Born in 1897, Manlio Brosio studied law at the University of Turin and, during World War I, served as an artillery officer in an Alpine regiment. After graduating in 1920, he entered politics, becoming one of the leaders of the "liberal revolution" movement, but was then forbidden to take any part in politics because of his vehement opposition to fascism. During the occupation of Italy he went underground and was, from 1943 to 1944, a member of the National Liberation Committee. In 1943 he returned to the political scene, subsequently becoming Deputy Prime Minister and, from 1945 to 1946, Minister of Defence.
Italian Ambassador to Moscow from January 1947 until December 1951, Manlio Brosio took part in negotiations over the peace treaty, as well as the first post-war trade agreement between Italy and the Soviet Union. He was appointed Ambassador in London in 1952, then to the United States in 1955, and from 1961 to 1964 was Italian Ambassador in Paris. He was chosen by the North Atlantic Council to succeed Dirk Stikker as Secretary General of NATO in 1964. He resigned from the post in 1971 and was succeeded by Joseph Luns. Manlio Brosio died in 1980.