The North Atlantic Treaty, signed in
Washington, D.C. on 4 April 1949,
is the treaty establishing the North Atlantic
2.1 Founding members
2.2 Later members
3.1 Article 1
3.2 Article 2
3.3 Article 3
3.4 Article 4
3.5 Article 5
3.6 Article 6
3.7 Article 13
4 See also
7 Further reading
8 External links
The treaty was signed in
Washington, D.C. on 4 April 1949 by a
committee which was chaired by US diplomat Theodore Achilles. Earlier
secret talks had been held at the Pentagon between 22 March and 1
April 1948, of which Achilles said:
The talks lasted about two weeks and by the time they finished, it had
been secretly agreed that there would be a treaty, and I had a draft
of one in the bottom drawer of my safe. It was never shown to anyone
except Jack [Hickerson]. I wish I had kept it, but when I left the
Department in 1950, I dutifully left it in the safe and I have never
been able to trace it in the archives. It drew heavily on the Rio
Treaty, and a bit of the Brussels Treaty, which had not yet been
signed, but of which we were being kept heavily supplied with drafts.
The eventual North Atlantic
Treaty had the general form, and a good
bit of the language of my first draft, but with a number of important
According to Achilles, another important author of the treaty was John
More than any human being Jack was responsible for the nature,
content, and form of the Treaty...It was a one-man Hickerson
The treaty was created with an armed attack by the Soviet Union
against Western Europe in mind, but the mutual self-defense clause was
never invoked during the Cold War. Rather, it was invoked for the
first time in 2001 in response to the 11 September 2001 attacks
against the World Trade Center and
The Pentagon in Operation Eagle
NATO member nations
Animated map of
NATO membership over time
The following twelve nations signed the treaty and thus became the
founding members of NATO. The following leaders signed the agreement
as plenipotentiaries of their countries in Washington, D.C.:
Belgium – Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Paul-Henri Spaak
and Ambassador Baron Robert Silvercruys
Canada – Secretary of State for External Affairs Lester B.
Pearson and Ambassador H. H. Wrong
Denmark – Foreign Minister Gustav Rasmussen and Ambassador
France – Foreign Minister
Robert Schuman and Ambassador Henri
Iceland – Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Bjarni
Benediktsson and Ambassador Thor Thors
Italy – Foreign Minister
Carlo Sforza and Ambassador Alberto
Luxembourg – Foreign Minister
Joseph Bech and Ambassador
Hugues Le Gallais
Netherlands – Foreign Minister
Dirk Stikker and Ambassador
Eelco van Kleffens
Norway – Foreign Minister Halvard M. Lange and Ambassador
Wilhelm von Munthe af Morgenstierne
Portugal – Foreign Minister José Caeiro da Mata and
Ambassador Pedro Teotónio Pereira
United Kingdom – Foreign Secretary
Ernest Bevin and Ambassador
Oliver Franks, Baron Franks
United States – Secretary of State Dean Acheson
The following 17 nations joined the treaty after the 12 founding
Greece (joined in 1952)[N 1]
Turkey (joined in 1952)
Germany (joined in 1955)[N 2]
Spain (joined in 1982)
Czech Republic (joined in 1999)
Hungary (joined in 1999)
Poland (joined in 1999)
Bulgaria (joined in 2004)
Estonia (joined in 2004)
Latvia (joined in 2004)
Lithuania (joined in 2004)
Romania (joined in 2004)
Slovakia (joined in 2004)
Slovenia (joined in 2004)
Albania (joined in 2009)
Croatia (joined in 2009)
Montenegro (joined in 2017)
Article 1 states that: "The Parties undertake, as set forth in the
Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in
which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that
international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and
to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of
force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United
Article 2 states that: "The Parties will contribute toward the further
development of peaceful and friendly international relations by
strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better
understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are
founded, and by promoting conditions of stability and well-being. They
will seek to eliminate conflict in their international economic
policies and will encourage economic collaboration between any or all
Article 3 states that: "In order more effectively to achieve the
objectives of this Treaty, the Parties, separately and jointly, by
means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid, will
maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to
resist armed attack."
Article 4 states that: "The Parties will consult together whenever, in
the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political
independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened."
The treaty includes Article 4, which triggers not military
intervention but merely consultation over military matters when "the
territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of
the parties is threatened".
It has been invoked three times by Turkey: once in 2003 over the
Second Persian Gulf War (Iraq War), once in June 2012 after the
shooting down of a Turkish military jet, and once again in October
2012 after Syrian attacks on
Turkey and their counterattacks.
An Article 4 meeting was invoked by Latvia, Lithuania, and
Poland in March 2014 as a response to the extraterritorial 2014
Turkey announced plans to convoke under Article 4 an extraordinary
meeting on 28 July 2015, ostensibly in response to the 2015 Suruç
bombing, which it attributed to ISIS, and other security issues along
its southern border. A press statement released by the Alliance
declared that "
Turkey requested the meeting in view of the seriousness
of the situation after the heinous terrorist attacks in recent days,
and also to inform allies of the measures it is taking." The US
announced through the
New York Times
New York Times on 27 July that it had already
agreed "in general terms on a plan that envisions American warplanes,
Syrian insurgents and Turkish forces working together to sweep Islamic
State militants from a 60-mile-long strip of northern Syria along the
Turkish border... long-range artillery could be used across the
border." Concerns were expressed that the plan would put allied
warplanes closer than ever to areas that Syrian aircraft regularly
bomb; the plan did not determine the reaction if Syrian warplanes
attack allied personnel on the ground in what is Syrian territory.
Turkish Prime minister
Ahmet Davutoglu said the operations will
continue as long as
Turkey faces a threat, and discussed the situation
with UN secretary-general
Ban Ki-moon in a telephone call over the
weekend of 26 July. The US said that
Turkey "has a right to take
action" against the PKK, a Kurdish insurrectionary group that has
sought since 1984 autonomy from Turkey. A news report also
disclosed prior to the 28 July meeting that
Turkey had violated Iraqi
airspace in its pursuit of the PKK.
The key section of the treaty is Article 5. Its commitment clause
defines the casus foederis. It commits each member state to consider
an armed attack against one member state, in Europe or North America,
to be an armed attack against them all.
It has been invoked only once in
NATO history: by the United States
September 11 attacks
September 11 attacks in 2001. The invocation was
confirmed on 4 October 2001, when
NATO determined that the attacks
were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty.
The eight official actions taken by
NATO in response to the 9/11
Operation Eagle Assist and Operation Active
Endeavour, a naval operation in the
Mediterranean which was designed
to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction,
as well as enhancing the security of shipping in general. Active
Endeavour began on 4 October 2001.
In April 2012, Turkish PM
Erdogan considered invoking Article 5 of the
NATO treaty to protect Turkish national security in a dispute over the
Syrian Civil War. The alliance responded quickly and a
spokesperson said the alliance was "monitoring the situation very
closely and will continue to do so" and "takes it very seriously
protecting its members.” On April 17,
Turkey said it would raise
the issue quietly in the next
NATO ministerial meeting. On April
29, the Syrian foreign ministry wrote that it had received Erdogan's
message, which he had repeated a few days before, loud and clear.
On 25 June, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister said that he intended to
raise Article 5 at a specially-convened
NATO meeting because
of the downing of an "unarmed" Turkish military jet which was "13 sea
miles" from Syria over "international waters" on a "solo mission to
test domestic radar systems". A Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman
insisted that the plane "flying at an altitude of 100 meters inside
the Syrian airspace in a clear breach of Syrian sovereignty" and that
the "jet was shot down by anti-aircraft fire," the bullets of which
"only have a range of 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles)" rather than by
radar-guided missile. On 5 August, Erdoğan stated that "The tomb
of Suleyman Shah [in Syria] and the land surrounding it is our
territory. We cannot ignore any unfavorable act against that monument,
as it would be an attack on our territory, as well as an attack on
NATO land... Everyone knows his duty, and will continue to do what is
NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen later said in advance
of the October 2012 ministerial meeting that the alliance was prepared
to defend Turkey, and acknowledged that this border dispute concerned
the alliance, but underlined the alliance's hesitancy over a possible
intervention: “A military intervention can have unpredicted
repercussions. Let me be very clear. We have no intention to interfere
militarily [at present with Syria].” On 27 March 2014,
recordings were released on YouTube of a conversation purportedly
involving then Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Foreign
Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, then National
Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan, and Deputy Chief of
General Staff General Yaşar Güler. The recording has been reported
as being probably recorded at Davutoğlu's office at the Foreign
Ministry on 13 March. Transcripts of the conversation reveal that,
as well as exploring the options for Turkish forces engaging in false
flag operations inside Syria, the meeting involved a discussion about
using the threat to the tomb as an excuse for
Turkey to intervene
militarily inside Syria. Davutoğlu stated that
Erdogan told him that
he saw the threat to the tomb as an "opportunity".
Prior to the meeting of Defence Ministers and recently appointed
Jens Stoltenberg at Brussels in late June
2015, it was stated by a journalist, who referenced an
off-the-record interview with an official source, that "Entirely legal
activities, such as running a pro-Moscow TV station, could become a
broader assault on a country that would require a
NATO response under
Article Five of the Treaty... A final strategy is expected in October
2015." In another report, the journalist reported that "as part of
the hardened stance, the UK has committed £750,000 of its money to
support a counter-propaganda unit at NATO’s headquarters in
Article 6 states that the treaty only covers member nations'
territories in Europe and North America, and islands in the North
Atlantic north of the Tropic of Cancer, plus French Algeria. It was
the opinion in August 1965 of the US State Department, the US Defense
Department and the legal division of
NATO that an attack on the U.S.
Hawaii would not trigger the treaty, but an attack on the
other 49 would.
On 16 April 2003,
NATO agreed to take command of the International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, which includes troops
from 42 countries. The decision came at the request of
Germany and the
Netherlands, the two nations leading ISAF at the time of the
agreement, and all nineteen
NATO ambassadors approved it unanimously.
The handover of control to
NATO took place on 11 August, and
marked the first time in NATO's history that it took charge of a
mission outside the north Atlantic area.
Any party may quit
NATO one year after depositing its notice of
^ Joined as Kingdom of Greece.
^ Joined as West Germany.
^ a b "
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