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Commemorating 70 years of the North Atlantic Treaty (NATO)

9:00 AM

National Museum of American Diplomacy

In 1949, the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations created the North Atlantic Treaty to provide collective security against the Soviet Union. April 3, 2019 marked 70 years of a strategic military alliance among the signatories of the North Atlantic Treaty.

Secretary Mike Pompeo was joined by the 30 Foreign Ministers of the signatory countries for an event with the original Treaty Charter. The event took place in the same space the treaty was signed in 1949. Then known as the Departmental Auditorium is now the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.  Further, the gathering marked the first time that Northern Macedonia participated, with its accession documents formally submitted to the United States Senate.

During the reception, Secretary Pompeo noted the accomplishments of NATO and spoke about President Harry Truman’s aspirations for the alliance. Though there was doubt at the time that NATO would be a force of peace, Pompeo stated that,

the 12 founding nations knew better and over the years, their historic hopes have been vindicated.  The ‘fuller and happier life for our citizens’ that Truman sought has been realized.

NMAD presents pieces of NATO history

Throughout the day on April 4, NMAD displayed the accession instruments of the countries celebrating significant milestones since joining NATO. As the depository of NATO, Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty provides that “Any State so invited may become a Party to the Treaty by depositing its instrument of accession with the Government of the United States of America.” The event marked the first time that these instruments have ever been displayed for viewing. Therefore, several delighted Foreign Ministers had the opportunity to see these historic documents for the first time.

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NMAD, as the State Department’s museum on diplomacy and with curatorial expertise, properly laid out and displayed the accession instruments in an archival manner. NMAD staff also proudly served as informational docents for the original Treaty at the April 3 event. Staff answered questions and provided information about the history of the Charter and NATO.

Watch the recap of a historic day