The Brussels and North Atlantic Treaties, 1947-1949: Documents on British Policy Overseas, Series I, Volume X

Sep 12, 2014

This volume documents the drafting, negotiation and signature of the treaty that has been the cornerstone of European defence for the past sixty-five years: the North Atlantic Treaty signed in April 1949.

The story begins at the end of 1947, when the British Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, became convinced of the need to persuade the United States of America, which had emerged from the Second World War as the pre-eminent global military and economic power and one of the only two superpowers, to underwrite the future security of Western Europe. It progresses through the negotiation of the Brussels Treaty of March 1948—an essential prerequisite to securing American participation in a wider defensive system—and ends with the signature of the North Atlantic Treaty after a series of setbacks, difficulties and security threats. The documents, drawn from the archives of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Cabinet Office and No. 10 (with some transferred into the public domain for the first time), demonstrate how diplomatic skills and determination, inspired by Bevin’s vision, led to a system of collective security that played an indispensable part in the preservation of peace between East and West for the rest of the twentieth century.