- 1957 - ? (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
The AC/119 chronological series contains the records of the Political Committee. Established by the North Atlantic Council in January 1957 (C-M(57)3), pursuant to the recommendation of the Committee of Three(1), this committee is made up of a representative of each delegation, accompanied by experts from his or her country as required. It is chaired by the Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs. The Political Committee is responsible for carrying out all of the studies and preparatory work to assist the Council and the Secretary General in fulfilling their political consultation responsibilities. It inherited tasks that had been previously assigned to the Working Group on Trends of Soviet Policy(2). The Political Committee(3) met for the first time on 29 January 1957. In order to fulfil its wide-ranging mission, it was decided to set up subgroups of regional experts in order to address specific issues and provide a broad outline of the situation in each part of the world. Beginning in 1957, groups of regional experts reporting to the Political Committee began to operate. These were: - the Working Group on Trends of Soviet Policy, which took over from the former AC/34 working group; - the Group of Experts on the Satellite Countries, whose first report was issued in March 1957; - the Group of Middle East Experts, which met for the first time in March 1957; - the Group of Far East Experts, whose first meeting was held in November 1958; - the Working Group on Latin America, set up in 1961; - the Working Group on Africa, the only group whose documents had their own reference number (AC/146), which was abandoned in 1961. In 1967 the Council broadened the terms of reference of the Political Committee, after which point disarmament experts would meet under its auspices at regular intervals.The Political Committee is a standing committee which still sits today.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
AC/119 series records contain information on East-West relations and reports on the evolution of each satellite country and its relations with the Soviet Union. The series also contains documents on the relations of NATO countries with Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia (e.g.: economic aid in 1957-1958, the emigration of Hungarian refugees following the events of 1956 in Hungary; the events in Czechoslovakia in 1968 and in Poland in 1970). It also contains intelligence on the political situation in China and on the USSR’s relations with China (1958-70), with Yugoslavia (1957-58) and with the underdeveloped countries (1957-61), plus documents on the Soviet rocket launch programme in the Pacific Ocean (1960) and information on the construction of the Aswan dam (1959).
The AC/119 series also contains documents on the situation in Afghanistan (including the Soviet penetration of that country in 1959), Syria (1957, 1963), Somalia (1959-60), Iraq (1957-63), Argentina (1966), Libya (1970), Cuba (1960-63) and the Mediterranean (Soviet naval presence, 1969-70). Political Committee documents also address the Palestinian refugee issue (1959). There are records on the ministerial session in Reykjavik (1968) and on the Berlin crisis (1961).
The series also provides information on the preparations for several conferences such as the IPU conference on European security in Helsinki (1971-74), the World Disarmament Conference (1972-73) and the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1974). The series includes records on the Swiss initiative to create a European system for peaceful conflict resolution (1973) and the draft Convention on the Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space. Also mentioned are the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the prohibition of incendiary weapons including napalm (1973), the International Congress of Civil Defence Organizations and the Law of the Sea Conference (Caracas, 1974).
Finally, the series contains information on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the NATO member countries and the German Democratic Republic (1973-74), Libya’s passport policy (in particular as viewed through incidents affecting member country nationals, 1973-74), Italian-Yugoslav relations (zonal dispute over the Free Territory of Trieste in 1974), China’s policy on the situation in the Spratly Islands and the Paracels Islands (1974), the extension of Libyan coastal waters (1973-74), reactions to the explosion of a third nuclear device by China (1969), a political assessment of the explosion of an Indian nuclear device (1974), the draft Chemical Weapons Convention (1974), the Iranian proposal to set up a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East and the draft study on détente (1974).
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
The documents in the AC/119 series circulated by the Political Committee(4) are arranged by type - Agenda (A); Note (N), Working Paper (WP), Record/Summary Record (R), and then by year and number. However, no year is given for the Working Papers from 1965 onward. Notes have only been kept for the years 1957-58. Two memoranda (NR) on the consequences of the failure of the 1960 [Paris] Summit Conference have also been kept.
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
NATO publicly disclosed information is available for research and education purposes. Any commercial use requires the written permission of NATO. Please credit the NATO Archives should any documents be used for publication. Guidelines for the proper citation of NATO publicly disclosed information can be found on the NATO Archives website (http://www.nato.int/archives).
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
The documents of the chronological series were circulated in both NATO official languages (English and French).
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
(1) See the series under reference CT.
(2) See the series AC/34 and TSP.
(3) From when it was set up in 1957 until the end of January 1968, AC/119 was known as the "Committee of Political Advisers" in English. In February 1968 it took the name "Political Committee", corresponding to the French designation "Comité politique" which had been used since it was formed.
(4) See also the series under reference POLADS.