A 3-cent stamp issued at the White House on April 4, 1952, honored the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). President Truman autographed panes of the stamp for presentation to the heads of state of countries belonging to NATO. The organization, a military alliance headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, was formed on April 4, 1949, to provide a system of common defense. Key to the compact, members agreed to regard an external attack on any member state as an attack on all.
The Post Office Department announced, "Since this stamp is of ordinary size, it will be supplied to postmasters in lieu of the present 3-cent stamp of the Presidential series, for a temporary period."
Charles R. Chickering of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing designed the NATO stamp. A sketch provided by the State Department served as the stamp's model. Arthur W. Dintaman engraved the vignette, and Robert J. Jones engraved the numerals and lettering. Eighteen 400-subject electric-eye printing plates (#24629-24646) were used on the rotary Stickney Press. Plates were used in pairs on the press, so each rotation of the press produced two sheets of 400 stamps, each of which was divided into four 100-subject panes for distribution to post offices. Stamps were perforated 11x10.5 and printed on unwatermarked paper.
The 3-cent NATO stamp paid the postage for a one ounce first-class domestic letter.