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April 4, 2019 -- The foreign ministers of NATO celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding pact of the Alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty, in Washington DC, where it was signed.
NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, was founded in the aftermath of World War II “to secure peace in Europe, to promote cooperation among its members and to guard their freedom – all of this in the context of countering the threat posed at the time by the Soviet Union.”
Twelve states – Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States – signed the treaty, and U.S. General Dwight Eisenhower was named NATO’s first supreme commander. NATO has added new members seven times since its foundation, and now has 29.
The treaty “sets out the idea of collective defence, meaning that an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies,” according to the NATO mission statement.
Before taking office U.S. President Donald Trump called NATO “obsolete,” and has questioned whether the U.S. would honour the founding principle of mutual defence for its newest member, Montenegro. U.S. officials continue to stress that Washington remains fully committed to NATO but Trump continues to berate European allies for not spending enough on their militaries.