Defence Committee

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Defence Committee

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Dates of existence

1949-1952

History

The DC chronological Fonds contains the records of the Defence Committee.In accordance with Article 9 of the North Atlantic Treaty and the guidance given by the working group on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, at its first session in 1949 the Council established a Defence Committee (C1-D-1/1, C1-D-1/2).The terms of reference, established at the first Council session, laid down a number of points. The Committee was made up of Defence Ministers or their representatives from each signatory State. The Chair was held for an ordinary annual session by the signatory states in turn, in their English alphabetical order, starting with the United States. The Committee met each year, normally behind closed doors, in an ordinary session convened by the Chair. The venue of the meeting was fixed by the Chair after consulting Committee members. Additional meetings could be held at the express request of the Council or of a majority of Committee members (C1-D-1/2).The Committee's task was to prepare unified defence plans for the North Atlantic region (C1-D-1/2).The Committee was aided by subsidiary military bodies set up during the first two Council sessions:- the Military Committee(1), which was directly subordinate to the Defence Committee;-the Standing Group(2), a sub-committee of the Military Committee;-the five strategic regional groups (the Northern European Regional Planning Group, Western European Regional Planning Group, Southern European-Western Mediterranean Regional Planning Group, Canadian-United States Regional Planning Group and the North Atlantic Ocean Regional Planning Group);-the Military Production and Supply Board(3), also subordinate to the Defence Committee (C1-D-1/2,C2-D-1/5).The Defence Committee took importance decisions for the development of NATO’s structure. In 1949 it proposed a strategic concept for the integrated defence of the North Atlantic area, and the methods of working out a programme for the production and supply of arms and equipment. In 1950 it approved a four-year medium-term defence plan. Following the communist attack on South Korea, also in 1950, at the Council's request the Defence Committee made plans for the creation of a powerful integrated European force under centralized command(4). The Committee started operating on 4 October 1949, and was abolished as a separate ministerial body of the Council when the latter was reorganized on 3 May 1951 (D-D(51)86 (Final)).

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