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Statement by Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg of Michigan in support of the North Atlantic Treaty, July 6, 1949

Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg of Michigan persuasively assured Senate colleagues that the North Atlantic Treaty was limited in scope and would not undermine Congress’s power to declare war. In this letter to Vice President Alben Barkley, president of the Senate, he outlined the reasons the Senate should support the treaty, among them that it would safeguard collective security, democracy, and the rule of law.

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

My view is that this Treaty is the most sensible, powerful, practicable and economical step the United States can now take in the realistic interest of its own security

Statement by Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg - Image 1 Statement by Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg - Image 2 Statement by Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg - Excerpt

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.