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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • August 02, 1963

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'Position Regarding NATO Multilateral Nuclear Force'

    Minister of Foreign Affairs Luns gives the new Marijnen cabinet a sketch of the multilateral NATO nuclear force situation so far. He is now of the opinion that the Netherlands should not join a multilateral NATO nuclear force. Minister of Defense De Jong says the Dutch government will need to take a position near the end of the year.

  • October 04, 1963

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'Discussion of NATO Nuclear Force'

    State Secretary of Foreign Affairs De Block, standing in for Minister Luns, presents his ministry’s paper on Dutch participation in talks regarding the MLF. The paper lays out the reasons for declining to participate so far, but argues that due to changes in the situation the Netherlands now should move to participate in the talks. Objections from the Ministers of Defense and Finance as well as concerns over resistance in parliament lead most of the discussion to be tabled until the following meeting.

  • October 09, 1963

    Memorandum, Dutch Joint Chiefs of Staff, 'Regarding the Military Desirability of the Creation of a NATO Multilateral Nuclear Force"

    Memorandum presented at 11 October 1963 meeting of the Dutch Council of Ministers. The memorandum is highly critical of the military merits of the proposed NATO Multilateral Nuclear Force, and argues that even if the MLF is created, the Netherlands should decline to participate.

  • October 11, 1963

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'Dutch Participation in Multilateral Nuclear Force Talks'

    Minister of Defense De Jong presents a memorandum from his joint chiefs of staff, the tenor of which he supports, which serves as the basis for an extended discussion. The memorandum is highly critical of the (military) merits of the MLF, but De Jong takes care to bracket his critique as coming strictly from the point of view of the Ministry of Defense. De Jong stresses that neither troops nor financial means can be made available for participation in the MLF. State Secretary of Foreign Affairs De Block proposes the formula: “to take part in the discussions on the clear understanding that it does not commit them [the Dutch] to participate in such a force.” Prime Minister Marijnen brings up a number of counterarguments to both military arguments against and political arguments in favor of the MLF.

  • November 22, 1963

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'Talks Regarding a Multilateral Nuclear Force'

    The Council accepts the proposal of Minister of Foreign Affairs Luns to inform the involved governments that the Netherlands is making preparations for participation in the Multilateral Force talks. The Ministers of Defense and Finance object that the existing defense budget and conventional forces ought not to be slighted as a result.

  • February 14, 1964

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'Multilateral Nuclear Force'

    The Council decides to participate in the NATO Multilateral Force test ship (the Mixed-Manning Demonstration, or MMD). Among the arguments that persuade the Minister of Defense is the danger of shifting the center of gravity to the German Federal Republic and the concomitant risk of giving Russia the impression that the whole project is a guise for providing the Germans with nuclear weapons.

  • October 30, 1964

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'Foreign Policy'

    The Council discusses the attitude of the French government regarding the negotiations about a common grain price and the Kennedy Round, which impact considerations regarding the desirability of the Multilateral Force (MLF). In the discussion of the MLF itself, it is increasingly clear that the position of the French and how the other states will deal with it are crucial for the project’s prospects. On the one hand it seems the Americans will push the MLF through regardless, but on the other hand the initiative seems to have lost some of its urgency. The Americans have signaled to the Dutch their irritation with the attitude of the French.

  • December 04, 1964

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'European Political Cooperation'

    Minister of Foreign Affairs Luns reports on a discussion he had with Jean Monnet on the EEC and the Multilateral Force (MLF), including topics such as the interconnection between these issues, the risk of a German nuclear force, and transatlantic relations in general. Luns also met with Undersecretary of State Ball, who was keen on moving ahead with the MLF and proposed holding a conference about it in The Hague, which Luns had to decline. Luns furthermore met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Couve de Murville, who put the blame with the Americans for inciting thoughts about nuclear independence on the part of the Germans. Minister of Defense De Jong responds by giving a broad military-strategic analysis, concluding that unity within NATO is essential to prevent American attention from shifting increasingly to Asia.