Below is the text of Mr Major’s statement to the House of Commons on the NATO Summit in Rome, held on 12th November 1991.
The Prime Minister (Mr. John Major) : With permission, Mr. Speaker, I shall make a statement on the NATO summit in Rome on 7 and 8 November which I attended with my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary.
Last July, in London, NATO agreed to adapt its strategy to the changed situation in Europe and to build up a new partnership with the countries of central and eastern Europe. At the summit we agreed on how to carry forward both those tasks.
The strategic concept reflects the British Government's objectives. These were to
ensure that NATO remains the linchpin of western security, charged with dealing with
whatever security problems might threaten. The strategy reaffirms the need for a
collective defence based on NATO's integrated military structure; and also on the
need for both nuclear and conventional forces, kept up to date where necessary, but
at significantly lower levels. Alliance forces in every NATO country will be smaller,
more mobile and more flexible. At the summit we endorsed the establishment of new
rapid reaction forces, in which the United Kingdom will command the land element.
The summit declaration establishes a North Atlantic Co-
The NATO summit also, for the first time, considered in depth the European defence identity and the alliance. We affirmed some important principles : first, the principle that NATO is the essential forum for consultation and agreement on policies bearing on the security and defence of alliance territory; secondly, endorsement of the British proposals to use the Western European Union as the means of strengthening the European pillar of the alliance; thirdly, the need to establish clear and open relations between NATO and the Western European Union and to involve other allies on issues discussed in the Western European Union which affect their security.
Heads of Government received a report on Yugoslavia following a meeting of Community
Foreign Ministers with Lord Carrington. In view of the grave situation in Yugoslavia
and the repeated breaches of the ceasefire, Community Governments agreed in Rome
on a series of restrictive measures. They include suspension of the trade and co-
Community Governments also decided that positive action should be taken to benefit
the parties which were being co-
We also discussed developments in the Soviet Union. We publicly supported economic
reform and democratisation. We stressed the need for the authorities in the republics,
as well as at the centre, to respect their obligations-
We are living through a dramatic revolution in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
We have to use all the means at our disposal-
The decisions of the NATO summit provide important guidelines for the negotiations leading to the European Council in Maastricht. I hope that the House will welcome the outcome of the summit as a significant contribution to a sound defence and to democratic stability in Europe.