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Treaty of Brussels
Treaty of Economic, Social and Cultural Collaboration and Collective Self-Defence
Bevin, signing the treaty
Type Founding treaty
Signed 17 March 1948
Location "Brussels, "Belgium
Condition 23 October 1954 (as WEU)
Signatories "Belgium
"United Kingdom
Depositary Government of Belgium
Language English
Languages "English and "French
Treaty of Brussels at "Wikisource

The Treaty of Brussels was signed on 17 March 1948 between "Belgium, "France, "Luxembourg, the "Netherlands and the "United Kingdom, as an expansion to the preceding year's defence pledge, the "Dunkirk Treaty signed between Britain and France. As the Treaty of Brussels contained a mutual defence clause (Article IV), it established the "Western Union Defence Organization (WUDO). It also provided a basis upon which the 1954 "Paris Conference established the "Western European Union (WEU), after which the modified text was referred to as the Modified Brussels Treaty (MBT) - at this point the mutual defence clause became Article V.[1] It was terminated on 31 March 2010.[2]



The treaty was intended to provide "Western Europe with a bulwark against the communist threat and to bring greater collective security. There were cultural and social clauses and concepts for the setting up of a 'Consultative Council'. Co-operation between Western nations was believed to help stop the spread of Communism["citation needed].

As an effort towards European postwar security co-operation, the treaty was a precursor to "NATO in that it promised European mutual defence. However, it greatly differed from NATO in that it envisaged a purely-European mutual defence pact primarily against Germany. When NATO took shape the next year, on the other hand, it was recognised that Europe was being unavoidably divided into two opposing blocks (western and "communist), and the "USSR was a much greater threat than the possibility of a resurgent Germany, and Western European mutual defence would have to be "Atlanticist and so include "North America.

In September 1948, the parties to the Treaty of Brussels decided to create a military agency under the name of the "Western Union Defence Organization. It consisted of a WU Defence Committee at Prime Ministerial level, and a WU Combined Chiefs of Staff committee, including all the national chiefs of staff, which would direct the operative organisation.[3] "Field Marshal "Bernard Montgomery (UK) was appointed permanent Chairman of the Land, Naval and Air Commanders-in-Committee, with headquarters in "Fontainebleau, France. The nominated commanders-in-chief were General "Jean de Lattre de Tassigny (France) as C-in-C, Land Forces, Air Chief Marshal Sir "James Robb (UK) as C-in-C, Air Forces, and Vice-Admiral Robert Jaujard (France) for the Navy, as Flag Officer Western Europe.[4] Volume 3 of Nigel Hamilton's Life of Montgomery of Alamein gives a good account of the disagreements between Montgomery and de Lattre which caused much ill-feeling in the headquarters.

Trying to avoid the need for West German rearmament, "a treaty aimed at establishing a European Defence Community was signed by the six "ECSC members in May 1952 but failed when it was rejected by the French National Assembly in August 1954. This rejection led to the "London and Paris Conferences in September and October, with the result that the Treaty of Brussels was amended by the Protocol signed in "Paris on 23 October 1954, which added "West Germany and "Italy to the "Western Union Defence Organization (WUDO). At this time, the WUDO was renamed the "Western European Union, and the Treaty was renamed the Modified Brussels Treaty.

Signing ceremony[edit]

The Treaty was signed by the following "plenipotentiaries:

Integration into NATO[edit]

When the division of Europe into two opposing camps became considered unavoidable, the threat of the USSR and the "Warsaw Pact became much more important than the threat of German rearmament.

Western Europe, therefore, sought a new mutual defence pact involving the "United States, a powerful military force for such an alliance. The United States, concerned with containing the influence of the USSR, was responsive.

There was rapid progress on the idea, and secret meetings had already begun by the end of March in which American, "Canadian and British officials negotiated over the concept.[5] Eventually, it would lead to the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation by the "North Atlantic Treaty, signed in "Washington, DC, in 1949. The "Western Union Defence Organization structure was absorbed into NATO from December 1950 to April 1951.[6] NATO's "Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe took over the WUDO's defence role.

Expansion by Paris Agreements[edit]

In 1954, "West Germany and "Italy were invited to join the pact and so the Brussels Treaty was modified on 23 October 1954[7]. The "Western European Union was established.

Absorption by Lisbon Treaty[edit]

In 2009, Article 42.7 of the "Treaty of Lisbon effectively replaced Article V of the Modified Brussels Treaty as the mutual defence clause for EU member states who were also WEU allies. After discussions, the ten WEU member states decided to terminate the Treaty of Brussels on 31 March 2010.[2] The activities of WEU were formally terminated in June 2011.[8][9]


  1. ^ By Article IV of the Paris Agreements https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Paris_Agreements
  2. ^ a b "Statement of the Presidency of WEU of 31.03.10" (PDF). Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Sean Maloney, 'To Secure Command of the Sea,' the University of New Brunswick thesis 1991, p.95-97 and Lord Ismay, NATO: The First Five Years
  4. ^ "NATO Archives, The First Five Years and The Western Union and its defence organisation, RUSI Journal, 1993 (reprint from 1948-9)
  5. ^ Kaplan, Lawrence, NATO divided, NATO united pp. 5.
  6. ^ Hansard extract February 18, 1957
  7. ^ Text of Modified Brussels Treaty on the WEU website at http://www.weu.int/Treaty.htm#1 (Accessed 22 Feb 18)
  8. ^ "Decision of the Council of the Western European Union on the Residual Rights and Obligations of the WEU" (PDF). WEU. 2011-05-27. 
  9. ^ "Declaración de la Presidencia del Consejo Permanente de la UEO en nombre de las Altas Partes Contratantes del Tratado de Bruselas Modificado" (in Spanish). Foreign Office (Spain). 2010-03-31. Archived from the original on 2011-12-19. 

External links[edit]

In force:
"Maastricht Treaty (TEU)
Content: (founded WUDO) (founded ECSC) (protocol amending WUDO to become WEU) (founded EEC and EURATOM) (merging the legislative & administrative bodies of the 3 European communities) (founded TREVI) (amended: EURATOM, ECSC, EEC)+
(founded EPC)
(founded Schengen)
(implemented Schengen)
(amended: EURATOM, ECSC, and EEC to transform it into EC)+
(founded: JHA+CFSP)
(amended: EURATOM, ECSC, EC to also contain Schengen, and TEU where PJCC replaced JHA) (amended with focus on institutional changes: EURATOM, ECSC, EC and TEU) (abolished the 3 pillars and WEU by amending: EURATOM, EC=>TFEU, and TEU)
(founded EU as an overall legal unit with "Charter of Fundamental Rights, and reformed governance structures & decision procedures)
"Three pillars of the European Union:  
"European Communities
(with a single Commission & Council)
"European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM)   
"European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) Treaty expired in 2002 "European Union (EU)
    "European Economic Community (EEC)   "European Community (EC)
        "Schengen Rules  
    "Terrorism, Radicalism, Extremism and Violence Internationally (TREVI) "Justice and Home Affairs
  "Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC)
  "European Political Cooperation (EPC) "Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
"Western Union Defence Organization (WUDO) "Western European Union (WEU)    
Treaty terminated in 2011    
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