Examination of Witness (Questions 1020
WEDNESDAY 7 JUNE 2000
1020. Was the assumption that the air strikes
would quickly be effective and therefore you would not need to
have it ready at that stage?
(General Naumann) It was not an assumption. It was
a hope which we all had and you presumably as well. I was on one
occasion asked in the NATO Council, "General, can you tell
us how long this will take us?" My answeryou may find
this in records of the NATO Councilwas, "No, I cannot
tell you. The only thing which I can with some confidence predict
is that under extremely favourable conditions it will take us
a minimum of seven days to neutralise the air defence system."
That was I think the only timing I ever gave.
1021. It took a lot longer than that, you did
not totally neutralise it.
(General Naumann) We did not have favourable conditions.
1022. Were the directives given to SACEUR by
the Military Committee accurately and punctually implemented?
(General Naumann) Yes. More or less, yes.
1023. More or less. Were SACEUR's representations
to the Military Committee considered in a timely and satisfactory
(General Naumann) I think SACEUR has reported accurately
and I think in a timely way. Most of the real debate on all these
issues took place in the Council. That was something we had to
learn in war, as well, it was the first time we used the Military
Committee in a war-type operation. The role of the Military Committee
in controlling an operation, as long as it is following the issue
of strategic guidance, is not, I should say, the role of a monitoring
body. We offer advice to the Council, whether SACEUR stays within
the guidance he is given or not. That is the only point on which
the Council has to take a decision. The Military Committee is
not a headquarters, if you allow me the comparison, it is not
a corps headquarters which watches anxiously what divisions are
doing, it is really at the strategic level.
1024. You hesitated slightly when you were asked
whether SACEUR had done what he was told, I do not want to cause
any problems between you and SACEUR, can you just slightly elaborate?
(General Naumann) I can tell you in all frankness
and all honesty the reason I slightly hesitated, on the first
or second day of the air campaign one nation raised the question
about whether SACEUR had been entitled to strike targets north
of 44 degrees. This one nation was not aware of the fact that
not only the phased air operation had been authorised but also
the limited air response. In the target set for the limited air
response targets north of 44 had been authorised. We had to help
this nation, and behind the Military Representative his political
authorities, to re-read the papers to which they had agreed and
that lead to a lengthy debate in the Military Committee, because
it was a nation which was well known for stubborn insistence on
1025. We do not have the slightest idea which
country you are referring to.
(General Naumann) I bet are you off-the-mark.
1026. General Naumann, your first conclusion
to the Armed Services Committee hearing in November was, "The
integrated command structure", by that you mean NATO, "worked
well. What needs to be improved are procedures to achieve unity
of command, to be exercised by NATO where parallel existing national
and NATO command arrangements are unavoidable." In a way,
that is echoed by the US Department of Defence report and the
comments of General Sheldon. It said, "Parallel US and NATO
commands, structures and systems, complicated operational planning
and maintenance of unity of command". Can you give some examples,
of the most serious kind, of how this came about? What these were?
(General Naumann) You may take from this differently
worded statement that Sheldon and I were making the same points.
Particularly, of course, it was true for the execution of the
US national command authority. I think SACEUR did what he could
do to bring the two systems together but, on the other hand, I
think a small remainder of conflict will remain with us and no
one can subject the American President to seek agreement for his
decision on American strategic assets, which are not assigned
to NATO by NATO. I think no nation would accept this. Why should
the Americans accept this. What we can do is, I think the Americans
learned this lesson as well, to better coordinate the use of strategic
assets in what I will call an operational campaign.
1027. In a way you are half hinting that the
United States is a problem here, although I can see other nations
saying, "If the United States can do that we could be different
from NATO in what we want to do". That could open up a whole
can of worms. Should the United States think seriously about giving
NATO a bit more authority in these circumstances?
(General Naumann) One has to explore it. As always
with our American friends, if they make a step one has to exploit
them, one has to explore how far they are willing to go and not
say, "It is insufficient because we Europeans are thinking
of something better". I also believe that some of our European
nations are not entirely free of making one or other reservation
with regard to the use of their forces. There are some nations
in NATO who are extremely frank and blunt. The Germans they will
stand and say, "Yes, sir, we cannot do it because the Minister
of Defence has not allowed us to do it". Others are more
elegant and will say, "Yes, sir, we will do it", they
will say a lot of friendly words and then add, "however the
weather is unfortunate", although there is a lot of sunshine.
1028. What you are hinting at, again, here is
that there is a counter-military approach, not just NATOs approach
and other countries. Perhaps, the United States in this instance
was running a different military approach to what was the accepted
(General Naumann) It would be the wrong conclusion
to say that the United States of America waged a war within a
war, that is not true. They provided assets which we did not have.
SACEUR tried to harmonise the impact these assets may have as
good as it could into NATOs campaign plan. Under the given circumstances
we could not have achieved much more.
1029. I come back to the point on how you tackle
this lack of unity and command where there is this national approach
as well. Are you saying that NATO needs to be given more autonomy
if there is a similar situation?
(General Naumann) Strictly speaking, from a NATO point
of view I think one has to make sure that a NATO Commander is
given the maximum unity of command and the right to really see
it through. Nations, I think, have to think throughI should
put it as cautiously as I canthey should prepare to think
through to which degree they are really willing to transfer authority
to NATO. At the moment the formulas which we have definitely allow
for improvements under difficult conditions, as we had.
1030. One question on a different aspect, however
you have touched on it in various answers, there is a report today
that Amnesty International have said that NATO, in their opinion,
was guilty of a war crime for the bombing of a TV station in Belgrade.
Of course last week NATO was acquitted, in effect, of war crimes
during that campaign. Are you able to comment or would you like
to comment on the Amnesty International view about the bombing
of the TV station?
(General Naumann) I can tell you I was still Chairman
of the Military Committee when we discussed this. In the NATO
Council we had quite a deep running debate about whether we should
include this category of targets as well. We then said, "Yes,
I think we have to do it". The media in Yugoslavia are not
like the media we see here in our countries. There you have no
freedom of expression, there you have a State controlled media,
so they are an instrument of warfare, a media which are an instrument
of propaganda. If my recollection is right, they are allowed to
be attacked under the Hague Convention of International War.
1031. Even if they are civilian?
(General Naumann) As soon as they are instruments
of propaganda they are allowed to be attacked. That is my recollection
but it may be slightly differently worded because back in the
days when I was a captain I had to teach that.
1032. General Naumann, thank you so much. It
was very stimulating and very enjoyable. Thank you for all the
work you have done in your military career, you are much too young
to retire. I hope our paths will cross again. I hope English traffic
allows you to get to your aircraft in the allotted time.
(General Naumann) You are extremely kind, Mr Chairman.
May I say, I enjoyed it very much and I appreciate the effort
you are making to record this event.