- State Department Fact Sheet on the Enlargement of NATO: Why enlarging NATO strengthens U.S. security
USIS Washington File
- February 11, 1998
- Washington -- The State Department issued a document February 11 on
the enlargement of NATO explaining in detail "why adding Poland, Hungary
and the Czech Republic to NATO strengthens American national security."
- President Clinton had just spoken in the Benjamin Franklin Room at
the department prior to signing the NATO Enlargement Protocol which will
now be transmitted to the U.S. Senate. The protocol will officially initiate
the process of accession that will add Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic
- Quoting from comments by Secretary of State Albright made last year
on why NATO enlargement "is good for the United States," the
February 1998 State Department document carries these explanations:
- "NATO enlargement will make America safer. Europe remains vital
to American interests, and NATO is the most effective institution for protecting
the security of the transatlantic area. Adding Poland,
- Hungary, and the Czech Republic to the Alliance will extend NATO's
stabilizing influence to more of Europe and reduce the chances of aggression
or conflict in Central Europe -- a region that helped spawn both of this
century's World Wars and the Cold War.
- "NATO enlargement will make NATO stronger. The three new members
will add approximately 200,000 troops to NATO's ranks that can help NATO
carry out its missions; indeed, these three states already are contributing
over 1,000 troops to the NATO-led mission in Bosnia. NATO has added new
members three times since its founding in 1949; now, as then, enlargement
will make NATO stronger.
- "NATO enlargement will help consolidate democracy and stability
in Central Europe. To join NATO, states must be solid market democracies
and have good relations with their neighbors. Just the prospect of NATO
enlargement has encouraged states in the region to conclude nearly a dozen
major agreements to settle border and ethnic disputes; Poland, Hungary,
and the Czech Republic have settled all border issues with their neighbors.
- "Enlargement will help erase the Cold War dividing line. It would
be wrong to exclude qualified Central European democracies from Western
institutions simply because they were held behind the Iron Curtain against
their will. By admitting these three states, and holding the door open
to other new members in the future, NATO enlargement will help to erase
the outdated and illegitimate Cold War dividing line."
- Following is the State Department text:
- (begin text)
- The Enlargement of NATO
- Why Adding Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to NATO Strengthens
American National Security
- Released by the Office of the Secretary, Office of NATO Enlargement
- February 1998
- "The bottom line is clear: Expanding NATO will enhance our security.
It is the right thing to do."
- "We must not fail history's challenge at this moment to build
a Europe peaceful, democratic, and undivided, allied with us to face new
security threats of the new century -- a Europe that will avoid
- repeating the darkest moments of the 20th century and fulfill the
- brilliant possibilities of the 21st."
- President Clinton
- May 31, 1997
- "A larger NATO will make us safer by expanding the area in Europe
- where wars simply do not happen."
- Secretary of State
- Madeleine Albright
- October 7, 1997
- Why Is NATO Enlargement Good for the United States?
- NATO enlargement will make America safer. Europe remains vital to American
interests, and NATO is the most effective institution for
- protecting the security of the transatlantic area. Adding Poland,
- Hungary, and the Czech Republic to the Alliance will extend NATO's
stabilizing influence to more of Europe and reduce the chances of
- aggression or conflict in Central Europe -- a region that helped spawn
both of this century's World Wars and the Cold War.
- NATO enlargement will make NATO stronger. The three new members will
add approximately 200,000 troops to NATO's ranks that can help NATO carry
out its missions; indeed, these three states already are contributing over
1,000 troops to the NATO-led mission in Bosnia. NATO has added new members
three times since its founding in 1949; now, as then, enlargement will
make NATO stronger.
- NATO enlargement will help consolidate democracy and stability in Central
Europe. To join NATO, states must be solid market democracies and have
good relations with their neighbors. Just the prospect of NATO enlargement
has encouraged states in the region to conclude nearly a dozen major agreements
to settle border and ethnic disputes; Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic
have settled all border issues with their neighbors.
- Enlargement will help erase the Cold War dividing line. It would be
wrong to exclude qualified Central European democracies from Western institutions
simply because they were held behind the Iron Curtain against their will.
By admitting these three states, and holding the door open to other new
members in the future, NATO enlargement will help to erase the outdated
and illegitimate Cold War dividing line.
- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the most successful
alliance in history. For almost 50 years, it has been the primary
- shield for protecting peace in Europe and the principal institution
- uniting America and Europe in defense of our common interests. Now,
in order to make Europe even more stable and our own country more secure,
the United States and its NATO allies have decided to invite three
- additional states to join the Alliance -- Poland, Hungary, and the
- Czech Republic.
- This proposal requires ratification by the United States, including
- two-thirds vote in the U.S. Senate, which is expected to vote on the
measure in early 1998. The decision is one of great consequence and demands
careful and bipartisan consideration by the Congress and the American public.
The North Atlantic Treaty of 1949, upon which NATO is based, involves solemn
security guarantees. The inclusion of additional states will entail additional
costs to all of the Alliance's members -- current and new. The enlargement
of NATO will benefit American security in a number of ways but has a range
of implications for many aspects of U.S. foreign policy that merit
- This pamphlet is designed to explain what NATO is, how it plans to
- these new members, and why this step, combined with other current
- policies, will advance the security interests of the United States
- all of Europe.
- NATO Members
- Belgium Germany Luxembourg Spain
- Canada Greece The Netherlands Turkey
- Denmark Iceland Norway United Kingdom
- France Italy Portugal United States
- Introduction: Changes in Europe; Challenges for NATO
- The end of the Cold War transformed Europe and the context in which
- NATO operates. The Berlin Wall has fallen. New democracies with
- thriving market economies have emerged across Central Europe. Germany
has been reunited. The Soviet Union has dissolved; a democratic Russia
and more than a dozen other independent states have taken its place. Such
changes in Europe were unimaginable less than a decade ago.
- These changes hold great promise for the United States. The dangerous
- nuclear-armed superpower standoff of the Cold War is over. The
- imminent threat of massive land invasion in Europe is gone. The
- subjugation of European states has ended. The end of bloc-to-bloc
- confrontation creates opportunities for nuclear and conventional arms
- control, as well as for improved cooperation on a host of common
- challenges from trade, to international crime, to the environment.
- The rise of free market democracies in the place of the former Soviet
- bloc also serves our interests. Democratic countries are less likely
- to attack us and other democracies, and the blossoming of free market
- economies creates opportunities for U.S. businesses and workers. The
- interest of the United States lies in consolidating these trends and
- helping to build an undivided, democratic, peaceful Europe for the
- first time in its history. Both the current and preceding
- administrations have relied on a variety of means -- bilateral
- relations, arms control accords, and a number of multilateral
- institutions -- to work toward that goal.
- Even with the end of the Cold War, NATO remains the vital link in our
- security relations across the Atlantic. The 16-member Alliance is
- helping to build a new Europe. It has streamlined its command
- structure and reduced its force levels, with U.S. troop strength in
- Europe down from more than 300,000 during the Cold War to about
- 100,000 today. NATO has taken on new missions, such as the one in
- Bosnia, where troops from the U.S. and other NATO countries are
- working side by side with those from Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary,
- the Czech Republic, and other non-NATO countries. They have succeeded
- in stopping the killing in Europe's worst conflict since World War
- NATO also has reached out to other nations. In 1994 NATO launched the
- Partnership for Peace. This program, which now includes 27 non-NATO
- states, is open to all the countries of Europe and the former Soviet
- Union and enables peaceful military-to-military cooperation, such as
- joint training exercises and the exchange of information. In May 1997,
- President Clinton and the other NATO leaders signed the NATO-Russia
- Founding Act, reflecting the desire to build a new and constructive
- relationship with a democratic, peaceful Russia. NATO also has
- established a charter with Ukraine and formed the Euro-Atlantic
- Partnership Council to enhance political discussion between NATO and
- its partner states.
- The most important change NATO has undertaken is the addition of new
- members. At the Madrid summit in July 1997, President Clinton and the
- other NATO leaders unanimously decided to invite Poland, Hungary, and
- the Czech Republic to begin the process of joining NATO. NATO also
- declared that the Alliance would keep its door open to other candidate
- states as well. Meeting in Brussels on December 16, 1997, Secretary
- State Madeleine Albright and her NATO counterparts signed the
- documents to add the three new members to the Alliance. This addition
- of new members requires ratification by all 16 current NATO members,
- including the approval of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate. The Senate
- expected to vote on the addition of these first three states in the
- coming months. Members of both parties and both chambers in Congress
- already have examined questions regarding NATO enlargement in great
- depth. The Senate alone held 10 hearings on this issue before four
- different committees in 1997, and more hearings are anticipated in
- early 1998. NATO's goal is that all member nations ratify the
- Alliance's enlargement by April 1999, the date of the next NATO
- Why Is Europe Important to the United States?
- Why should we consider Europe's security to be "vital" to
- States? What interests do we have there?
- These are fundamental questions. In the early days of our nation,
- George Washington warned against entangling alliances, and as a
- relatively new and weak state we steered clear of being tied to an
- alliance with any of Europe's quarreling powers.
- But with the rise of the United States as a major economic, political,
- and military power in this century, it became clear that standing
- aloof from Europe's problems was neither possible nor desirable. After
- being drawn into World War I, the U.S. tried to retreat into
- isolation, rejecting the League of Nations and undermining the Treaty
- of Versailles. But bitter experience demonstrated that Europe's
- problems soon become our own. Adolf Hitler proved that an aggressor
- bent on European domination also would threaten U.S. interests and
- shores. American involvement in World War II produced combat losses
of nearly 300,000 of our own people and tens of millions more worldwide.
- After World War II, the United States took a better course. The U.S.
- made a decision to remain engaged in Europe's security. In 1947
- President Truman launched the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe and
- prevent its postwar poverty from becoming a breeding ground for new
- instability. The U.S. and European states also launched a series of
- economic, political, and security institutions -- including the North
- Atlantic Treaty Organization --ÿ20designed to help pull European
- countries closer together, to remove the sources of conflict, and to
- deter future aggression.
- The establishment of these institutions and America's new commitments
- to Europe reflected the unique nature of our transatlantic bonds --
- bonds of history, heritage, culture, commerce, shared security
- interests, and shared values. A half-century later, these bonds remain
- strong. Europe, taken as a whole, is America's largest economic
- partner, accounting for $250 billion in annual two-way trade, and
- another $250 billion in investment. Our commerce with Europe accounts
- for millions of American jobs.
- Similarly, Europe's states have worked with us in worldwide security
- efforts, from the Gulf war, to the sanctions that helped end apartheid
- in South Africa, to today's NATO-led mission in Bosnia, where almost
- three-quarters of the troops are European. It is inconceivable for
- U.S. to approach the security challenges or commercial opportunities
- of the next century without European states as our core partners and
- What Is NATO?
- One of the boldest international steps taken by the United States
- after World War II was the signing in 1949 of the North Atlantic
- Treaty and its creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
- This step represented an acknowledgment on both sides of the Atlantic
- that it was essential for the United States to stay engaged in
- European security, and that a military alliance represented an
- indispensable way of doing so. NATO, originally formed with 12 states,
- has become the most successful alliance in history. Subsequent
- expansions have brought the Alliance to 16 members.
- The security obligations of NATO members to one another are described
- by the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949 (sometimes called the "Washington
- Treaty"). NATO provides a mechanism for its members to discuss
common security concerns, coordinate their security policies in mutually
- beneficial ways, and prepare for common security challenges through
- participation in an integrated military command structure. Each NATO
- country retains sovereignty over its own troops, yet works with the
- other allies to designate which of its forces are available to
- cooperate with allied counterparts, and then to coordinate necessary
- planning and training. Although NATO's existence and operations are
- consistent with the Charter of the United Nations, it is not a part
- the United Nations organization.
- NATO makes all of its decisions by consensus. All 16 members must
- agree on any action before it is taken. This requirement gives each
- its members, including the U.S., a veto over any NATO decision. Thus,
- NATO never deploys forces or enters into an operation without American
- approval, and American forces are never deployed as part of a NATO
- operation without the review, approval, and direct orders of the
- President and his military chain of command. The Alliance's top
- military officer in Europe -- the Supreme Allied Commander Europe --
- has always been an American general, reflecting America's substantial
- military contribution.
- NATO enlargement is critical to protecting and promoting our vital
- national security interests in Europe. If we fail to seize this
- historic opportunity to help integrate, consolidate, and stabilize
- Central and Eastern Europe, we would risk paying a much higher price
- Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen
- April 23, 1997
- The heart of NATO is its mission of collective defense of the soil
- NATO's members. This commitment is embodied in Article 5 of the North