Clarence K. Streit

How Clarence Streit inspired the birth of the the Netherlands Atlantic Association.

Clarence K. Streit was born in California, MO, in 1896. He began attending the University of Montana until 1917 when he left to volunteer in the 18th Railway Engineers Regiment. After his service, Streit won a Rhodes scholarship and studied history at Oxford. In 1925, he became a correspondent for the New York Times and subsequently covered the Sino-Japanese War, the Great Depression, the rise of the Nazis in Germany, the Balkans, Mussolini’s March on Rome and the League of Nations in Switzerland. In 1939, Clarence Streit left his post at the Times and published Union Now, a book calling for the establishment of an international federation of democracies, which he liked to call a Union of Democracies. A year later, Streit founded Federal Union Inc, later renamed the Association to Unite the Democracies, an organization committed to the federalist ideas inspired by Union Now. A successor organization, The Streit Council for a Union of Democracies, emerged in 2004 to continue the mission of Federal Union, Inc.

Through his written works Clarence Streit and his leadership advocated for the unification of democracies with the aim of preventing future warfare among them, global economic stability and a path to global governance. He argued that such a path had to start from a nucleus union of "experienced" democracies (at the time mostly North Atlantic) and gradually expand to other democracies. His ideas inspired the pioneers of the movement for a European Union and the creators of NATO. They stand today as the foundation of contemporary political thought in the area of global governance based upon an ever wider and deeper political consolidation of democratic countries.

Federal Union Inc also issued a magazine, Freedom & Union, with Streit as its editor. Streit argued that the federalist approach was the only way to allow a union to be founded on freedom in the age of globalization. His ideas influenced a number of prominent leaders worldwide including Franklin D. Roosevelt, John Foster Dulles, Theodore Achilles, George Marshall, Harry Truman, Jean Monnet and Robert Schumann.

As part of the effort to promote international federalism, Streit and AUD founded the Atlantic Union Committee in 1949. This political action group included 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. AUC was part of the organizations, which merged together in 1962 to form The Atlantic Council.

In 1961, Federal Union Inc, in tandem with its 10,000 members successfully advocated in the U.S. Congress for the passage of the Atlantic Union Resolution, which outlined an Atlantic Convention of delegates representing key democracies. Even though the convention met, it issued only a vague statement supporting further cooperation among the foreign ministries of the democracies.

Clarence Streit’s work to establish an international federation earned him a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950.

Clarence Streit died in 1986.

A list of profiles about Streit are below:

United States of the World, Clarence Streit Proposes a Plan for a World Peace, Life Magazine, October 23, 1939.
World Government, Other Plans Differ Widely
, Life Magazine, June  21, 1948.

Elijah from Missoula
, Time Magazine, March 27, 1950.
Streit and Straight, Time Magazine, September 23, 1946.
Ronald Reagan on Clarence Streit. January 17, 1986.
Theodore Achilles on Clarence Streit. January 5, 1986.
Clarence Streit in the words of a friend, Victor Reinemer, Federator Supplement, June 1986
How Union Now Inspired the Campaign to Bring Alaska and Hawaii into the Union, George H. Lehleitner, Federator Supplement, 1986.

A list of Streit's publications can be found here.


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