Updated: 26-Oct-2001 1956

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1956. During the 20th Party Congress in February, Khrushchev reveals the extent of Stalin's atrocities and denounces the 'cult of personality'. But the USSR continues to maintain strict control over Eastern Europe. Signs of rebellion, such as the anti-regime riots in Poland in June or the more serious uprising in Hungary in October, are quickly suppressed by Soviet troops.

In May 1956 the NATO Council establishes a 'Committee of Three on Non-Military Cooperation' comprising the Foreign Ministers of Canada, Italy and Norway, to recommend ways in which the Council could better perform its task as a forum for consultation. In the Committee's report, which was adopted the following December, the Ministers - termed the Three Wise Men - call on member governments to inform the Council of any developments which would have a significant impact on the Alliance so that effective consultations could take place.

They emphasise that the need is not merely for broadening and deepening consultation but 'for all members to make consultation in NATO an integral part of the making of national policy.' Uppermost in their minds would have been just such a development which occurred as they were preparing their report. Following the nationalisation of the Suez Canal in July by President Nasser of Egypt, Britain and France intervene militarily, an action that is vigorously opposed by the United States.


24 Febr

At the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Policy,
Khrushchev denounces Stalin in a “secret” speech.

18 Apr

Dissolution of Cominform.

28 June

Anti-régime riots erupt at Poznan in Poland.

26 July

Egypt nationalises the Suez Canal.

4 Nov

Soviet suppression of Hungarian people’s rebellion.

13 Dec

The North Atlantic Council approves the recommendations contained in the Report of the Committee of Three on Non-Military Cooperation in NATO.

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