NATO Statement on Achieving Stability in Europe
As the Cold War wound down, NATO’s mission underwent a gradual shift from one of insuring the security of member nations through the deterrence of military aggression to one of fostering the integration of Eastern European countries into a new world order. Earlier, in 1967, following a series of statements the previous year from France, West Germany, the US, and the Soviet Union calling for a relaxation of East-West tensions, a NATO report initiated by Belgian Foreign Minister Pierre Harmel on “The Future Tasks of the Alliance” asserted that NATO should support efforts at détente by pursuing political initiatives in order eventually to reach a “peaceful settlement” to “end the unnatural barriers between Eastern and Western Europe.” In December 1988, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev delivered what he called a “watershed” address at the United Nations, announcing that he planned unilaterally to reduce Soviet military forces by 500,000, cut conventional armaments massively, and withdraw substantial numbers of armaments and troops from Eastern European countries. Less than two months later, in the following address to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, attended by some 900 business leaders and public officials from more than 50 countries, NATO Secretary General Manfred Wörner set out a cautious response to Gorbachev, invoking NATO’s foundational document, the Treaty of Washington, and the Harmel Report, to signal a potential shift in mission to prioritize political initiatives.
Manfred Wörner. "Stability in Europe - NATO's way forward," speech, Davos, Switzerland, February 1, 1989, NATO, Online Library, NATO (accessed May 14, 2008).