THE NATION: Far-off Frontier

It was 5:37 p.m. on July 21, 1949 when the vote came, and the U.S. Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty. With the vote the formal frontier of U.S. defense leaped across 4,000 miles. It now ran from the windswept tundras of Norway, across the low-lying plains of The Netherlands and Belgium, down the scarred Rhine valley to a dust-hot road barrier outside troubled Trieste.

In the cluttered little Senate chamber where Clay and Webster had listened to the promulgation of James Monroe's chesty Doctrine 126 years ago, the atmosphere was tense. Every...

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