NATO 50 Speeches & 
The Washington Declaration

Signed and issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in
the meeting
of the North Atlantic Council in Washington D.C.
on 23rd and 24th April 1999

1. We, the Heads of State and Government of the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance, declare for a new century our mutual commitment to defend our people, our territory and our liberty, founded on democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The world has changed dramatically over the last half century, but our common values and security interests remain the same.

2. At this anniversary summit, we affirm our determination to continue advancing these goals, building on the habits of trust and co-operation we have developed over fifty years. Collective defence remains the core purpose of NATO. We affirm our commitment to promote peace, stability and freedom.

3. We pay tribute to the men and women who have served our Alliance and who have advanced the cause of freedom. To honour them and to build a better future, we will contribute to building a stronger and broader Euro-Atlantic community of democracies - a community where human rights and fundamental freedoms are upheld; where borders are increasingly open to people, ideas and commerce; where war becomes unthinkable.

4. We reaffirm our faith, as stated in the North Atlantic Treaty, in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and reiterate our desire to live in peace with all nations, and to settle any international dispute by peaceful means.

5. We must be as effective in the future in dealing with new challenges as we were in the past. We are charting NATO's course as we enter the 21st century: an Alliance committed to collective defence, capable of addressing current and future risks to our security, strengthened by and open to new members, and working together with other institutions, Partners and Mediterranean Dialogue countries in a mutually reinforcing way to enhance Euro-Atlantic security and stability.

6. NATO embodies the vital partnership between Europe and North America. We welcome the further impetus that has been given to the strengthening of European defence capabilities to enable the European Allies to act more effectively together, thus reinforcing the transatlantic partnership.

7. We remain determined to stand firm against those who violate human rights, wage war and conquer territory. We will maintain both the political solidarity and the military forces necessary to protect our nations and to meet the security challenges of the next century. We pledge to improve our defence capabilities to fulfill the full range of the Alliance's 2lst century missions. We will continue to build confidence and security through arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation measures. We reiterate our condemnation of terrorism and our determination to protect ourselves against this scourge.

8. Our Alliance remains open to all European democracies, regardless of geography, willing and able to meet the responsibilities of membership, and whose inclusion would enhance overall security and stability in Europe. NATO is an essential pillar of a wider community of shared values and shared responsibility. Working together, Allies and Partners, including Russia and Ukraine, are developing their cooperation and erasing the divisions imposed by the Cold War to help to build a Europe whole and free, where security and prosperity are shared and indivisible.

9. Fifty years after NATO's creation, the destinies of North America and Europe remain inseparable. When we act together, we safeguard our freedom and security and enhance stability more effectively than any of us could alone. Now, and for the century about to begin, we declare as the fundamental objectives of this Alliance enduring peace, security and liberty for all people of Europe and North America.

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