NATO is considering a recent request by a UK member of parliament and chair of the foreign affairs committee to name the alliance’s new billion-dollar headquarters building in Brussels in honor of the late US Sen. John McCain.
NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu told CNN that the request had been received by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and “will be considered carefully.”
The proposal was endorsed Tuesday by Stoltenberg’s immediate predecessor Anders Fogh Rasmussen as well as two additional former Secretaries General, Lord George Robertson and Javier Solana.
“Despite his being a US Senator, across Europe we all felt that John McCain III was one of our own,” the three men wrote in a letter Thursday to The Times newspaper of London.
“We urge NATO to repay this lifetime of service to its mission by naming its new Brussels headquarters after Senator McCain,” they added.
The idea was also backed by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida who endorsed it in a tweet.
“There was no greater support of @NATO than @SenJohnMcCain. I am drafting a Senate resolution supporting the naming of new #NATO HQ after him,” Rubio wrote, adding that he would encourage the US mission to NATO to support the change.
McCain was long seen as a leading voice in advocating for the transatlantic alliance, championing the expansion of NATO membership to other countries in Europe.
“He will be remembered both in Europe and North America for his courage and character, and as a strong supporter of NATO,” Stoltenberg wrote following his passing.
In his letter requesting the move, Conservative UK MP Tom Tugendhat wrote “very few people embodied the values that NATO is built on in the way Sen. John McCain III did.”
“There can be no more fitting tribute to his career and the values that Sen. McCain espoused – but also no better message for NATO to send at this time of global tension – than to name its new headquarters building after the American statesman,” he added.
NATO personnel moved into the new headquarters facility earlier this year and will house nearly 4,000 military and civilian personnel from the alliance’s 29 members.