Updated: 11-Jan-2021 NATO the first five years 1949-1954

by Lord Ismay

Secretary General

Foreword by the NATO International Staff Archives Section

Note: We apologise for any mistake which may have occurred
during the electronic capture of the text.




Part 1: History

  Chapter I Origins of the North Atlantic Treaty
  Chapter II The North Atlantic Treaty
  Chapter III The First Steps
  Chapter IV The Pace Quickens
  Chapter V Counting the Cost

Part 2: How NATO works

  Chapter VI The Civil Structure
  Chapter VII The Military Structure
  Chapter VIII The Annual Review

Part 3: What NATO has accomplished (1949-1954)

  Chapter IX The Increase in Strength
  Chapter X NATO Common Infrastructure
  Chapter XI The Development of Defence Production
  Chapter XII Self-help and Mutual Aid
  Chapter XIII Emergency Planning
  Chapter XIV Non-military Co-operation


  Chapter II
  1. The North Atlantic Treaty
  2. The Greece-Turkey Protocol
  3. Population, Area and Density of Population of NATO Countries
  Chapter V
  1. List of North Atlantic Council Deputies
  2. The European Defence Community Protocol
  Chapter VI
  1. List of Chairmen of the North Atlantic Council and of Permanent Representatives to the North Atlantic Council
  2. National Representation in the International Staff
  Chapter VII
  1. List of Chairmen of the Military Committee and Members of the Military Representatives Committee
  2. List of Members of the Standing Group
  3. List of Allied Commanders Europe
  4. List of Allied Commanders Atlantic
  5. List of Members of Channel Committee and Channel Commanders
  Chapter IX
  1. Total Defence Expenditures of NATO Countries
  2. Soviet Armed Strength


  1. Population and Area of NATO Countries
  2. The Organization in December 1949
  3. The Council appoints General Eisenhower Supreme Allied Commander Europe (facsimile of original document)
  4. The Organization in May 1951
  5. NATO Civil and Military Organization - July 1954
  6. Committees of the Council - July 1954
  7. NATO International Staff/Secretariat - July 1954
  8. NATO Military Organization - July 1954
  9. Allied Command Europe - July 1954
  10. Allied Command Atlantic - July 1954
  11. Total Armed Forces of NATO Countries
  12. Total Defence Expenditures of NATO Countries
  13. Cost Estimates of Projects under Construction and Planned 1954 (Infrastructure)
  14. Story of a NATO Airfield
  15. The Infrastructure Programme - 31st March 1954
  16. Expenditure by NATO Countries for Military Equipment
  17. Population and Gross National Product of NATO Countries - 1953
  18. US Economic and Military Aid
  19. US MDAP Offshore Procurement - 31st March 1954


  1. Chronicle
  2. Extracts from the Brussels Treaty
  3. The 'Vandenberg Resolution'
  4. Final Communiqués of the North Atlantic Council (September 1949-April 1954)
  5. Council Declarations
  6. Agreement between the Parties to the North Atlantic Treaty regarding the Status of their Forces
  7. Protocol on the Status of International Military Headquarters
  8. Agreement on the Status of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, National Representatives and International Staff

Supplementary appendices


Documents relating to the London and Paris Conferences (October, 1954)

  1. Final Act of the London Conference
  2. Documents relating to the Revision and Extension of the Brussels Treaty
  3. Documents relating to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
  4. Final Communiqué of the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council, 22nd October, 1954

NOTE: The documents printed in the Supplementary Appendices are concerned with the London and Paris Conferences of October, 1954. They fall, therefore, outside the period of NATO's history dealt with in the survey. Their inclusion - at the last minute -was decided because of their exceptional importance to the future of the Atlantic Alliance.
The Nine-Power Conference which ended in London on the 3rd October, 1954, elaborated agreements to reinforce the defence of the West and provide for a German contribution following the rejection by the French Assembly of the EDC Treaty. At their meetings in Paris (October 20th - 22nd), the Ministers put the finishing touches to the work they had begun in London, and on the 23rd October they signed agreements giving the Federal Republic her sovereignty, extending the Brussels Treaty to Italy and Germany, setting up the new Western European Organization, and allowing for the accession of the Federal Republic to the North Atlantic Treaty.
These agreements, when ratified and applied, will massively reinforce European and Atlantic unity. In conjunction with the Franco-German agreement on the Soar, and the Italo-Yugoslav agreement on Trieste, they constitute the most significant contribution to the maintenance of peace in the West since the signature on the 4th April, 1949 of the North Atlantic Treaty itself.


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