In April 1966, the Agency for the Control of Armaments (ACA) of Western European Union (WEU) issues a summary note on the question of controls of the quantitative limitation of nuclear weapon stockpiles in the WEU Member States on the European mainland and the ban on manufacturing these weapons in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). The note particularly mentions the statement made on 15 February 1961 by French Ambassador Jean Chauvel on the changes that have been made in the area of nuclear weapon stockpiles, which affect the notion of maximum levels provided for in the Treaty. It also emphasises the role of questions and recommendations by the WEU Assembly in furthering the debate, noting that the political scope of this matter goes beyond the framework of WEU.
On 22 June 1962, a note sent to the Director of the Agency for the Control of Armaments (ACA) outlines the legal framework for ACA controls of nuclear weapons in British storage facilities on the European mainland. The British government authorities maintain that they are not legally obliged to authorise the inspection of these facilities, which were set up within the framework of NATO and are therefore only subject to inspection by that organisation.
On 2 February 1955, the Secretary-General of the Interim Commission of Western European Union circulates a note from the United Kingdom delegation on the establishment of a Western European Armaments Committee, whose aims will be to improve to the greatest extent possible the standardisation of armaments and to promote the common production of agreed items between the Member States. The note particularly emphasises the links that the organisation will establish with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), including the possibility for other NATO member countries to participate in the activities and projects of the Armaments Committee.
On 17 January 1955, the Secretary-General of the Interim Commission of Western European Union (WEU) circulates the memorandum by the French Government on armaments production and standardisation dated 3 January 1955. The French Government sets out its view on armaments production and standardisation and presents its plan to set up an armaments agency within Western European Union (WEU). The role of this agency would be to organise the joint production of the armaments needed to equip the forces of WEU placed at the disposal of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). In order to function smoothly, it would require the support of governments inspired with the same purpose and determination to achieve the economic and rational organisation of arms production. The aim of these proposals is to prepare for the meeting of 17 January 1955 of the WEU working party responsible for examining these matters.
On 2 February 1955, the working party on production and standardisation of armaments holds its sixth plenary meeting in Paris. At the meeting, Sir Christopher Steel, United Kingdom representative discusses the proposals submitted by his government in document PWG/A/10. He notes that, while the British proposals exclude certain aspects of the French plan which are unacceptable to the United Kingdom and some other delegations, they are based on the existing machinery. French representative Alexandre Parodi observes that agreement seems to have been reached on the aims to be pursued and the methods to be used but that there is still some divergence of views on the scope and powers of the committees on standardisation and production that are to be established. During the discussion on the timetable for future sessions, the French representative points out that the memorandum is only a basis for discussion and hopes that all the parties will continue to work together in a conciliatory atmosphere.
On 21 January 1955, at the third plenary meeting of the working party on production and standardisation of armaments, held at the Palais Chaillot, the French delegate Alexandre Parodi responds to the objections formulated on the French memorandum (see PWG/A/) proposing the creation of an armaments agency within Western European Union. The memorandum was generally poorly received by all except the Italian delegation. Alexandre Parodi sets out the context in which the document was drawn up and explains that the idea is to bring about an adequate standardisation of armaments and an organisation of production aimed at large-scale manufacture. He also explains that his government’s proposals do not call into question the duties carried out by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and outlines the reasons why the Agency would be able to go further than NATO in terms of standardisation. He particularly examines the observations made by the German and Netherlands delegations. Not only highlighting the points on which the German Government is in agreement — namely, the actual aims of the memorandum — but also responding to the concerns raised, he notes that the main difference ultimately lies in the importance given to the principle of competition. Alexandre Parodi closes by noting that the plan for an Agency also applies to the United Kingdom, although it may require special arrangements to take into account the particular position of the British armaments industry.
On 2 March 1955, the Secretary-General of the Interim Commission of Western European Union circulates a memorandum from the United Kingdom delegation on United Kingdom methods of procurement of defence equipment. The document outlines the essential role of the Ministry of Supply and the Admiralty in procuring virtually all the country’s defence equipment, as well as the close link between these and the Service Departments to enable the rapid framing of decisions. The text also mentions that all the United Kingdom’s defence equipment is produced by private industry and that considerable attention is paid to standardisation between the three Services and with allied countries. The memorandum raises the question of the selection of foreign equipment and concludes that this is the exception rather than the rule, since the United Kingdom’s industry is in a position to meet the requirements of the armed forces.
On 19 March 1955, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) sends the Committee of Experts a document submitted jointly by the Belgian and French delegations on the desirability of armaments standardisation. The note outlines the operational, logistical and economic factors that influence the choice of equipment to be standardised.
On 29 March 1955, the Secretary-General of Western European Union (WEU) circulates a note from the French delegation analysing the economic and financial conditions for an armaments market in Western Europe.
On 15 April 1955, the Secretary-General of the Interim Commission of Western European Union (WEU) circulates a note from the United Kingdom representative on equipment to be standardised. The British representative starts by emphasising that the note represents his personal conclusions as a member of the committee of experts. The document focuses on the question ‘What is the useful scope for WEU in the field of equipment standardisation?’ The British representative believes that the most useful activity for WEU in this field would be to explore the possibilities of developing standard components on behalf of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) as a whole.