Manlio Brosio, “one of the truly great diplomats of the world; a man who has given his public life to the service of peace and then capped it finally as Secretary General for NATO, an instrument for peace, of course, as well as an instrument for freedom.”
It seems fitting that President Nixon would award an individual with whom he shared a philosophy of peace, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given by the government of the United States.
What’s more: Mr. Brosio, an Italian, was only the third non-American to receive the prestigious medal. The Ceremony in the East Room of the White House took place on September 29, 1971.
Prior to becoming the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Mr. Brosio served as Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador to the Soviet Union, and in several other ambassadorial positions. His friendship with RN extended nearly 20 years.
A leading proponent of détente, the Administration’s plan of mutual cooperation with the Soviet Union, Brosio “has demonstrated that those who work to keep the peace are as blessed as the peacemakers.” Indeed, RN said that the medal may well be known as the “Medal of Peace” in this regard, “because for 25 years NATO’s strength has never been used and has never been maintained for the purpose of threatening the peace, but always to keep the peace.”
Mr. Brosio humbly accepted the award, and affirmed during the ceremony that his “admiration and trust in you has never failed, and in these last years of Presidential responsibility, facing tremendous world and national problems, old and new, it has never diminished. Indeed, it has increased with the size of your difficulties and of your statesmanlike courage.”
Indeed, the retiring Secretary General took the chance to push for a closer relationship between Europe and the United States. Overcoming the differences between the two continents may help to accomplish “our unfulfilled mission of civilization: peace and freedom.”
This may be a wise lesson to consider today.