Extract from minutes of the 495th meeting of the WEU Council held at ministerial level (London, 20 May 1975)

On 20 May 1975, at the 495th meeting of the Western European Union (WEU) Council at ministerial level in London, the ministers discuss the activities of the Standing Armaments Committee (SAC) and the problems of armaments standardisation in Europe. They particularly consider the proposals set out by Belgian representative Renaat Van Elslande, who believes that standardisation and the maintenance of a viable, competitive armaments industry in Europe for the production of large-scale weapons are essential for European defence. But he notes that the idea of ‘European preference’ is easier to talk about than to achieve. French minister Bernard Destremau and British minister James Callaghan, who chairs the session, agree with the Belgian proposals. They confirm the need for a competitive European industry and better cooperation with the United States. For the French delegate, this cooperation also raises the question of ‘European defence within the Alliance’. He also shares the view of the role the Standing Armaments Committee can adopt in a number of problems relating to standardisation and the cost of operations so that proposals might be submitted to the Council. James Callaghan, on the other hand, believes that WEU is not the appropriate forum at the current time for reviewing the defence industries and suggests that the permanent representatives should start by determining the scope for activity of the SAC in the field of European armaments cooperation and then report back to the Ministerial Council.

Source and copyright

Source: Council of the Western European Union. Extract from minutes of the 495th meeting of WEU Council held on 20 May 1975 at ministerial level in London . III. Examination of the activities of the Standing Armaments Committee and problems of the standardization of Armaments in Europe. CR (75)8. pp. [s.p]; 33; 34; 37-39; 42; 44-46.

Archives nationales de Luxembourg (ANLux). http://www.anlux.lu. Western European Union Archives. Secretariat-General/Council’s Archives. 1954-1987. Subjects dealt with by various WEU organs. Year: 1976, 01/05/1975-30/06/1976. File 442.00. Volume 4/4.

Copyright: (c) WEU Secretariat General - Secrétariat Général UEO

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