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Atlantic Pact, drawing by Clifford Berryman, July 14, 1949

Cartoonist Clifford Berryman captured the close bipartisan relationship between the Senate’s two top foreign policy leaders—Senator Tom Connally, Democrat of Texas, and Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg, Republican of Michigan—during consideration of the North Atlantic Treaty. Both senators strongly advocated for its approval.

U.S. Senate Collection, Center for Legislative Archives, National Archives and Records Administration

Atlantic Pact, drawing by Clifford Berryman

Approving the North Atlantic Treaty

On July 21, 1949, the Senate voted to approve the North Atlantic Treaty for ratification. Written in 1947 and 1948 in response to concerns about Soviet threats to Western Europe, the treaty was a mutual defense pact between the United States, Canada, and 10 Western European nations. It laid the foundation for establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Senate’s approval of the treaty marked a significant break from America’s prior resistance to alliances with foreign nations. The treaty is the longest-standing alliance in U.S. history.