STREIT IN THE 21st CENTURY
More than sixty years ago, Clarence Streitís famous book Union Now helped set in motion a number of important Euro-Atlantic events. His 10,000 membersí strong organization, having experienced one of humanityís worst wars, committed to ending all future wars by forming a political and economic federal union of democracies. This union would far exceed any other force on the planet and thus prevent any future world wars. The proposal received wide acclaim and many great leaders of the time endorsed the idea: George Marshall, Harry Truman, Charles De Gaulle, Robert Schuman, John F. Kennedy, or Henry Kissinger were among Streitís supporters (see examples of letters below).
Although the movement waned in the United States, it continued to grow across the Atlantic. Streitís 1939 call for a union of democracies which would include a common citizenship, a defense force, a tariff-free market, and a common currency is now being answered in Europe. Today, we have an enlarging European Union including new members from the East, soon to have its own constitution.
Europeans have achieved a lot; the end of the integration process is in sight, yet not certain to be completed. Federalists should continue to work in solidarity drawing from the example of their predecessors in order to complete what Clarence Streit and his followers have started. As Clarence Streit first suggested in 1939, we must become ďpart of the world and not a world apartĒ. In the modern era, across so many cultures so diametrically opposed, we must discover means by which to facilitate the spread of freedom, intercultural exchange, and international understanding in the interest of global integration and conflict avoidance. Freedom and understanding strengthen democracy, and democracy strengthens 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.