Issue Date: April 4, 1952
City: Washington, D.C.
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10½
Color: Deep violet
U.S. #1008 was issued to commemorate the 3rd anniversary of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty. In the center of the stamp, a torch represents freedom and peace. The hands holding the torch symbolize the strength and unity of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization members.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization
The stability of world politics took a dramatic turn at the end of World War II. With the Soviet Union gaining control in Europe, military strength became a leading concern among non-Communist countries that feared they would be unable to defend against Soviet aggression.
In response to the development of the Cold war, twelve nations signed the North Atlantic Treaty on April 4, 1949, in Washington, D.C. They were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United States. Member nations agreed to maintain a unified military force to defend against Soviet invasion, and pledged to consider an attack on one as an attack on others. This group of allied nations became known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Most of NATO’s money and troops have come from the U.S., which has greatly increased American influence in Europe. Past NATO commanders have included generals Dwight D. Eisenhower and Alexander Haig.
Today, NATO consists of the twelve original member nations plus Greece, Turkey, Spain, and Germany. The organization’s headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium.
Birth Of Dennis Chávez
The first American-born Hispanic senator, Dionisio “Dennis” Chávez was born on April 8, 1888, in Los Chaves, New Mexico.
Chávez’s family had lived in Los Chaves for generations. In fact, he always prided himself in saying he was “American before Plymouth Rock,” because he had ancestors that lived in the New World on a Spanish land grant in the 17th century.
In 1895, Chávez’s father moved the family to Albuquerque for railroad work. Chávez attended school there until the 7th grade when he needed to take a job to help out the family. His first job was driving a grocery wagon at the age of 13. However, Chávez continued to learn by spending his evenings at the Albuquerque Public Library studying engineering as well as American history and politics. Chávez was eventually fired from his job at the grocery store for refusing to deliver groceries to strike breakers.
Meanwhile, Chávez used his new knowledge of engineering to get a job as a surveyor and eventually assistant to the Albuquerque city engineer. Chávez’s work earned him the attention of Senator Andrieus A. Jones, who hired him as a Spanish interpreter in 1916. After Jones won the election, Chávez moved to Washington, D.C. to work on his staff. Jones then encouraged Chávez to attend Georgetown University Law School.
After graduating in 1920, Chávez moved back to Albuquerque where he opened a law practice and joined local politics. Two years later, he was elected to the state House of Representatives, where he supported legislation offering free text books to school children. In 1930, he was elected to the US House of Representatives. In that role, he supported the Elephant Butte Dam and Carlsbad Irrigation Projects, as well as compensation to New Mexico Pueblo Indians.
Chávez joined the Senate in 1935 to fill a vacancy and then easily won election to that office the next year. For the next 27 years, Chávez used his position to promote the development of resources in the West, including water and soil conservation programs, federal crop insurance, and rural electrification. He also introduced several bills aimed at protecting Native American lands and rights.
On the national stage, Chávez supported America’s involvement in NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), helped create America’s Good Neighbor Policy with Latin America, and helped develop the Pan American highway. Chávez also co-sponsored the Fair Employment Practices Commission Bill, which would prohibit discrimination in employment. However, these rights wouldn’t be won until the 1964 Civil Rights Bill that was passed two years after his death.
Chávez died on November 18, 1962, in Washington, D.C. President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered his eulogy, stating that, “Chávez was a man who recognized that there must be champions for the least among us.” In 1966, a statue of Chávez was added to the Capitol building’s Statuary Hall, the only such statue there to honor a New Mexican.