Future of NATO

October 24, 1956

Report Outline
Current Resurvey of North Atlantic Alliance
Development of Allied Treaty Organization
Nato Military Estimates and Strategy

Current Resurvey of North Atlantic Alliance

European Unification and Future Role of Nato

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization may be approaching a turning point of vast significance for its future. Forces now at work may determine whether Nato will continue to play the role of principal defender of Western Europe; whether it will take on also tasks of political and economic coordination for the North Atlantic community; or whether it will gradually yield ground to a progressively integrated Europe which will develop its own institutions and policies independently of the United States.

The Suez Canal crisis, by exposing a lack of wholehearted American support for mutual British and French interests in a vital quarter, seems to have given a boost to the movement for European unification. Not only has a new cordiality become apparent in Anglo-French relations, but Great Britain, hitherto usually stand-offish toward integration projects on the Continent, has indicated willingness to participate in a European free trade zone, though not in an accompanying common market or customs union.

West German Chancellor Conrad Adenauer, faced by growing internal resistance to carrying through the large military contribution to Nato scheduled for his country, has been strongly advocating positive steps toward European integration. In a speech at Brussels on Sept. 25 Adenauer pointed out that the United States and the Soviet Union had “developed into political and economic world powers which eclipse all European nations.” Establishment of a European federation was essential, in his view, to meet “the imperative need of creating a common European policy” to prevent Europe from being pushed “off the stage of world events.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Jan. 2009  Future of NATO
Feb. 28, 2003  Future of NATO
May 16, 1997  Expanding NATO
Aug. 21, 1992  NATO's Changing Role
Mar. 22, 1974  Faltering NATO Alliance
Nov. 18, 1964  Reconstruction of NATO
Oct. 24, 1956  Future of NATO
Alliances and Security Agreements
Regional Political Affairs: Europe