UNITED STATES INFORMATION SERVICE
TEXT: MADELEINE ALBRIGHT STATEMENT BEFORE SFRC JANUARY 8
(Sees a priority to build a "first-class diplomacy") (7180)
Washington -- Madeleine Albright, President Clinton's nominee for Secretary of State, vowed
that, if confirmed, one of her most important tasks in her new position will be to build a
"first-class diplomacy" capable of helping build a new world framework in the wake of
At her confirmation hearing January 8 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
Albright said that "it is not enough for us to say that Communism has failed. We must continue
building a new framework -- adapted to the demands of a new century -- that will protect our
citizens and our friends; reinforce our values; and secure our future."
To do that, Albright said, the United States needs a "first-class diplomacy."
She promised that "If confirmed, one of my most important tasks will be to work with
Congress to ensure that we have the superb diplomatic representation that our people
deserve and our interests demand." But she warned the Committee that "We cannot have that
on the cheap. We must invest the resources needed to maintain American leadership."
However, when asked if she would consider the consolidation of foreign affairs agencies, she
replied that she is "open-minded on the issue."
(During Clinton's first term as President, Senator Jesse Helms, Republican of North Carolina
and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, proposed abolishing the U.S.
Information Agency, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and the U.S. Agency for
International Development and consolidating certain functions of those agencies into the State
Albright also warned the Committee that "your State Department, with its obsolete
technology, $300 million in deferred maintenance and a shrinking base of skilled personnel, is
Albright urged all Americans to reject "the temptations of isolation."
"By standing with those around the world who share our values, we will advance our own
interests," she said.
Among the topics she touched upon in her opening statement:
-- The necessity for "an integrated, stable and democratic Europe." The United States will
press forward on enlarging NATO, she said, "to integrate new democracies, defeat old
hatreds, provide confidence in economic recovery and deter conflict."
-- The importance of a strong bilateral relationship between the United States and China and
the need to promote mutual security and prosperity in Asia. "A strong bilateral relationship
between the United States and China," Albright said, "is needed to expand areas of
cooperation, reduce the potential for misunderstanding, and encourage China's full emergence
as a responsible member of the international community." At the same time, the United States
maintains its commitment to regional security and a forward-deployed military presence in the
-- The need to promote arms control and nonproliferation. "The Cold War may be over,"
Albright said, "but the threat to our security posed by nuclear and other weapons of mass
destruction has only been reduced, not ended." She emphasized the importance of U.S.
ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the need to work with Russia to secure
ratification of the START II Treaty.
-- Maintaining a vigorous diplomacy in support of peace. Albright called for working closely
with other nations and public and nongovernmental organizations to deal with emergencies.
She reiterated Clinton's position that "The United States cannot and should not try to solve
every problem, but where our interests are clear, our values are at stake (and) where we can
make a difference, we must act and we must lead."
-- Opening markets abroad. The State Department, Treasury, Commerce and U.S. Trade
Representative will form "a very tough team" in helping to position the United States "to
become an even more dynamic hub of the global economy in the 21st century," Albright said.
-- Promoting freedom and extending the rule of law. The United States will continue to
"address frankly the violation of internationally-recognized human rights," strongly back the
International War Crimes Tribunal, and "pursue a hard line" against international terror,
international crime, and narcotics, Albirght said.
Following is the official text of Albright's opening remarks, as prepared for delivery:
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it is a great honor and pleasure to be here with
you this morning. I want to begin by thanking the President for his trust in nominating me to
this high and very challenging position.
I am very grateful to Secretary Christopher both for his kind words of introduction and for the
opportunity he has given me these past four years to observe how a steady and determined
diplomat conducts business.
And I appreciate very much the committee's courtesy in scheduling this hearing so promptly.
Mr. Chairman, we have reached a point more than halfway between the disintegration of the
Soviet Union and the start of a new century. Our nation is respected and at peace. Our
alliances are vigorous. Our economy is strong. And from the distant corners of Asia, to the
emerging democracies of Central Europe and Africa, to the community of democracies that
exists within our own hemisphere -- and to the one impermanent exception to that community,
Castro's Cuba -- American institutions and ideals are a model for those who have, or who
aspire to, freedom.
All this is no accident, and its continuation is by no means inevitable. Democratic progress
must be sustained as it was built -- by American leadership. And our leadership must be
sustained if our interests are to be protected around the world.
Do not doubt, those interests are not geopolitical abstractions, they are real.
It matters to our children whether they grow up in a world where the dangers posed by
weapons of mass destruction have been minimized or allowed to run out of control.
It matters to the millions of Americans who work, farm or invest whether the global economy
continues to create good new jobs and open new markets, or whether -- through
miscalculation or protectionism -- it begins to spiral downward.
It matters to our families whether illegal drugs continue to pour into our neighborhoods from
It matters to Americans who travel abroad or go about their daily business at home whether
the scourge of international terrorism is reduced.
It matters to our workers and businesspeople whether they will be unfairly forced to compete
against companies that violate fair labor standards, despoil the environment or gain contracts
not through competition but corruption.
And it matters to us all whether through inattention or indifference, we allow small wars to
grow into large ones that put our safety and freedom at risk.
To defeat the dangers and seize the opportunities, we must be more than audience, more even
than actors, we must be the authors of the history of our age.
A half century ago, after the devastation caused by Depression, holocaust and war, it was not
enough to say that what we were against had failed. Leaders such as Truman, Marshall and
Vandenberg were determined to build a lasting peace. And together with our allies, they
forged a set of institutions that would defend freedom, rebuild economies, uphold law and
Today, it is not enough for us to say that Communism has failed. We must continue building a
new framework -- adapted to the demands of a new century -- that will protect our citizens
and our friends; reinforce our values; and secure our future.
In so doing, we must direct our energies, not as our predecessors did, against a single virulent
ideology. We face a variety of threats, some as old as ethnic conflict; some as new as letter
bombs; some as long-term as global warming; some as dangerous as nuclear weapons falling
into the wrong hands.
To cope with such a variety of threats, we will need a full range of foreign policy tools.
That is why our armed forces must remain the best-led, best-trained, best-equipped and most
respected in the world. And as President Clinton has pledged, and our military leaders ensure,
It is also why we need first-class diplomacy. Force, and the credible possibility of its use, are
essential to defend our vital interests and to keep America safe. But force alone can be a blunt
instrument, and there are many problems it cannot solve.
To be effective, force and diplomacy must complement and reinforce each other. For there
will be many occasions, in many places, where we will rely on diplomacy to protect our
interests, and we will expect our diplomats to defend those interests with skill, knowledge and
If confirmed, one of my most important tasks will be to work with Congress to ensure that we
have the superb diplomatic representation that our people deserve and our interests demand.
We cannot have that on the cheap. We must invest the resources needed to maintain
American leadership. Consider the stakes. We are talking here about one percent of our
federal budget, but that one percent may well determine 50 percent of the history that is
written about our era.
Unfortunately, as Senator Lugar recently pointed out, currently, "our international operations
are underfunded and understaffed." He noted, as well, that not only our interests, but our
efforts to balance the budget would be damaged if American disengagement were to result in
"nuclear terrorism, a trade war, an energy crisis, a major regional conflict...or some other
Mr. Chairman, we are the world's richest, strongest, most respected nation. We are also the
largest debtor to the United Nations and the international financial institutions. We provide a
smaller percentage of our wealth to support democracy and growth in the developing world
than any other industrialized nation.
And over the past four years, the Department of State has cut more than 2,000 employees,
downgraded positions, closed more than 30 embassies or consulates, and deferred
badly-needed modernization of infrastructure and communications. We have also suffered a
30% reduction in our foreign assistance programs since 1991.
It is said that we have moved from an era where the big devour the small to an era where the
fast devour the slow. If that is the case, your State Department, with its obsolete technology,
$300 million in deferred maintenance and a shrinking base of skilled personnel, is in trouble.
If confirmed, I will strive to fulfill my obligation to manage our foreign policy effectively and
efficiently. I will work with this committee and the Congress to ensure that the American
public gets full value for each tax dollar spent. But I will also want to ensure that our foreign
policy successfully promotes and protects the interests of the American people.
In addition, I will want to work with you to spur continued reform and to pay our bills at the
United Nations, an organization that Americans helped create, that reflects ideals that we
share and that serves goals of stability, law and international cooperation that are in our
The debate over adequate funding for foreign policy is not new in America. It has been joined
repeatedly from the time the Continental Congress sent Ben Franklin to Paris, to the
proposals for Lend Lease and the Marshall Plan that bracketed World War II, to the start of
the SEED and Nunn-Lugar programs a few years ago. In each case, history has looked more
kindly on those who argued for our engagement than on those who said we just could not
afford to lead.
Mr. Chairman, any framework for American leadership must include measures to control the
threats posed by weapons of mass destruction and terror; to seize the opportunities that exist
for settling dangerous regional conflicts; to maintain America as the hub of an expanding
global economy; and to defend cherished principles of democracy and law.
At the center of that framework, however, are our key alliances and relationships. These are
the bonds that hold together not only our foreign policy, but the entire international system.
When we are able to act cooperatively with the other leading nations, we create a dynamic
web of principle, power and purpose that elevates standards and propels progress around the
globe. This is our opportunity, for in the post Cold War era, big power diplomacy is not a
The Trans-Atlantic Partnership
A foremost example is the trans-Atlantic partnership.
It is a central lesson of this century that America must remain a European power. We have an
interest in European security, because we wish to avoid the instability that drew five million
Americans across the Atlantic to fight in two world wars. We have an interest in European
democracy, because it was the triumph of freedom there that ended the Cold War. We have
an interest in European prosperity, because our own prosperity depends on having partners
that are open to our exports, investment and ideas.
Today, thanks to the efforts of President Clinton and Secretary Christopher, American
leadership in Europe is on solid ground.
European institutions are evolving in directions that are making the continent more free, unified
and peaceful than at any time in history.
Our key bilateral relationships, albeit spirited at times, are as strong and resilient as they have
The terrible carnage in Bosnia has ended.
The Partnership for Peace has broadened cooperation on security matters.
And there is continued progress on political and market reforms within Central Europe and
the New Independent States.
If confirmed, I will be returning to this committee often to ask your support for our vision of
an integrated, stable and democratic Europe.
In July, at the NATO summit in Madrid, the alliance will discuss European security, including
NATO adaptation to new missions and structures, a framework for enhanced consultation
and cooperation with Russia, and enlargement.
The purpose of enlargement is to do for Europe's east what NATO did 50 years ago for
Europe's west: to integrate new democracies, defeat old hatreds, provide confidence in
economic recovery and deter conflict.
Those who say NATO enlargement should wait until a military threat appears miss the main
point. NATO is not a wild west posse that we mobilize only when grave danger is near. It is a
permanent alliance, a linchpin of stability, designed to prevent serious threats from ever
To those who worry about enlargement dividing Europe, I say that NATO cannot and should
not preserve the old Iron Curtain as its eastern frontier. That was an artificial division,
imposed upon proud nations, some of which are now ready to contribute to the continent's
security. What NATO must and will do is keep open the door to membership to every
European nation that can shoulder alliance responsibilities and contribute to its goals, while
building a strong and enduring partnership with all of Europe's democracies.
Building a more cooperative and integrated Europe will be one of many issues that President
Clinton will be discussing with President Yeltsin during his visit here to the United States in
March. A democratic Russia can and must be a strong partner in achieving this shared goal.
We know that Russia remains in the midst of a wrenching transition, but gains made during the
past five years are increasingly irreversible. Despite the threats posed by corruption and
crime, open markets and democratic institutions have taken hold. And last summer marked
the first fully democratic election of national leaders in Russia's long history.
President Yeltsin's challenge in his second term will be restore the momentum behind internal
reforms and accelerate Russia's integration with the West. We have a profound interest in
encouraging that great country to remain on a democratic course, to respect fully the
sovereignty of its neighbors and to join with us in addressing a full range of regional and global
Our deepening friendship with a democratic Ukraine is also fundamental to Europe's
integration. Ukraine was the first of the New Independent states to transfer power from one
democratically-elected government to another. And, under President Kuchma, it has launched
ambitious economic reforms that have subdued inflation and prevented economic collapse.
In our relations both with Russia and Ukraine, the binational commissions established with
Vice-President Gore as the lead U.S. representative will serve as a valuable aid for setting the
agenda, and facilitating cooperation across a broad range of endeavors.
Finally, the future of European stability and democracy depends, as well, on continued
implementation of the Dayton Accords.
Although IFOR completed its military tasks brilliantly in Bosnia, more time is needed for
economic reconstruction and political healing. SFOR's goal is to provide the time for peace to
Although the full promise of Dayton is not yet fulfilled, much has changed during the past 13
months. The fighting has stopped, peaceful elections have been held, and the framework for
national democratic institutions has taken shape.
Much of this is due to American leadership. Our plan now, in cooperation with our many
partners, is to consolidate and build on those gains. Our strategy is to continue diminishing the
need for an international military presence by establishing a stable military balance, improving
judicial and legal institutions, helping more people return safely to their homes and seeing that
more of those indicted as war criminals are arrested and prosecuted.
Given the ongoing challenges, it is encouraging to note the history-making dimension of the
process set in motion by the Dayton Accords.
Today, in Bosnia, virtually every nation in Europe is working together to bring stability to a
region where conflict earlier this century tore the continent apart.
This reflects a sharp departure from the spheres of influence or balance of power diplomacy
of the past, and an explicit rejection of politics based on ethnic identification. And it validates
the premise of the Partnership for Peace by demonstrating the growth of a common
understanding within Europe of how a common sense of security may be achieved.
The experience of IFOR and now SFOR in Bosnia heightens the potential for security
cooperation among the full range of NATO and non-NATO European states. In Bosnia,
soldiers from NATO, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Romania and many other nations trust, defend
and depend on each other. Our challenge is to extend that spirit to other joint endeavors and
to keep it thriving long after SFOR concludes its work.
European stability depends in large measure on continued American engagement and
leadership. And as history attests, European stability is also vital to our national interests. As a
result, we will remain engaged, we will continue to lead, we will strengthen our alliances and
we will continue to build with our democratic partners a Europe in which every nation is free
and every free nation is our partner.
Promoting Mutual Security and Prosperity in Asia
Mr. Chairman, America must remain a European power. We must, and will, remain a Pacific
power, as well.
Asia is a continent undergoing breathtaking economic expansion and measured, but steady,
movement in the direction of democracy. Its commercial vigor reinforces our own and
contributes to the vital interest we have in its security. This is, after all, an area in which
America has fought three wars during the past six decades, and in which 100,000 American
troops are based.
President Clinton has elevated this dynamic region on our agenda, and I plan to devote much
of my attention to its promise and perils.
Our priorities here are to maintain the strength of our core alliances while success fully
managing our multi-faceted relationship with China.
Because of our commitment to regional security, we have maintained our forward-deployed
military presence in the Western Pacific. We are encouraging regional efforts to settle
territorial and other disputes without violence. We are working hard to open markets for
American goods and services, both bilaterally and through APEC, which the President lifted
to the summit level. We are broadening our diplomatic and security ties in Southeast Asia,
home to the world's fastest growing economies. And we will continue to promote respect for
internationally-recognize human rights and the spread of freedom.
Our closest and most wide-ranging bilateral relationship in the region is with Japan, with
whom we have strongly reaffirmed our alliance.
We consult Japan regularly on a broad range of foreign policy questions from security in Asia
to development in Africa. We appreciate its generous financial support for peace efforts from
Bosnia to the Middle East. And we are working with Japan and another valued ally, the
Republic of Korea, to implement the framework agreement freezing North Korean
development of nuclear arms. In recent weeks, we and Seoul have worked together
successfully to reduce tensions, reinforce the nuclear freeze and improve prospects for
dialogue on the Peninsula.
I look forward, if confirmed, to visiting both Japan and the Republic of Korea at an early
I am also looking forward to the visit here soon of the Chinese Foreign Minister.
A strong bilateral relationship between the United States and China is needed to expand areas
of cooperation, reduce the potential for misunderstanding and encourage China's full
emergence as a responsible member of the international community.
To make progress, our two countries must act towards each other on the basis of mutual
frankness. We have important differences, especially on trade, arms transfers and human
rights, including Tibet. We have concerns about Chinese policy towards the reversion of
Hong Kong. While adhering to our one China policy, we will maintain robust unofficial ties
with Taiwan. But we also have many interests in common, and have worked together on
issues including the Korean peninsula, crime, the global environment and nuclear testing.
U.S. policy towards China has long been an issue of controversy in Congress and among the
American people. There are disagreements about the proper balancing of the various
elements of that policy. There should be no doubt, however, about the importance of this
relationship, and about the need to pursue a strategy aimed at Chinese integration, not
Preventive Defense through the Control of Deadly Arms
The Cold War may be over, but the threat to our security posed by nuclear and other
weapons of mass destruction has only been reduced, not ended. Arms control and
nonproliferation remain a vital element in our foreign policy framework.
With our leadership, much has been accomplished. Russian warheads no longer target our
homes. Nuclear weapons have been removed from Belarus and Kazakhstan and in Ukraine,
the last missile silos are being planted over with sunflowers. Iraq's nuclear capability has been
dismantled, and North Korea's frozen. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has been
extended, indefinitely and without conditions. A comprehensive ban on nuclear tests has been
approved and a chemical weapons ban will soon be in effect.
Mr. Chairman, these efforts to reduce the spread and number of weapons of mass destruction
contribute to what Defense Secretary Perry has called "preventive defense." They are
designed to keep Americans safe. We pursue them not as favors to others, but in support of
our own national interests. But arms control and nonproliferation are works in progress, and
we will need your help and that of this committee and the Senate to continue that progress.
First, we will be asking your consent to the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention,
or CWC, before it enters into force in late April.
As this committee well knows, the CWC was begun under President Reagan and negotiated
under President Bush. It is supported by many in both parties, by the business community and
by our military. The CWC is no panacea, but it will make it more difficult for rogue states and
others hostile to our interests to develop or obtain chemical weapons. I hope, Mr. Chairman,
that we will be able to work together to get this treaty approved in time for the United States
to be an original party.
We will also be seeking your early approval of the CFE Flank agreement, which is essential
to sustain the CFE Treaty, which in turn contributes mightily to European security.
Overseas, we will be working with Russia to secure prompt ratification by the Duma of the
START II Treaty, and then to pursue further reductions and limits on strategic nuclear arms.
We will also continue efforts to fulfill the President's call for negotiations leading to a
worldwide ban on the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines.
The humanitarian problems created by the misuse of anti-personnel landmines can only be
dealt with on a global basis. In September, the President told the U.N. General Assembly that
"our children deserve to walk the Earth in safety." This will be a major arms control objective
of the next four years.
Arms control and nonproliferation are closely linked to our policies toward rogue states. We
have a major interest in preventing weapons of mass destruction from being obtained by
regimes with a proven disrespect for the rule of law. Accordingly, we will continue working to
improve the security and prevent the diversion of fissile materials. We will continue to oppose
strongly the sale or transfer of advanced weapons or technologies to Iran. And we will insist
on maintaining tough U.N. sanctions against Iraq unless and until that regime complies with
relevant Security Council resolutions.
Vigorous Diplomacy in Support of Peace
Mr. Chairman, the appropriate American role in helping to end conflicts and respond to crises
overseas has been debated widely, not only in our time, but throughout American history.
Because we have unique capabilities and unmatched power, it is natural that others turn to us
in time of emergency. We have an unlimited number of opportunities to act around the world.
But we do not have unlimited resources, nor do we have unlimited responsibilities. If we are
to protect our own interests and maintain our credibility, we have to weigh our commitments
carefully, and be selective and disciplined in what we agree to do.
Recognizing this, we have a strong incentive to strengthen other mechanisms for responding to
emergencies and conflicts, including the United Nations and regional organizations. We should
work closely with the entire network of public and nongovernmental organizations that has
evolved to predict, prevent, contain and minimize the human and other costs of natural and
human-caused disaster. And we should insist that other capable nations do their fair share
financially, technically and -- if necessary -- militarily.
The primary obligation of the United States is to its own citizens. We are not a charity or a fire
department. We will defend firmly our own vital interests.
But we recognize that our interests and those of our allies may also be affected by regional or
civil wars, power vacuums that create targets of opportunity for criminals and terrorists, dire
humanitarian emergencies and threats to democracy. Then, as President Clinton said recently,
"The United States cannot and should not try to solve every problem, but where our interests
are clear, our values are at stake, (and) where we can make a difference, we must act and we
During the past four years, under President Clinton and Secretary Christopher, the United
States has been steadfast in supporting the peacemakers over the bombthrowers in
historically troubled areas of the globe. Our goal has been to build an environment in which
threats to our security and that of our allies are diminished, and the likelihood of American
forces being sent into combat is reduced.
We recognize that, in most of these situations, neither the United States nor any other outside
force can impose a solution. But we can make it easier for those inclined towards peace to
take the risks required to achieve it.
As this statement is being prepared, sustained U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East has helped
to build a renewed dialogue between Israel and its Palestinian partners, producing significant
progress on Israeli redeployment in Hebron.
While an agreement is not yet in hand, the intensive negotiations which have been conducted
over the past three months -- including direct discussions between Prime Minister Netanyahu
and Chairman Arafat -- have restored a sense of momentum and greater confidence between
the sides. This process began during the Washington summit called by President Clinton last
October and has been sustained and advanced through our active diplomatic engagement.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafat have reaffirmed to President Clinton their
determination to continue their joint efforts for peace. The United States will stand by them as
Today, there remain two competing visions in the Middle East. One is focused on the
grievances and tragedies of the past; the other on the possibilities of the future. An agreement
on Hebron would serve as a catalyst, strengthening the supporters of peace. Under the
President's leadership, we intend to press vigorously on all tracks to realize a secure,
comprehensive and lasting peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors.
Throughout, we will be guided by America's unshakeable commitment to Israel's security, and
by our opposition to those who would disrupt this process through terrorism and violence.
Secretary Christopher leaves office after four years of historic progress in facilitating peace in
the Middle East. While his presence will be missed, I will maintain fully the State Department's
commitment to an active U.S. role in this long-troubled and strategic part of the globe.
Across the Mediterranean in Cyprus, another longstanding disagreement remains unresolved.
In 1996, the parties moved no closer to a final decision on the status of the island. Moreover,
disturbing incidents of violence marred the climate for negotiations, while underlining their
urgency. The dispute here and related differences between our two NATO allies, Turkey and
Greece, affect European stability and our vital interests. Accordingly, we are prepared in this
new year to play a heightened role in promoting a resolution in Cyprus, but for any initiative to
bear fruit, the parties must agree to steps that will reduce tensions and make direct
In Northern Ireland, we are encouraged that multi-party talks began but we are disappointed
by the lack of progress made, and strongly condemn the IRA's return to violence. We will
continue to work with the Irish and British governments and the parties to help promote
substantive progress in the talks. And we note that former Senator George Mitchell, who is
chairing the multi-party talks, has been crucial to the forward steps that have been taken.
As we enter the 50th anniversary year of independence for both India and Pakistan, we will
again consider the prospects for reducing the tensions that have long existed between these
two friends of the United States.
We have a wealth of equities in this region, and a particular concern about the regional arms
race and nuclear nonproliferation. India and Pakistan should both know that we will do what
we can to strengthen their relations with us and encourage better relations between them, and
that we expect both to avoid actions calculated to provoke the other.
Another dispute tangled by history and geography concerns Armenia, Azerbaijan and the
status of Nagorno-Karabakh. The good news here is that the ceasefire has now held for more
than two years. The bad news is that progress under the OSCE's Minsk process has been
agonizingly slow. We have very substantial economic, political and humanitarian interests in
this region, and are prepared to play a more visible role in helping to arrange a settlement.
One step that Congress could take to increase our influence would be to lift restrictions on
nonmilitary assistance to Azerbaijan, while maintaining support for our generous aid program
Finally, in Central Africa, we are striving with regional leaders and our allies to prevent a
still-volatile situation from erupting into even greater tragedy. We are encouraging the
repatriation of the remaining Rwandan refugees and assisting in their re-integration into
Rwandan society. Through the efforts of Special Envoy Howard Wolpe, we are promoting a
dialogue between the opposing parties in Burundi. And we support an end to conflict in Zaire
based on recognition of Zaire's territorial integrity and full respect for human rights.
Mr. Chairman, I visited Central Africa last year. In Rwanda, in the beautiful region where they
filmed "Gorillas in the Mist," there is an old stone church. By its side, American and other
volunteers work with little brushes to clean and reassemble the skeletons of people
slaughtered there in 1994. Among the hundreds of skeletons there, I happened to notice one
in particular that was only two feet long, about the size of my little grandson.
It is said that foreign policy should not be influenced by emotion. That is true. But let us
remember that murdered children are not emotions; they are human beings whose potential
contributions are forever lost. America has an interest, as do all civilized people, to act where
possible to prevent and oppose genocide.
One practical step we can take is to increase the capacity of African countries to engage
successfully in peacekeeping efforts within their region. That is the purpose of the African
Crisis Response Force proposed by the administration last fall. This proposal has generated
considerable interest both within and outside the region. With congressional support, it will be
a priority in the coming year.
Leadership for a Global Economy
The Clinton Administration has had extraordinary success these past four years in creating
jobs for Americans at home by opening markets abroad. The more than 200 trade
agreements negotiated have helped our exports grow by 34% since 1993 and created 1.6
million new jobs. By passing NAFTA, concluding the GATT Uruguay Round and forging the
Miami summit commitment to achieve free and open trade in our hemisphere by 2005 and the
APEC commitment to do the same in the Asia-Pacific by 2020, the President has positioned
the United States to become an even more dynamic hub of the global economy in the 21st
As Secretary of State, I would do all I can to see that this momentum continues. Already, I
have talked with Treasury Secretary Rubin, Commerce Secretary-designate Bill Daley and
Trade Representative-designate Charlene Barshefsky. We intend, if confirmed, to function as
a team -- America's team. And we intend to be a very tough team.
Competition for the world's markets is fierce. Often, our firms go head-to-head with foreign
competitors who are receiving active support from their own governments. A principal
responsibility of the Department of State is to see that the interests of American companies
and workers receive fair treatment, and that inequitable barriers to competition are overcome.
Accordingly, the doors to the Department of State and our embassies around the world are
open -- and will remain open -- to U.S. businesspeople seeking to share their ideas and to
ask our help.
In the years ahead, we must continue shaping a global economic system that works for
America. Because our people are so productive and inventive, we will thrive in any true
competition. However, maintaining the equity of the system requires constant effort.
Experience tells us that there will always be some who will seek to take advantage by denying
access to our products, pirating our copyrighted goods or under-pricing us through
That is why our diplomacy will continue to emphasize high standards on working conditions,
the environment and labor and business practices. And it is why we will work for a trading
system that establishes and enforces fair rules.
Although we will continue to work closely with our G-7 partners, the benefits of economic
integration and expanded trade are not -- and should not be -- limited to the most developed
nations. Especially now, when our bilateral foreign assistance program is in decline, public and
private sector economic initiatives are everywhere an important part of our foreign policy. We
can also leverage resources for results by working with and supporting the international
In Latin America, a region of democracies, we will be building on the 1994 Summit of the
Americas to strengthen judicial and other political institutions and to promote higher standards
of living through free trade and economic integration. I am pleased that, in this effort, we will
have the assistance of the newly-designated special envoy for the Americas, Mack McLarty.
Although much poverty remains, substantial gains have been made in many parts of the
hemisphere through economic reforms, increased commerce, lower inflation and higher
foreign investment. We believe that further progress can be achieved that will benefit us, as
well as our hemispheric partners, through agreement on a Free Trade Area for the Americas
by the year 2005. We also place a high priority on the early addition of Chile to the North
American Free Trade Agreement on equitable terms, and on the extension to Central
America and the Caribbean of arrangements equivalent to NAFTA.
Even closer to home, we are encouraging continued economic and political reform in Mexico,
with whom we share a 2000 mile border and a host of common concerns, including crime,
narcotics, immigration and the environment.
In Africa, the overall economic outlook is improving, but daunting problems of debt, strife,
environmental stress and inadequate investment remain.
It is in our interest to help the region's leaders overcome these problems and to build an
Africa that is more prosperous, democratic and stable.
We know, however, that the primary impetus for development here, as elsewhere, must come
from the private sector.
It is encouraging, therefore, that many African governments are facilitating growth through
policies that allow private enterprise to take hold, while investing public resources wisely in
education, health and measures that expand opportunities for women.
If confirmed, I will place great emphasis on working with Africa's democratic leaders to
broaden and deepen these trends. More specifically, we will work towards the integration of
Africa into the world's economy, participate in efforts to ease debt burdens, and help
deserving countries, where we can, through targeted programs of bilateral aid.
Promoting Freedom and Extending the Rule of Law
Mr. Chairman, the representative of a foreign power said once that his country had no
permanent allies, only permanent interests.
It might be said of America that we have no permanent enemies, only permanent principles.
Those principles are founded in respect for law, human dignity and freedom not just for some,
but for all people.
If I am confirmed, I can assure you that the United States will not hesitate to address frankly
the violation of internationally-recognized human rights, whether those violations occur in
Cuba or Afghanistan, Burma, Belgrade or Beijing.
We will work with others to defeat the forces of international crime and to put those who
traffic in drugs permanently out of business.
We will pursue a hard line against international terror, insisting on the principle that
sponsoring, sheltering or subsidizing terrorists cannot be rationalized; it is wrong; and those
guilty should not be appeased, but isolated and punished.
We will maintain our strong backing for the international war crimes tribunal for Rwanda and
the Balkans, because we believe that the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing should be held
accountable, and those who consider rape just another tactic of war should answer for their
And we will continue to promote and advocate democracy because we know that democracy
is a parent to peace, and that the American Constitution remains the most revolutionary and
inspiring source of change in the world.
The Environmental Mainstream
One final note, Mr. Chairman. Before closing I wanted to make it clear that I intend, if
confirmed, to build upon Secretary Christopher's wise decision to incorporate environmental
goals into the mainstream of our foreign policy.
Over the past several years, I have traveled to almost every region of the world. I have seen
the congestion caused by over-development, and the deforestation that results when
expanding populations compete for shrinking natural resources. I have smelled the air of
smoke-clogged cities where the environmental techniques made possible by modern
technology have not yet been applied.
The threats we face from environmental damage are not as spectacular as those of a terrorist's
bomb or a hostile missile. But they directly affect the health, safety and quality of life of
families everywhere. We can choose to be passive in responding to those threats, and leave
the hard work to our children, or we can be active and forward-looking now. I choose the
latter course, and will not be shy in seeking congressional and public support.
Members of the Committee, I am deeply honored to appear here today. I have laid out some,
but by no means all, of what I see as the principal challenges and opportunities we will face
over the next four years. Clearly, we have a lot to do.
I could say to you that it had always been my ambition to be Secretary of State of the United
States. But that is not true. Frankly, I did not think it was possible.
I arrived in America when I was 11 years old. My family came here to escape Communism
and to find freedom and we did. My ambition at that time was only to speak English well,
please my parents, study hard, and grow up to be an American.
The newspaper in Denver, where we lived, had a motto that read, "`Tis a privilege to live in
My father used to repeat that motto on a regular basis, but he would often add a reminder:
"Kids," he would say, "never forget that it is also a privilege to live in the United States."
Long after I left home, my mother would call on the Fourth of July to ask my children, her
grandchildren: "Tell me, are you singing any patriotic songs?"
Senators, you on your side of the table and I on my side, have a unique opportunity to be
partners in creating a new and enduring framework for American Leadership. One of my
predecessors, Dean Acheson, wrote about being present at the creation of a new era. You
and I have the challenge and the responsibility to help co-author the newest chapter in our
In so doing, let us remember that there is not a page of American history of which we are
proud that was written by a chronic complainer or prophet of despair.
We are doers.
By rejecting the temptations of isolation, and by standing with those around the world who
share our values, we will advance our own interests; honor our best traditions; and help to
answer a prayer that has been offered over many years in a multitude of tongues, in
accordance with diverse customs, in response to a common yearning.
That prayer is the prayer for peace, freedom, food on the table and what President Clinton
once so eloquently referred to as "the quiet miracle of a normal life."
If with your consent, I am confirmed as Secretary of State, I will ask you to join me in doing
all we can, as representatives of the indispensable nation, and with the help of God, to answer
Thank you very much.
Return to Vinnie's Home Page