§ Mr. Watkinson
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council on 10th and 11th May.
§ Dr. Owen
The meeting was very valuable. First, it gave President Carter the opportunity to assure his allies that the United States Administration will continue to make the Alliance the heart of their foreign policy. This reaffirmation of the United States' commitment to NATO was warmly welcomed by everyone, including my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. President Carter also made some specific proposals to improve the functioning of NATO, namely, a special alliance review of East-West relations; the development of a long-term defence programme for the 1980s; and the consideration of other measures in the defence field, including questions of equipment procurement. We welcome his ideas which, in company with our allies, we shall be studying carefully.
The meeting also gave Heads of NATO Governments an opportunity to consider together the preparations for next month's CSCE Review Conference in Belgrade.
The Council's proceedings are well reflected in the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting yesterday. This reads as follows: