HC Deb 15 April 1991 vol 189 c107W
Sir Eldon Griffiths

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals are currently under discussion for the reconfiguration of NATO.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

The NATO summit, held in London in July 1990, agreed on the adaptation of the alliance to the changes taking place in Europe. This review process, which is likely to be completed later this year, involves changes in NATO's strategy and force structures, including the development of smaller, more mobile and flexible active forces, increasing reliance on multinational formations, reduced readiness and training requirements and greater reliance on the ability to build up larger forces if and when they might be needed. In the nuclear field, the alliance will maintain for the foreseeable future an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional forces, based in Europe, and kept up to date where necessary. But the size and tasks of NATO's nuclear deterrent forces will change. NATO's political role is also changing to reflect the changed political situation in Europe. The alliance has extended the hand of friendship to the Soviet Union and the eastern European countries. Contacts between these countries and NATO are increasing in frequency and scope.