NATO and Africa 1949–89: An Overview

  • Christopher Coker


When NATO was first established in 1949 the need for co-operation outside Europe as well as within had been taken for granted. The British and French only desisted from pressing for a formal undertaking to defend their overseas possessions when they realised that the proposal would never have won the endorsement of the US Senate. Instead agreement was limited to Article 4 of the Atlantic Treaty by which the signatories agreed to consult each other “if in the opinion of any of them the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened.” It was generally understood at the time that the article did not apply to interests outside Europe. A harassed Dean Acheson explained in a secret testimony before Congress that if British or French warships were attacked by Soviet submarines in the Indian Ocean neither the United Kingdom nor France would be able to invoke the Atlantic Treaty.1 Aware of Congressional sensitivity on the matter the Truman administration settled for what it could get.


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

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  • Christopher Coker

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