North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.  A Western political defence association founded in 1949. NATO does not have own secret service structures. Instead, a coordination intelligence unit works within NATO, which utilises the information output of the  intelligence services of the member states.

The original membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization consisted of Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United States. NATO formed the backbone of the West’s military bulwark against the USSR and its allies for the next 40 years, with its membership growing larger over the course of the Cold War era. Greece and Turkey were admitted in 1952, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) in 1955 and Spain in 1982. Unhappy with its role in the organization, France opted to withdraw from military participation in NATO in 1966 and did not return until 1995.

See also: Warsaw Pact

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