March 18, 1949 – Dean Acheson And The North Atlantic Pact – NATO
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This day in 1949 had much to with the ongoing squabble between the the West and the Soviet Union. As the Cold War continued and grew with intensity, The U.S. and its European counterparts adopted the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
On March 18, 1949, Secretary of State Dean Acheson went before the American people to discuss and to outline with this proposed treaty, what this pact of Western Allies, was all about.
Dean Acheson: “The United Nations seeks to maintain peace and security by enjoining its members from using force to settle international disputes. Moreover, it insists that they acknowledge tolerance and cooperation as the guiding principles for the conduct of nations.
The members are expected to settle differences by the exercise of reason and adjustment, according to the principles of justice and law. This requires a spirit of tolerance and restraint on the part of all the members.
But, as in any other institution which proposes restraint, violence or obstruction can be used to defeat the basic undertaking. This happens in personal relations, in families, communities, churches, politics, and everywhere in human life. If the system is used in way it was not intended to be sued, there is grave danger that the system will be disrupted.
That applies to the United Nations, The system is not working as effectively as we hoped because of its members has attempted to prevent it from working. By obstructive tactics and the misuse of the veto, the Soviet Union has seriously interfered with the work for the Security Council in maintaining peace and security.”
Needless to say, the move infuriated the Soviet Union. And when West Germany was folded into the NATO Alliance in 1955, Moscow, in retaliation formed The Warsaw Pact, which sought to counteract what NATO had set out to do.
The Warsaw Pact is no more. However NATO is still alive, and in the climate of this latest set of circumstances surrounding The Ukraine and Crimea, it’s a reminder of where these things went during that period of time known as the Cold War.
Here is that address by Secretary of State Dean Rusk, as it was first heard on March 18, 1949.