1. SOUNDBITE (English) Nicholas Burns, Former US Ambassador to NATO: ++SOUNDBITE PARTIALLY OVERLAID++
"We wouldn't have the great security that we have, from foreign attack, in the United States if we hadn't made this seven decade long commitment to keep American military forces in Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. To have this alliance where we support each other, it's so important. When I go around and talk about this, in our country, I tell the story of 9/11. I was a very new American ambassador to NATO on 9/11. We were six hours ahead of the East Coast in time and in the mid to late afternoon I couldn't reach anybody at the State Department, the Defense Department and the White House because they'd been evacuated. There was a fear of a second attack as you will remember, after we were devastated by the attacks on the Pentagon and the Twin Towers in Manhattan."
ARCHIVE: Hessen, West Germany - 1955
2. Various views, Operation Gordian Shield: tanks along roads
ARCHIVE: Brussels - 10 February 2003
3. STILL image of US Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns
ARCHIVE: New York - 11 September 2001
4. Tilt down view of workers at Ground Zero
5. Wide, Ground Zero
Washington - 29 March 2019
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Nicholas Burns, Former US Ambassador to NATO: ++SOUNDBITE PARTIALLY OVERLAID++
"And during that intervening time each of the NATO ambassadors came to me, led by the Canadian Ambassador, and they said we want to invoke Article 5 of the NATO treaty and a lot of Americans may not know what that is. The treaty says in Article 5, 'an attack on one of us will be considered an attack on all of us.' And this was the guarantee that if Stalin or Khrushchev had attacked in the darkest days of the Cold War the United States would come again across the Atlantic to protect Europe and the great irony is we only invoked Article 5 once in the history of those 70 years of NATO and that was September 12, 2001. On the next day we all sat around the table the NATO ambassadors and on behalf of our governments we invoked Article 5 and the irony is it was the Europeans and Canadians coming to the defense of the United States and what that meant was that when we went into Afghanistan following 9/11 every NATO ally came in with us. Every NATO ally has fought with us they have suffered 1000 more than 1000 combat deaths. The European allies and the partners they paid the price with us. You can't buy an alliance like that in the world today."
Washington - 1 April 2019
7. Various views, 1949 North Atlantic Treaty
8. Close-up pages with details of Article 5
New York - 11 September 2001
9. Various views of recovery workers at Ground Zero at night
Washington - 29 March 2019
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Nicholas Burns, Former US Ambassador to NATO: ++SOUNDBITE PARTIALLY OVERLAID++
"And I'll never forget when I called Condoleezza Rice who is on the 11th of September 2001 the National Security adviser to President George W. Bush I called her early in the morning of the 12th 4:00 a.m. Washington time I said Condi the allies want to invoke Article 5 with us they want to go to war with us, I need the President's permission, that we're going to agree to this and I'll go to war together. And she said 'go for it.' The president's behind this. The president wants you to do it and before we hung up on the phone she said you know it's good to have friends in the world. And I think on 9/11 we felt so embattled, we'd lost 3,000 people in Manhattan and at the Pentagon. We needed a friend and our friends stood up for us. That's why we need NATO and that's why it's highly relevant for the United States in 2019."
As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) marks its 70th anniversary this week, a former U.S. ambassador to the military alliance recalls how the coalition rallied to America's aid after one of its darkest days.
The United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom signed the initial treaty on April 4, 1949.
NATO, grew largely out of Cold War fears of Soviet aggression and expansionism following a communist coup in Czechoslovakia, the Soviet blockade of Berlin and other incidents.
Ambassador Nicholas Burns was at the start of his four year term as American Ambassador to NATO on September 11, 2001 when terror attacks hit New York's Twin Towers and the Pentagon.
"We were six hours ahead of the East Coast in time and in the mid to late afternoon I couldn't reach anybody at the State Department, the Defense Department and the White House because they'd been evacuated, " Burns said in an Associated Press interview.
A key provision of the treaty, the so-called Article 5, states that if one member of the alliance is attacked in Europe or North America, it is to be considered an attack on all of them.
"The treaty says in Article 5, 'an attack on one of us will be considered an attack on all of us.' And this was the guarantee that if Stalin or Khrushchev had attacked in the darkest days of the Cold War the United States would come again across the Atlantic to protect Europe, " Burns said.
"And the great irony is we only invoked Article 5 once in the history of those 70 years of NATO and that was September 12, 2001."
In its response, the alliance activated AWACS reconnaissance flights over the U.S. for months, operations that included 830 crew members from 13 NATO countries.
It also launched maritime operations in the Mediterranean, and participated in U.S.-led efforts in Afghanistan, where it has led the mission since 2003.
Military and defense , Terrorist attacks , Terrorism , War and unrest , General news , September 11 attacks , International relations , Government and politics , Cold War , Treaties , International agreements , Diplomacy
Condoleezza Rice , George W. Bush
North Atlantic Treaty Organization, U.S. Department of Defense, United States government
New York City , New York , United States , North America , Europe , Manhattan