Extract from minutes of the 496th meeting of the WEU Council (10 June 1975)

At the 496th meeting of the Council of Western European Union (WEU), held on 10 June 1975, the permanent representatives continue the discussions that the ministers began on 20 May (CR(75)8) on the activities of the Standing Armaments Committee (SAC) and the problems of arms standardisation in Europe. Sir John Killick notes that, in accordance with the line taken in the Belgian memorandum, British minister John Callaghan has requested that the governments should decide exactly what they want the SAC to do before allocating it new responsibilities. French Ambassador Jacques de Beaumarchais then expresses his government’s disappointment at the decision taken by two Member States concerning the replacement of their military aircraft, noting a contradiction between this decision and the Belgian proposals. These events clearly highlight the importance of leaving no stone unturned in developing cooperation in the field of armaments. He reaffirms France’s support for the Belgian document, while noting that his government will confirm its position on some points at a later date. Sir John Killick emphasises that the British minister did not think WEU was the appropriate forum for addressing the question of European arms production and purchases, but explains that his government is willing to study the proposals in a positive spirit, not wishing to delay the action taken by the WEU Council. Replying to the French representative on the matter of the replacement of the F104 aircraft, the British representative regrets that it has not been possible to find a European solution but says that it could now be argued that the United States has an obligation to make purchases in Europe. He says that this should be seen as a lesson for the European countries, which should perhaps have developed a European project in anticipation of this replacement. Finally, the French representative expresses his agreement with the Belgian Ambassador’s remarks on the importance of political will for achieving a competitive production capacity in Europe, since economic considerations, although important, cannot be the determining factor.

Source and copyright

Source: Council of the Western European Union. Extract from minutes of the 496th meeting of WEU Council held on 10 June 1975. III. Examination of the activities of the Standing Armaments Committee and problems of the standardization of Armaments in Europe. CR (75)9. pp. 5-14

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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