GHDI logo

NATO's Dual-Track Decision (December 12, 1979)

page 2 of 2    print version    return to list previous document      next document

Ministers noted that these recent developments require concrete actions on the part of the Alliance if NATO’s strategy of flexible response is to remain credible. After intensive consideration, including the merits of alternative approaches, and after taking note of the positions of certain members, Ministers concluded that the overall interest of the Alliance would best be served by pursuing two parallel and complementary approaches of TNF modernization and arms control.

Accordingly Ministers have decided to modernize NATO’s LRTNF by the deployment in Europe of US ground-launched systems comprising 108 Pershing II launchers, which would replace existing US Pershing I-A, and 464 Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (GLCM), all with single warheads. All the nations currently participating in the integrated defence structure will participate in the programme: the missiles will be stationed in selected countries and certain support costs will be met through NATO’s existing common funding arrangements. The programme will not increase NATO’s reliance upon nuclear weapons. In this connection, Ministers agreed that as an integral part of TNF modernization, 1 000 US nuclear warheads will be withdrawn from Europe as soon as feasible. Further, Ministers decided that the 572 LRTNF warheads should be accommodated within that reduced level, which necessarily implies a numerical shift of emphasis away from warheads for delivery systems of other types and shorter ranges. In addition they noted with satisfaction that the Nuclear Planning Group is undertaking an examination of the precise nature, scope and basis of the adjustments resulting from the LRTNF deployment and their possible implications for the balance of roles and systems in NATO’s nuclear armoury as a whole. This examination will form the basis of a substantive report to NPG Ministers in the Autumn of 1980.

[ . . . ]

The Ministers have decided to pursue these two parallel and complementary approaches in order to avert an arms race in Europe caused by the Soviet TNF build-up, yet preserve the viability of NATO’s strategy of deterrence and defence and thus maintain the security of its member States.

[ . . . ]

Source: Ministerial Communiqué: Special Meeting of Foreign and Defense Ministers, Brussels (December 12, 1979); reproduced on the website of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation:

first page < previous   |   next > last page