A rare glimpse of the document that started NATO

Pages from the North Atlantic Treaty (National Archives)
Pages from the North Atlantic Treaty (National Archives)

As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) marks its 70th anniversary and its member countries prepare for the April 3-4 meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Washington, the National Archives Museum is offering a rare opportunity to view the treaty.

At the signing ceremony on April 4, 1949, President Harry S. Truman said the treaty “would create a shield against aggression and fear of aggression — a bulwark which will permit us to get on with the real business of … achieving a fuller and happier life for all of our citizens.”

Three men standing around a table as one man signs a document (National Archives)
President Harry S. Truman (center) watches Secretary of State Dean Acheson (seated) sign the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949. (National Archives)