NATO Statement on Its Role in Reshaping East-West Relations
As the Cold War wound down, NATO’s mission underwent a gradual shift from one of insuring the security of member nations through the deterrence of military aggression to one of fostering the integration of Eastern European countries into a new world order. At the fortieth anniversary NATO summit held in Brussels at the end of May 1989, the heads of the member states issued a declaration that acknowledged the current period as “a juncture of unprecedented change and opportunities” and declared, “We want to move beyond the post-war period. . . . we seek to shape a new political order of peace in Europe.” Following the summit, President George H. W. Bush delivered a speech in Mainz, West Germany, in which he articulated that realizing NATO’s longtime vision of a Europe “whole and free” finally had become the “the new mission of NATO.” In the following address in October to a Eurogroup Seminar in Washington, NATO’s Secretary General Manfred Wörner reiterated this fundamental shift in mission from military to political initiatives—one that would continue into the 21st century—but also maintained that defense would remain an integral part of NATO’s operations.
Manfred Wörner, "Reshaping East-West Relations," speech, October 12, 1989, NATO, Online Library, NATO (accessed May 28, 2006).