Committee (SAC) and the independent European Programme Group (IEPG). When the SAC’s final report on the armaments industry in Europe is received, the Council will consider how the Assembly might be informed of its content. On the matter of trade in arms in areas where peace is threatened, solutions cannot be sought in the European framework alone, given the different political factors in each country.
In a note dated 14 March 1980, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates the revised draft reply by the French delegation to Recommendation 339 on the industrial bases of European security — guidelines drawn from the symposium on 15, 16 and 17 October 1979. On the matter of cooperation between European industries, the Council considers that the most effective use should be made of existing machinery for concerting measures in the armaments field, in particular the independent European Programme Group (IEPG) and the Conference of National Armaments Directors. This cooperation is too complicated for any changes to be made to working practices in the near future. The draft reply mentions cooperation in the three branches of the military and emphasises the satisfactory results of cooperation on missiles and the importance for armaments industries of mastering all telecommunications techniques.
On 29 October 1981, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates the draft reply by the French delegation to the Council to Assembly Recommendation 368 on the European combat aircraft and other aeronautical developments. The text states that the development of cooperative armaments programmes is a complex process. It requires consensus at national level between industrial, economic, military and political interests. In connection with the project to build a specifically European aircraft, the countries concerned are using the existing machinery for concerted action in the sphere of armaments, mainly the independent European Programme Group (IEPG) and the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD). Intense discussions are being held between the French, German and United Kingdom Governments. Other European countries have shown interest, and a project group within the IEPG has been set up to provide a suitable forum for concerted action and exchanges of information. In addition to the future combat aircraft, joint talks have been launched in connection with helicopters and transport aircraft. An exploratory group is examining the long-term requirements of the various European countries in this area.
In a note dated 15 June 1965, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates question 93 put by German Assembly member Georg Kliesing and the draft reply by the United Kingdom delegation to the WEU Council to this question. The question deals with the possibility of other WEU member states being able to participate in the Franco-British cooperation agreement signed on 17 May 1965 and on the need for common development and production of light strike and trainer aircraft. The reply notes that France and the United Kingdom are willing to extend their cooperation to third countries and are currently considering the arrangements to put in place. The Council welcomes this information and hopes that it will be possible to invite third countries before any decision is taken on production.
In a note dated 23 June 1965, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates question 93 put by German Assembly member Georg Kliesing (see document WPM(481)) and the draft reply by the French delegation to the WEU Council to this question. The reply confirms that the French and British delegations will examine, at the appropriate stage, the conditions for the association of other Member States. Decisions regarding participation or the communication of information will be considered by the steering committee set up by the agreement of 17 May 1965.
On 14 November 1977, the Secretary-General of the Council of Western European Union (WEU) circulates a draft reply from the French delegation to Recommendation 297 on a European armaments policy. The French draft particularly emphasises the importance of maintaining an armaments industry, which provides many jobs and plays a vital role in common defence, but it notes that safeguarding this industry requires cooperation between European countries, as demonstrated by the Atlantic Alliance’s independent European Programme Group. The interoperability of equipment is essential for military effectiveness. However, general standardisation, which would result in a rationalisation of armaments production between Europe and the United States, would actually endanger the future of the European industries: if the Western armaments industries engage in open competition, it would jeopardise the European defence effort.
In a note dated 29 January 1981, the Secretary-General circulates the draft reply from the French delegation to the Council of Western European Union to Recommendation 362 on international industrial consortia and collaborative arrangements for the production of high technology military equipment. The Council shares the WEU Assembly’s concern, and the Member States intend to pursue their cooperation efforts in the field of armaments. But the Council considers that it is difficult to entrust the Standing Armaments Committee (SAC) with the task of monitoring the progress made in the Atlantic Alliance in the area of interoperability and standardisation of defence equipment. Given that not all members of the independent European Programme Group (IEPG) are members of the SAC, information on the IEPG’s activities can only be supplied to the Assembly members in a national framework and insofar as their governments participate in IEPG. In order to establish a ‘transatlantic dialogue’, there must be close European cooperation and the problem of harmonising the standards in force on both sides of the Atlantic must be resolved.