The three baskets of the CSCE

The June 1973 Final Recommendations of the Helsinki Consultations (FRHC), which set the agenda for the work of each of the three committees in Stage II of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), defined the three main chapters or ‘baskets’ of the negotiations forming part of the CSCE process:

— questions relating to security in Europe,

— cooperation in the fields of economics, of science and technology, and of the environment, and

— cooperation in humanitarian and other fields.

Committee I, on questions relating to security in Europe, was responsible for considering and stating those ‘basic principles which each participating State is to respect and apply in its relations with all other participating States, irrespective of their political, economic or social systems, in order to ensure the peace and security of all participating States’. In addition, it was to study proposals for a method for the peaceful settlement of disputes among participating States. Finally, it had to submit to the Conference appropriate proposals on measures such as the prior notification of major military manoeuvres and the exchange of observers by invitation at military manoeuvres under mutually acceptable conditions. Two subcommittees were assigned, respectively, to the Decalogue of principles and to confidence-building measures, while a special working party was set up to study a Swiss draft text on the peaceful settlement of disputes.

Committee II was to be responsible for drawing up a draft final document/documents containing guidelines and practical recommendations which could stimulate common efforts for increased cooperation in the fields of economics, science and technology and the environment. Assisted by five subcommittees, it would consider the following questions: commercial exchanges, industrial cooperation and projects of common interest, science and technology, environment and cooperation in other areas (transport, tourism, migrant labour, training of personnel).

Assisted by four subcommittees, Committee III was instructed to review all possibilities of cooperation conducive to creating better conditions for increased cultural and educational exchanges, for broader dissemination of information, for contacts between people, and for the solution of humanitarian problems.

In considering questions covered by their initial mandate, both Committee I and Committee II were to bear in mind the relationship which existed between their fields of cooperation in Europe and in the Mediterranean area. The question of Mediterranean cooperation would, finally, form part of the second basket as a separate chapter.

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