Atlantic Council of the United States

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The Atlantic Council of the United States (ACUS), according to the organization's web site, "promotes constructive U.S. leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting the international challenges of the 21st century.

The Council embodies a nonpartisan network of leaders who aim to bring ideas to power and to give power to ideas by:

  • stimulating dialogue and discussion about critical international issues with a view to enriching public debate and promoting consensus on appropriate responses in the Administration, the Congress, the corporate and nonprofit sectors, and the media in the United States and among leaders in Europe, Asia and the Americas;
  • conducting educational and exchange programs for successor generations of U.S. leaders so that they will come to value U.S. international engagement and have the knowledge and understanding necessary to develop effective policies.


Within a few years of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949, voluntary organizations emerged in the member countries of the Alliance to promote public understanding and support for the policies and institutions that would build collective security and peace. This international network of citizens' associations was bound together formally in 1954 with the creation of the Atlantic Treaty Association.

In 1961 former Secretaries of State Christian A. Herter and Dean Acheson, with Will Clayton, William Foster, Theodore C. Achilles and other distinguished Americans, recommended the consolidation of the U.S. citizens groups supporting the Atlantic Alliance into the Atlantic Council of the United States, incorporated as a non partisan, educational, tax-exempt organization.

Throughout the 1960s, the Council produced a series of reports on the state of public opinion towards Alliance member countries and sought to actively educate the public about the need for engagement in international affairs through television commercials (starring Bob Hope), an academic journal, and its newsletter. In 1967, the Council produced its first edited volume, Building the American – European Market: Planning for the 1970s. By 1975, the Council was producing numerous policy papers, books, monographs, and other works with the help of international practitioners and had expanded the scope of its work to include environmental management and the relationship between Japan and the West.

In 1979, Atlantic Council Vice-Chairman Theodore Achilles, recognizing the need to formally reach out to young leaders, established the Committee on Education and the Successor Generations. He wanted future policymakers to understand the solidarity required among people of good conscience if they were to build a better world. In 1980, the Council began to host mid-career professionals for a one-year fellowship, in order to provide opportunities for government officials, research scholars, business, media and other private sector leaders worldwide to pursue a year of independent study. In 1985, the NATO Information Office opened in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State, in order to focus public attention on issues of importance to the collective security of the United States and its Allies.

The Council convened a major international conference on rebuilding East-West relations in 1988, featuring speeches by President Ronald Reagan, then-presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, Colin Powell, and Brent Scowcroft.

After the fall of communism, programs began to examine the transition underway in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet states, the long-term impact of the conflicts in the Balkans, efforts toward European integration, and nuclear security. Since 1996, the Council has recognized “Distinguished International Leaders” through its annual awards dinner. In 2004, the Council became the U.S. partner in the British-North American Committee, a group of leaders from business, labor, and academia in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada committed to harmonious, constructive relations among the three countries and their citizens.

Since that time, the Council has expanded the scope of its programs to include political and economic as well as security issues, and to cover Asia, the Americas and other regions in addition to Europe. All its programs are, however, based on the conviction that a healthy transatlantic relationship is fundamental to progress in organizing a stronger international system.


Through its diverse networks, the Council builds broad constituencies to support constructive U.S. international leadership and policies. Examples of important contributions by the Council include:

  • identifying and shaping responses to major issues facing the Atlantic Alliance and transatlantic relations;
  • engaging students from across the Euro-Atlantic area in the processes of NATO transformation and enlargement;
  • balancing growing energy needs and environmental protection;

Atlantic Council Sponsors

See List of Sponsors.

Board of Directors

Board Members

Vice Chairs

Honorary Directors


Senior Fellows


Board (2013)

Accessed December 2013: [1]


Atlantic Council of the United States
1101 15th Street, NW
11th Floor
Washington, DC 20005 USA
Phone: (202) 463-7226
Fax: (202) 463-7241
Email: info AT

Also see Atlantic Council Foundation, Atlantic Council


Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Atlantic Council of the United States Board, organizational web page, accessed December 9, 2013.