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In 1939, Clarence Streit, a New York Times correspondent at the League of Nations, published his work Union Now. A proposal for a federal union of the leading democracies, Union Now advocated the gradual growth of a democratic world federation as a means of forestalling the possibility of future wars. In 1940, a year later, Streit founded the Association to Unite the Democracies, then called Federal Union, Inc., a non-profit membership organization committed to the burgeoning federalist movement influenced by his timely book.

Streit offered the federal union idea as a method of defending the free world against these totalitarian regimes with an expectation that they could eventually become integrated members of the union once they were replaced with democratic governments rooted in freedom. Thus, from the very beginning, the mission of the AUD has been to defend, extend and sustain individual liberty and peace.

In early 1949, AUD spawned the Atlantic Union Committee, with former Supreme Court Justice Owen J. Roberts as Chairman, former Under-Secretary of State Will Clayton and former Secretary of War Robert Patterson as Vice Chairman, in an intensive nationwide campaign for Atlantic integration. This was the climate in which NATO was proposed, the stage already being set by the Marshall Plan of which Clayton was the principal author. In the period 1949-53, the Atlantic Union Committee (AUC) became the primary organization in America supporting NATO. In the early 1950's, the AUC took the initiative to form an Atlantic Assembly, as an annual consultative assembly of parliamentarians from the NATO countries, which formally became the North Atlantic Assembly in 1966, and then was transformed into the NATO Parliamentary Assembly under which name it exists today. Other AUD members and supporters involved in the cause, including George Marshall, Robert Schumann, Theodore Achilles, Will Clayton, Lester Pearson, and Paul Henri-Spaak, played key roles in the birth of the Marshall Plan, NATO and the European Community.

Today, AUD continues to promote the ideals of democracy, international peace and a community where people would consider themselves “part of the world and not a world apart” as described by Clarence Streit in Union Now in 1939. At the same time, we realize that no result can be achieved without adjusting our work to the new challenges in the international arena, such as the need for more freedom, democracy and transparency in the globalizing world and new security threats after the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

Our major priorities are now to reinforce the Euro-Atlantic link working on the issues of NATO/EU enlargement and Transatlantic relations and to facilitate the spread of democracy and freedom by means of education and intercultural exchange.


Ambassador Achilles: "If it hadn't been for Union Now, I don't think there would have been a NATO Treaty."

Hubert Humphrey: "We stand now at the threshold of a new age-an age in which all of us along the Atlantic basin, all of us who share common heritage and common values will be able to work together, freely yet effectively, toward man's final liberation around the world."

Richard Nixon: "It is fitting that the United States, the world's first truly federal government, should be a main force behind the effort to find a basis for a broad federation of free Atlantic Nations."

Nelson Rockefeller: "Our generation is called on for a pioneering act of political creativity and economic construction -on an intercontinental scale. The practical first step would be to form a federal political structure for the North Atlantic Area."

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