Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the reception to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of NATO

  • 03 Apr. 2019 -
  • |
  • Mis à jour le: 04 Apr. 2019 02:08

(as delivered)

Secretary Pompeo, dear Mike,

First of all, thank you so much for your strong leadership and your strong personal commitment to our Alliance.

And for your generous invitation.

The fact that you are hosting us all here tonight is yet another example of how you are devoted to the idea of the transatlantic partnership.

And this is really the perfect venue for celebrating the 70thanniversary of our Alliance.



Ladies and Gentlemen,

Seventy years ago, twelve sovereign nations gathered here to sign the North Atlantic Treaty we have to the right.

And every time we have returned, to celebrate NATO’s twentieth, fiftieth and now seventieth anniversary,

our family has grown bigger and stronger.

From 12 and to soon 30 friends and Allies.

So I cannot think of any better place to celebrate 70 years of the world’s most successful Alliance, than in this room.

With all of you here together tonight.

NATO’s founding fathers were visionary leaders.

Architects of a global system that would bring 70 years of unprecedented peace and prosperity.

One of them was Norwegian Foreign Minister, Halvard Lange.

Lange spent three years in concentration camps during the Second World War.

So he felt deeply the value of freedom and democracy.

On signing the NATO Treaty, he said:

"our pact is a pact for peace.

Directed against no nation.

Solely against aggression itself."

His words ring just as true today, as they did 70 years ago.

A copy of this Treaty is written on the wall in the entrance of the NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

A daily reminder of the commitment that has kept us safe for seven decades.

It is one of the shortest international treaties ever.

But its reach is vast.

And it has stood the test of time.

Because we have united around our core commitment to protect and defend one another.

Like all partnerships, sometimes we have our differences.

But as President Truman said back in 1949, while we may "go about our business in different ways,

with different governments, economic systems, languages and cultures,

these differences present no real obstacle to the association of free nations,

devoted to the common cause of peace."

Time and again, Europe and North America have served together under the same flag.

For the same cause of freedom and democracy.

Deterring the Soviet Union.

Bringing stability to the Western Balkans.

Fighting terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Changing as the world around us changes.

And as we look together towards a more unpredictable world,

We continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder.

Investing more in defence.

Modernising our Alliance.

Addressing tomorrow’s challenges in cyber space.

But we can and must do more together.

To guarantee the security and prosperity of each and every one of our nations,

Our way of life,

Our common values,

Our mutual interests.

So tomorrow we will continue our discussions about the future of our Alliance.

To ensure we remain a modern Alliance, fit for future challenges.

Thank you so much, and congratulations for the 70 years.