In the light of France’s withdrawal from the integrated command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the consequences of this decision, on 15 June 1968 the Agency for the Control of Armaments (ACA) of Western European Union (WEU) draws up a study of three documents on NATO–WEU relations.
On 21 April 1961, a memorandum drafted by the United Kingdom delegation comments on the contribution of French representative Jean Chauvel to the meeting of the Council of Ministers of Western European Union on 15 February 1961 concerning Article III of Protocol III of the modified Brussels Treaty on controls of nuclear weapons stocks. The British hold the view that the Council has the authority to determine the nuclear weapons stocks that Member States can hold on the European mainland only once the production phase has been launched. This decision will be applicable both to weapons manufactured on the European continent and to those from other places. Consequently, it is not the Council’s role to check, via the intermediary of the Agency for the Control of Armaments (ACA), that stocks, whether or not they come under the command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), do not exceed the set limits. Moreover, Article IV of the modified Brussels Treaty should be seen as a complement to the North Atlantic Treaty and there are no plans to transfer military powers belonging to NATO to WEU. Since WEU has not yet exercised its powers in the area of nuclear weapons stocks, it cannot be said to have failed in its task or in the missions conferred on it.
In its note dated 22 June 1961, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates the observations raised by the French Government concerning the memorandum by the United Kingdom delegation on Article III of Protocol III of the revised Brussels Treaty. The French Government refers to three aspects of the British memorandum (C(61)62) that confirm the merits of the statements made by French Ambassador Jean Chauvel at the WEU Council on 15 February 1961. The first is the fact that the United States have stocks of atomic weapons on the European continent that are beyond WEU’s control. The second is that the levels of stocks should only be set and controls only carried out for the countries ‘concerned’, and that therefore the situation will remain the same since the only levels established for WEU Member States would be for the stocks held by France. Finally, contrary to what is stated in the British memorandum, the Council is not able to verify stocks of nuclear weapons.
In its note dated 25 September 1963, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates the Council’s reply to Recommendation 93 of the WEU Assembly. The wording of the final reply is essentially the same as the draft WPM(335).
In its note dated 29 October 1979, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates the final reply by the Council to Assembly Recommendation 335. The text reproduces the draft by the French delegation (WPM(79)22) except for the last paragraph, in which the French had emphasised the impossibility of dealing with the question of trade in arms in a purely European framework and noted that this could even be counterproductive since it would oppose the national interests of European countries as they are seeking to cooperate.
On 21 November 1979, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates the Council’s final reply to Assembly Recommendation 329 on the industrial bases of European security. Most of the amendments proposed by the French delegation (WPM(79)25/1) have been included in the final version. The Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD) is a body that aims to improve the opportunities for standardisation and interoperability of the equipment used by the countries in the Atlantic Alliance. The independent European Programme Group (IEPG) is responsible for identifying opportunities for collaboration between European members of the Alliance in the design and production of defence equipment. The two organisations have worked on the harmonisation of procurement procedures wherever this has been found possible or desirable. The Council believes that both the framework necessary to encourage cooperation and the structure required for decision-making already exist. The priority is therefore to set up specific projects rather than to devise new structures.
On 12 March 1980, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates the Council’s reply to WEU Assembly Recommendation 337 on political conditions for European armaments cooperation. The final text reproduces the draft prepared by the United Kingdom delegation, also adding that the Council is not empowered to make any statements to the Assembly on behalf of the independent European Programme Group (IEPG). But it will continue to encourage exchanges of information between the two organisations, and members of the Assembly are free to question their own governments about the IEPG’s work.
On 30 April 1980, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates the Council’s reply to Recommendation 338 on the definition of armaments requirements and procurement in Western Europe, which incorporates a series of amendments proposed by the United Kingdom. The Council considers that the creation of international consortia for the production of defence equipment has been a useful contribution to a better organisation of armaments cooperation in Europe.The Council also believes that if the Member States reach agreement on common requirements, this may stimulate the formation of international consortia. This form of cooperation does not exclude joint production by European and North American firms. The Council is fully aware of the advantages of a market for defence equipment covering the entire Atlantic Alliance. Finally, since it is up to each Member State to decide to what extent sensitive information on defence matters can be circulated to the national parliaments, the Council cannot ask the Chairman of Panel I of the independent European Programme Group to communicate the annual equipment replacement schedules to the Assembly’s Committee on Defence Questions and Armaments.
On 30 April 1980, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates the Council’s reply to Recommendation 339 from the WEU Assembly on the industrial bases of European security — guidelines drawn from the symposium on 15, 16 and 17 October 1979. The final text follows the wording of the draft prepared by the French delegation (WPM(80)13/1).
In its note dated 20 November 1981, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates the Council’s reply to Assembly Recommendation 368 on the European combat aircraft and other aeronautical developments. Various British amendments incorporated into the final version insist on the intention of the countries concerned to explore the way forward in this field. The Council also clearly states that any further progress is dependent on the harmonisation of characteristics currently being discussed between the military authorities and the staff of the armaments directors of the various countries.