Relocation Group

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Relocation Group

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The AC/267 chronological series contain the documents of the Relocation Group. Informally established in February 1967, as a result of the transition of NATO Headquarters from Paris to Brussels, the group aimed to look at relocation from an administrative and policy standpoint and to serve as a forum to discuss related issues. On 17th October 1968, a report by the Relocation Group detailed the essential factors to be taken into account for a Permanent Headquarters (see C-M(68)51). The document outlined building costs, construction time and the space requirements with respect to the site available to NATO at Heysel. Based on the report, the Council expressed concerns with regards to high costs associated with a brand new building, the considerable length of time required, and the inadequate space available at Heysel (C-R(68)60). Due to these concerns, the Council instructed the Relocation Group, in close collaboration with the Belgian Authorities, to study the means and to prepare cost-estimates for the transformation of the Temporary Headquarters at Evere into an acceptable Permanent Headquarters. At the first formal meeting on 25th February 1969, it was agreed that future papers of the Relocation Group should be circulated under a new AC/ reference number (See AC/267-DS/1). At this first meeting, the group began to address the replies from delegations regarding the questionnaire on space requirements, the legal and administrative problems associated with the conversion of Evere to a Permanent Headquarters, and the finalization of the sale of Villa Said, Paris (the correspondence for which can be seen in AC/267-D/1). The Group then began discussion on the legal and technical aspects for the Conversion of Evere into a Permanent Headquarters. These plans included additional buildings, modifications and supplementary facilities, and embellishments. A drafting group was then tasked with drawing up a possible agreement between Belgium and NATO on the concession of additional land at Evere and the compensation for the residual value of the NATO Headquarters. On 11th July 1969, the permanent Representative of Belgium indicated, in AC/267-D/5, that Belgium was prepared to make an additional three hectares available to the Organization, based on the legal aspects described therein. At the 28th August 1969 meeting, the Group noted that during the period of detailed study of the programme for conversion of the Headquarters, other NATO committees should be consulted. The Relocation Group, in AC/267-D/6 and its subsequent revisions outlined a tentative programme, the life expectancy of the building, a proposal by the Consultant Architects and Engineer, a time schedule, cost estimates and ultimately conclusions and recommendations, which, upon a more detailed study of technical and financial aspects, could be recommended to the Council. Additionally, this document included a birds-eye-view of Evere indicating the proposed additions and modifications to the site.In light of this, on the 13th October meeting 1969, the Group examined in detail the technical and financial aspects of the conversion plan based on working papers AC/267-WP/1, AC/267-WP/2, AC/267-WP/4, and AC/267-WP/5. After considering these studies, the Group submitted the report to Council (See C-M(69)44), who subsequently reviewed and discussed it as C-R(69)48.Through October and November 1969, the Relocation Group continued to receive recommendations regarding improvements to existing facilities and the construction of new ones. The 19th November Meeting resulted in the approval of the draft report to Council AC/267-D/7 (subsequently circulated under reference number C-M(69)66) and the adoption of the term “Staff Centre” for the planned facilities for sports and cultural activities. On 13th January 1970, in Addendum 3 to Summary Record C-R(69)54, the Council formally approved the recommendations by the Relocation Group in C-M(69)66, stating that the Council should rescind its December 1966 decision (C-R(66)70), to put in hand construction of a new Permanent Headquarters at Heysel, and to proceed as speedily as possible with the Conversion of the present Headquarters. Once the conversion project had been adopted, the main focus of the Relocation Group shifted to the planning and construction of the Staff Centre where the main challenges were financial. On July 5th 1970, the Relocation Group noted that the United States Government, as a result of congressional decision, was unable to contribute its share of the construction cost of the Staff Centre. A reduced project outline for the Staff Centre was later adopted based on a firm bid that was well below the original price ceiling. After the completion of the construction of the Staff Centre, the conversion of Evere into a Permanent Headquarters was completed.


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