|Updated: 20-Mar-2002||NATO Archives|
Background to the creation of a post of NATO Historical Officer (NHO)
Note by the International Staff Archives Section
Following a request by the Secretary General to the Executive Secretary on methods of recording factual information after the experience of the drafting of NATO The First Five Years , Lord Coleridge, in a memorandum dated 10th March 1955, suggested to the Secretary General that consideration should be given to establishing a post of NATO Historian reporting directly to the Secretary General. He felt that the Organization was lacking a regular interpretative history of events prepared on an annual basis.
There was also in the late 50's and early 60's some concern at a lack of proper documentation and official records particularly of the early years of the Organization.
In 1959, the Assistant Secretary General for Political
Affairs in a Report to the North Atlantic Studies Committee on a proposed
sequel to "NATO The First Five Years" by Lord Ismay, recommended
that NATO should have a permanent historical Section, headed by a Director
and responsible to the Secretary General. This recommendation was forwarded
to the North Atlantic Council and approved.
Mr. van Campen subsequently proposed that a post of Historical
Officer be created in the Political Affairs Division. This Officer would
write a series of classified surveys and monographs for internal or governmental
The monograph "The evolution of NATO political consultation 1949 - 1962 " ,dated 2nd May 1963, was reissued on 28th April 1967 at the request of Sub-group 2 of the Special Group on the Future Tasks of the Alliance ( or Harmel Report) , as it was felt it would be of interest to the work of the Sub-group.