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Defence Planning - Multilateral Discussions
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The AC/100 chronological series contains the records on the Defence Planning Multilateral Discussions.
These discussions took place in a context of growing tension and threat to the NATO countries. These threats were due, firstly, to the modernization of armaments and the spread of nuclear weapons and, secondly, to new political factors such as the creation of the Warsaw Pact and the change in the USSR’s stance on the reunification of Germany.
In November 1955, the International Staff expressed the desire to set out a procedure for adjusting defence planning (see C-M(55)113). This was accomplished through the draft Council resolution of 6 December 1955 (see C-M(55)120), which suggested defence planning discussions as
a way of making as much information about the defence problems as possible available to all the countries and fostering collective exchanges of views on those problems. It also made provision for discussions that brought together the civil and military representatives of the Member governments, the NATO military authorities and the International Staff. This resolution was adopted by the Council at its meeting on 15 December 1955 (see C-R(55)59).
At the first Council meeting of 1956 (C-R(56)1), the Secretary General of the Organization, Lord Ismay, said that the aim of the discussions would be to enable each NATO country to have authoritative advice on the new defence planning structure.
The meetings, held on 20-26 February 1956, were chaired by Lord Ismay. Their mission was to provide information rather than produce decisions, and took the form of briefings(1) by the military authorities followed by discussions(2). There were no further discussions of this kind after that point.
Working groups were formed, two of which produced documents. The first had been set up to review the divisional organization of the land forces (see AC/100(WG-1)R/1 and AC/100(WG-1)VR/1). The second was tasked with reviewing the forward scatter system (see AC/100(WG-2)D/1 and AC/100(WG-2)WP/1 and 2).
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