Central Treaty Organization CENTO

Central Treaty Organization (CENTO)


a military political grouping in the Middle East, established on the initiative of Great Britain and the USA. Its members are Great Britain, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. Although the USA is not a formal member of CENTO, it has been on the organization’s main bodies.

The foundation for CENTO’S activity was laid by the conclusion in Baghdad on Feb. 24, 1955, of a military pact between Turkey and Iraq, which withdrew from the organization in 1958. The pact was joined on April 4 by Great Britain, on September 23 by Pakistan, and on November 3 by Iran. On Mar. 5, 1959, the USA signed bilateral “agreements on military cooperation” against “direct or indirect aggression” with Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. These agreements came to play an important role in CENTO’s activities, which were aimed against the progressive forces and national liberation movement in the organization’s region of operation. CENTO’s members regularly conduct naval, air, and land maneuvers.

In the 1960’s and early 1970’s disagreements emerged between CENTO members. Several of the bloc’s Asian members condemned the aggressive, expansionist course taken by the Israeli government with the support of the USA and other Western powers. They advocated an increase in economic cooperation within the bloc, regarding such cooperation as one of the organization’s most important tasks.

Cento’s leading bodies are the ministerial council, which holds annual sessions, and the permanent council, which acts between the sessions of the ministerial council. Working bodies are the secretariat (since 1975 the secretary-general has been M. Baylkan, Turkey) and four committees: military affairs, “subversive activities,” economics, and liaison. There is a permanent group of military representatives of CENTO countries on the military affairs committee, as well as a joint staff for military planning.

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