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Letter from President Harry S. Truman to the Senate of the United States, April 12, 1949

President Harry S. Truman sent this letter to the Senate requesting that it consent to ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty, concluding it would achieve “a just and enduring peace.” The Senate voted in favor of ratification 82 to 13 on July 21, 1949. The North Atlantic Treaty was the first peacetime military alliance the United States entered into outside of the Western Hemisphere.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

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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.