297. Telegram 1370 From the Mission to North Atlantic Treaty Organization to the Department of State1 2


  • Remarks by Dr. Daniel P. Moynihan, Counsellor to the President at the Opening of the Second Meeting of the CCMS

One year ago on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the President of the United States, addressing the annual Ministerial meeting of the Alliance, set forth a hypothesis, having to do with relations of modern man to his environment.

The hypothesis contained three propositions:

The first proposition was that there existed within the nations of the North Atlantic Alliance a powerful, if still somewhat latent concern with the deterioration, indeed in many instances the degradation of the natural environment under the impact of technologically based industrialization. Correspondingly, there existed an equally wide spread conviction that the opportunities provided by the same technology to create a significantly more fulfilling and meaningful social environment had only begun to be realized.

The second proposition was that there was already in existence a considerable body of technical knowledge that if applied with sufficient vigor and purpose, would enable industrial societies to [Page 2] halt and to reverse the degradation of the natural environment, and also that the methodologies of contemporary social enquiry offered considerable possibilities for social advances.

The third proposition was that NATO countries, in the course of two decades of military alliance and political consultation, had acquired the governmental skills which would enable them to act in concert with respect to those aspects of the natural and social environment which either required international action, or which might best respond to a multinational effort.

Barely four months ago the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society, which the President of the United States proposed be established to pursue this hypothesis, met for the first time here in Brussels.

It is not my purpose to review what has happened, but simply to set forth the view, the very strong view, of the Government of the United States that, if anything, a year ago our President underestimated the mounting concern with these subjects in all our nations and the rapidly coalescing political and social will that something should be done to meet the challenge. In the four months since our first meeting, the United States has been intensely pursuing the three topics for which we offered ourselves as pilot country. These are difficult subjects; elusive in the face of analysis; obdurate in the face of effort. There are but limited grounds for optimism about any of them. Yet I should like to report the most extraordinary progress. In four months we feel we have made advances that would, quite literally have consumed four years in the normal pace of international affairs. It is altogether clear to us that a very different pace is now being set by our governments in some measure, but far more significantly by our peoples. We are not ahead; it already clear that we are behind, in many instances dangerously and inexcusably behind our citizenry in these matters.

Yet we have begun, and to our view begun splendidly. My government will be reporting on the specifics of our various projects in the course of this meeting. My purpose in speaking now is general. On behalf of the Government of the United States I should like to express our intensive and determined desire that we should not merely press the present agenda of the CCMS [Page 3] to completion, but that we should expand that agenda, both with respect to the subjects of our activities, and the range of nations with whom we engage in such activities. Secondly, I should like to reaffirm our conviction—a position stated explicitly by the Chairman—that action is the purpose of NATO and the purpose of this Committee.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, SCI 41 NATO. Unclassified; Priority. Repeated to USIA and all NATO capitals
  2. The Mission transmitted the text of Counsellor to the President Moynihan’s remarks delivered at the opening of the second meeting of the CCMS.