|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Statement before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary, Senate Appropriations Committee
Washington, D.C., February 26, 1998
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
As Submitted to the Committee
Fiscal Year 1999 Budget Request
I. INTRODUCTION: PROMOTING AMERICAN INTERESTS AND UNIVERSAL VALUES.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, I am pleased to be here today to discuss the President's Fiscal Year 1999 budget request for the Department of State and related programs.
I want to begin by thanking you for your work last year. One of my highest goals upon becoming Secretary of State was to work with Members of Congress to restore both the spirit and substance of bipartisan support for American leadership around the globe. And as the achievements of this past year reflect, despite some disagreements, we have been moving in the right direction.
Since I last testified before this Subcommittee, the United States has helped achieve progress towards a Europe whole and free, a Bosnia where peace is beginning to take hold, an Asia where security cooperation is on the rise, an Africa being transformed by new leaders and fresh thinking, and a Western Hemisphere blessed by an ever-deepening partnership of democracies.
We have also joined the Chemical Weapons Convention as an original member, intensified the war against international crime, taken an essential first step towards a global agreement to combat climate change and approved the first overall increase in funding for international affairs programs in several years.
More specifically, with your help, we have made progress in providing the training, equipment and resources we need to give the American people the first-class diplomatic representation they deserve.
With the additional resources made available last year, we are going forward with a major program of infrastructure repair and are accelerating our modernization of information technology. And I am pleased that, after several years of personnel reductions, we will have as many Foreign and Civil service personnel joining us this year, as leaving.
All this matters, Mr. Chairman, because American leadership is built not only on our military and economic power, and on the power of our ideals, but also on the effectiveness of our diplomacy.
The accounts funded by this Subcommittee determine whether we will have the right people in the right place with the right tools at the right time. And whether we will therefore be able, through our bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, effectively to promote peace, halt the spread of deadly weapons, counter terror, fight international crime, enforce trade agreements, build democracy, raise core labor standards, protect the environment, increase respect for human rights, combat disease, and safeguard the rights of Americans who travel or do business overseas.
I have said that it is America's strategic objective, as we prepare for the new century, to seize the opportunity that history has presented to bring nations closer together around basic principles of democracy, free markets, respect for the law and a commitment to peace.
America's place in this system is at the center. And our challenge is to keep the connections between regions and among the most prominent nations strong and sure.
We must also help other nations become full partners by lending a hand to those building democracy, emerging from poverty, or recovering from conflict.
We must summon the spine to deter, the support to isolate, and the strength to defeat those who run roughshod over the rights of others.
And we must aspire not simply to maintain the status quo--for that has never been good enough for America. Abroad, as at home, we must aim for higher standards so that the benefits of growth and the protections of law are shared not only by the lucky few, but by the hardworking many.
II. AMERICAN LEADERSHIP AROUND THE WORLD.
Before proceeding to a discussion of specific accounts, Mr. Chairman, I would like briefly to review with the Subcommittee some of the major foreign policy challenges and initiatives we will face during the coming weeks and months.
Most prominent, of course, is our effort--through diplomacy backed by the threat of force--to see that Iraq complies with its obligations to the world community.
That effort is ongoing. On Tuesday, the Security Council was briefed by Secretary General Kofi Annan on Iraq's written agreement to reverse course and grant immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to UN inspectors to sites in Iraq, including those from which they had previously been excluded.
We attribute the Iraqi commitments not only to our own firmness, but to the strong international pressure brought to bear on Baghdad by nations from around the world.
In the days ahead, we will be working with the Security Council and UNSCOM to ensure that the agreement is implemented in a manner that reflects the core principles upon which we have insisted: that Security Council resolutions be obeyed; that the integrity of the UN Special Commission--or UNSCOM--be preserved; and that there be no artificial timetables or linkages that would prevent UNSCOM from doing a full and professional job.
With our support, UNSCOM will be testing Iraq's commitments thoroughly and comprehensively.
And as President Clinton said Monday: "Our soldiers, our ships, (and) our planes will stay there in force until we are satisfied Iraq is complying with its commitments."
Although the events of the past few days may have changed the specific circumstances, they have not changed our fundamental goal--which is to contain or end the threat posed by Saddam Hussein to Iraq's neighbors and the world. A solid UN inspection and monitoring regime, backed by sanctions and enforcement of the no-fly and no-drive zones, is our preferred means of achieving that goal. But we retain the authority, the responsibility, the means and the will to use military force if that is required.
In the meantime, we continue to support expanded efforts through the United Nations oil-for-food mechanism to ease the suffering of the Iraqi people. We do this not as a favor to Saddam, who has often opposed such efforts, but because it is right; and because it deprives Saddam of the argument that Iraqi hardships justify lifting UN sanctions prematurely.
Mr. Chairman, during my visits last week to Tennessee, South Carolina and--most audibly--Ohio, I heard two somewhat different but understandable desires voiced by the American people.
The first was a strong desire to see the Iraq crisis settled peacefully. Americans have always been reluctant to use force. We do not want to put the lives of innocent people at risk, and would never unnecessarily do so.
The second is a desire to see Saddam Hussein removed from power.
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee a peaceful outcome without opening the door to yet another round of Iraqi cheating, which we will not do. Given Saddam's history of aggression, his repeated use of poison gas and his dishonesty, we cannot safely or responsibly rule out the use of force in the future.
But if we are required to use force, why not go all the way and remove Saddam from power? The answer is that it would require a far greater commitment of military force, and a far greater risk to American lives, than is currently needed to contain the threat Saddam poses.
Some have suggested that the solution is to arm and encourage the Iraqi opposition to initiate a civil war. That option sounds--but is not--simple. We have worked with Iraqi opponents of Saddam Hussein in the past, and we are ready to work with them more effectively in the future. But the opposition is currently divided, and it would be wrong to create false or unsustainable expectations that could end in bloodshed or defeat.
This leaves us with a policy that is--quite frankly--not fully satisfactory to anyone. It is a "real world" policy, not a "feel good" policy.
But I am convinced it is the best policy to protect our interests and those of our friends and allies in the Gulf. It embodies both our desire for peace and our determination to fight if necessary. It takes into account current realities, without--in any way--ruling out future options. It presents the leaders in Baghdad with a clear choice. And it reflects principles that are vital to uphold, not only in the Gulf now, but everywhere, always.
Mr. Chairman, the recent focus on the situation in Iraq should not divert our attention from other important decisions and initiatives we will undertake this year. For America is a global power, and our citizens have important interests in every region on every continent.
For example, we are working with Europe to meet global challenges such as proliferation, crime and the environment.
And we are working in Europe to realize this century's most elusive dream, a Europe that is whole, free, prosperous and at peace.
Earlier this week, I joined Defense Secretary Cohen and General Shelton in testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of NATO's decision to invite three new European democracies to join the alliance while holding the door open to others.
By adding Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to the alliance, we will expand the area within Europe where wars simply do not happen. And we will enlist in the cause of peace three new allies who are dedicated to NATO principles and ready to contribute to the freedom and security of the continent.
I hope, and I believe, that with the support of leaders from both parties, and with the encouragement of the American people, the Senate will make the right choice--and allow NATO enlargement to proceed.
Another major test of our commitment to building a united and peaceful Europe is our effort to assist in fulfilling the Dayton Accords.
Around Christmas, I went to Bosnia with the President and Senator Dole and a number of Members of Congress. We found a nation that remains deeply divided, but where multi-ethnic institutions are once again beginning to function. Economic growth is accelerating. Indicted war criminals are being tried. More refugees are returning. And--perhaps most important--a new Bosnian Serb government has been elected that is committed to implementing Dayton.
More slowly than we foresaw, but as surely as we hoped, the infrastructure of Bosnian peace is gaining shape and the psychology of reconciliation is taking hold.
But if we turn our backs on Bosnia now, as some urge, the confidence we are building would erode, and the result could well be a return to genocide and war.
Quitting is not the American way. In Bosnia, the mission should determine the timetable, not the other way around. And as the President made clear in December, "that mission must be achievable and tied to concrete benchmarks, not a deadline."
Accordingly, we and our allies have agreed that NATO will continue to lead a multi-national force in Bosnia after SFOR's current mandate expires in June. Its mission will continue to be to deter hostilities, support the implementation of the Dayton Agreement, and contribute to establishing a secure environment in which Bosnian authorities can increasingly take charge of their country's stability themselves.
Without expanding SFOR's mandate, we will ensure that the new force has an enhanced capability to deal with the task of ensuring public security.
And we will review the size of the force periodically as part of our strategy to gradually transfer its responsibilities to domestic institutions and other international organizations.
We have already held informal briefings with Senators on these consultations. As we discuss with our allies and partners the details of this new phase of operations, you can expect to hear more from us.
We should continue to play an appropriate role in Bosnia as long as our help is needed, our allies and friends do their share, and--most importantly--the Bosnian people are striving to help themselves. That is the right thing to do. And it is the smart thing, for it is the only way to ensure that when our troops do leave Bosnia, they leave for good.
Mr. Chairman, one of our most important foreign policy objectives is to build an inclusive Asia-Pacific community based on stability, shared interests and the rule of law.
To this end, we have fortified our core alliances, crafted new defense guidelines with Japan, maintained our forward deployment of troops, embarked on Four Party talks to create a basis for lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, and continued to implement, with our partners, the Agreed Framework which is dismantling North Korea's dangerous nuclear program.
We have also intensified our dialogue with China, achieving progress on economic and security matters, while maintaining our principles on respect for Tibetan heritage and human rights. Let me stress here, Mr. Chairman, that engagement is not the same as endorsement. We continue to have sharp differences with China--but we also believe that the best way to narrow those differences is to encourage China to become a fully responsible participant in the international system.
Steps in the right direction include China's commitment to strictly control nuclear exports, its assurances on nuclear cooperation with Iran, its security cooperation on the Korean peninsula, its decision to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, its continued economic liberalization, the release of Wei Jingsheng, its invitation to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit, and its agreement to pursue cooperative activities with us to strengthen the rule of law (activities that we propose to be partly funded through an increase in the Asia Foundation's budget).
We have also been working with the IMF to respond to the financial crisis in East Asia.
Our approach is clear. If a nation affected by instability is to recover, it must reform in a manner that addresses the underlying problems that created that instability. And if a nation is willing to seriously undertake such reforms, we will help.
East Asia includes some of our closest allies and friends, including South Korea, which faces a large and well-armed military force across the DMZ. The region also includes some of the best customers for U.S. products and services--and if they can't buy, we can't sell.
Moreover, since the IMF functions as a sort of intergovernmental credit union, its efforts to assist East Asian economies won't cost U.S. taxpayers a nickel.
Still, there are some who say we should disavow the IMF and abandon our friends, letting the chips--or dominos--fall where they may.
It is possible, if we were to do so, that East Asia's financial troubles would not spread and badly hurt our own economy, and that our decision to walk away would not be misunderstood, and a wave of anti-American sentiment would not be unleashed, and new security threats would not arise in this region where 100,000 American troops are deployed.
All this is possible, but I would not want to bet America's security or the jobs of your constituents on that proposition. For it would be a very, very bad bet.
Even with full backing for the IMF, and diligent reforms in East Asia, recovery will take time. And further tremors are possible.
The best way to end the crisis is to back the reforms now being implemented, approve the supplemental IMF funding requests submitted by the President earlier this month, work to keep the virus from spreading, and develop strategies for preventing this kind of instability from arising again.
In the Middle East, we continue to guard against another form of instability through our efforts to encourage progress towards a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.
Last month, President Clinton presented ideas to Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Netanyahu in an effort to break the current stalemate, recognizing that the parties, given the level of their distrust, might respond to us even if they remain reluctant to respond to each other.
The issue now is whether the leaders are prepared to make the kinds of decisions that will make it possible to put the process back on track. Indeed, we have to ask: are they prepared to promote their common interests as partners? Or are they determined to return to an era of zero-sum relations?
The stakes are high. That's why we have been involved in such an intensive effort to protect the process from collapsing.
Mr. Chairman, closer to home, we meet at a time of heightened emphasis in our policy towards the Americas. This attention is warranted not only by proximity of geography, but by proximity of values. For today, with one lonely exception, every government in the hemisphere is freely-elected.
In the weeks ahead, we will be preparing for the second Summit of the Americas, pressing for democratic change in Cuba and intensifying our efforts in Haiti, where the challenge of developing a democratic culture and market economy--where neither has ever existed--is especially daunting.
We are also taking a fresh approach to Africa, which the President plans to visit next month. During my own recent trip, I was impressed by the opportunity that exists to help integrate that continent into the world economy; build democracy; and gain valuable allies in the fight against global threats.
To frame a new American approach to the new Africa, we will be seeking Congressional support for the President's initiative to promote justice and development in the Great Lakes, and urging approval of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act.
III. LEADERSHIP THROUGH INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
A. Unfinished Business.
Mr. Chairman, there is much that America can accomplish unilaterally, through our bilateral diplomacy or in cooperation with our close allies. But in today's world, there are also many problems that can only be dealt with--or can best be dealt with--through broad international action. For this reason, it serves important American interests to participate in international organizations whose activities contribute to our security, prosperity and safety. Among the most prominent of these organizations are those within the United Nations system.
Last year, Congress and the Administration worked together to develop a three year plan to encourage United Nations reform while paying our long overdue UN bills.
Unfortunately, that spirit of constructive cooperation broke down during the final days of the session. A small group of House Members blocked final passage of this and other key measures to authorize the restructuring of our foreign policy institutions and to provide needed financing for the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
I have testified before the authorizing Committees about my concern with the tactics used to block this legislation, and will not belabor the point here. Certainly, your Subcommittee did its part by appropriating the $100 million called for in the first year. Now, we have to find a way to free up that money and to gain approval of funds for years two and three.
Mr. Chairman, I have been discussing the UN and America's role in it with this Subcommittee since 1993. And we have had an extremely productive dialogue.
Together, through legislation and diplomacy, we have helped the UN to achieve more reform in the past half decade than in the 45 years that preceded it.
During this period, the UN's staffing has declined and its budget has been brought under control. Assessments for UN peacekeeping operations have dropped by 80%, and those operations are subject to far greater discipline. The inspector general's office--which did not exist in 1993--has grown steadily more aggressive and effective.
And within the UN system, a new generation of leaders is taking the helm--from Secretary-General Kofi Annan, to Deputy Secretary General Louise Frechette, to Gro Brundtland at the World Health Organization (WHO), to Mary Robinson, the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Slowly, but surely, a culture of accountability, transparency and results is taking hold. And, as you know, Mr. Chairman, this progress has not come easy. We have faced opposition every step of the way. And the job is far from finished.
But let me tell you frankly that, if we are not able now--in the next few months--to approve funding for our UN arrears, our legs truly will be cut out from under us at the UN. We are told daily, by our best allies and friends, that U.S. credibility will be sadly diminished. That will cost Americans and hurt America.
Let me cite just one example.
Last December, the General Assembly voted on a plan that could have--and I believe would have--cut our share of UN assessments to 25% for peacekeeping and from 25% to 22% for the regular budget--an overall difference in the amount we are assessed of roughly $100 million every year.
Our diplomatic team had worked long and hard to make this possible. Don't forget that 22% is less than our share of the world's economy--or GDP--while Europe pays above its share. And in two years, Japan will be required to pay more than 20% of the UN budget.
But when word arrived in New York that the UN arrears package had been killed, support for reducing our rate of assessments disappeared. It took an heroic effort to persuade the UN to leave open the possibility for a new vote during the first half of this year. If we do not act by then, the next opportunity will not come until the year 2000.
So we have a choice. We can fail once again to act, undermine our own diplomatic leadership, weaken prospects for further UN reform, and deprive our taxpayers of savings we might otherwise be able to achieve.
Or we can pay our arrears, restore full U.S. influence, press ahead on reform, and make possible a reduction in our assessments that will save U.S. taxpayers money for as long as we are in the UN.
I know that this choice will not be made by this Subcommittee alone. But I ask your support for prompt action--not tied to any unrelated issue--on our supplemental appropriations request for UN arrears. I am convinced it is the right choice for America.
B. Contributions to International Organizations.
More broadly, I ask your support for the President's budget request for the entire Contributions to International Organizations Account for fiscal year 1999.
Mr. Chairman, and members of the Subcommittee, we have reviewed the importance of these organizations to American interests on an annual basis.
The Clinton Administration, like prior Administrations from Truman to Bush, has found the UN, itself, a valuable means of enlisting the help of others in pursuit of goals we support. Current examples include the work of the UN Special Commission in Iraq, the effort to develop an independent and professional police force in Bosnia, and the war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the Balkans.
Agencies affiliated with the UN also provide vital services.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) helps protect Americans from the dangers of nuclear proliferation. The IAEA conducts essential verification of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and its strengthened safeguards regime provides assurance that peaceful nuclear programs are not being diverted for weapons purposes.
The World Health Organization, which promises to be far better managed under its new director, helps to research, track, contain and above all prevent disease and other health problems from malnutrition and malaria to Ebola and HIV/AIDS. This makes us all safer and can provide long term financial savings, as well. For example, U.S. taxpayers save hundreds of millions of dollars annually because WHO eradicated smallpox and thereby ended the need to vaccinate against the disease.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) enhances international trade in agricultural and fisheries products. Through the Codex Alimentarius, it applies objective quality and safety standards that facilitate the export of more than $60 billion in U.S. agricultural products each year. The FAO also protects U.S. agriculture from potential losses through its plant, pest and animal disease control programs.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) was established in 1919 in response to unsafe working conditions associated with industrialization. Although workplace conditions have improved dramatically in much of the world, there remain large, economically-significant labor markets characterized by work forces that are underage, under-paid and poorly-treated.
Accordingly, the ILO serves two primary U.S. policy objectives: promoting respect for human rights in the workplace, and minimizing unfair international competition from firms and countries that do not observe core labor standards. To this end, we will be working this year for a strong ILO declaration on core labor standards and proposals to implement them worldwide.
Mr. Chairman, other specialized UN agencies and international organizations such as the International Telecommunications Union, NATO, the OECD and the Organization of American States also serve important U.S. interests. To maintain our influence and leverage within these organizations, we need to stay--or become--current on our obligations to them.
C. United Nations Peacekeeping.
I also ask the Subcommittee's support for the President's request for $231 million for the Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) Account.
As we have discussed over the years, UN peacekeeping provides one of a number of options available to us and to the world community to prevent or respond to conflicts. Although they are not the answer in all cases, well-designed UN operations can be effective in the right circumstances, and have the advantage of spreading costs and risks widely and fairly.
Our CIPA request this year includes funds to pay our assessments for critical operations along Iraq's border with Kuwait, on the Golan Heights, in Bosnia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to name a few.
This past year saw several UN successes. The UN observer mission in Liberia helped provide a secure environment for elections in August 1997 and then withdrew. The UN Transitional Administration in Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) facilitated that region's peaceful reintegration into Croatia in January--it has now withdrawn, succeeded by a small UN policing program. And UN peacekeeping operations marked a success in Guatemala, with the implementation of the final peace agreement that was signed in December 1996.
I visited Guatemala last May. At a guerrilla demobilization camp I saw firsthand how support from the UN, USAID, and others had given the Guatemalan people a chance to recover from the debilitation of war and begin to build a true national community. Although the process of reconciliation in Guatemala still has far to go, the UN operation made a unique and indispensable contribution.
In Tajikistan, where a peace agreement signed last fall is holding tenuously, the UN hopes to make similar progress this year. And in Angola, a UN observer mission is supervising the final phases of that country's peace process.
As always, Mr. Chairman, I am aware of this Subcommittee's long-standing and long-justified desire to be consulted when new UN peacekeeping operations are planned--not just when the bills come due. I am committed, and I know Assistant Secretary Lyman and Ambassador Richardson are committed, to meeting this obligation.
In this connection, I note the possibility that we will support a new operation or operations in Africa. I want to stress, Mr. Chairman, based on my recent visit to that continent, and my discussions with regional leaders, how important international peacekeeping has been and is to this part of the world. African leaders are determined to do more themselves to solve disputes within the region, and UN support can help them succeed.
Important U.S. interests in Africa are served every time an area of instability and conflict is transformed into one of peace and development. This contributes to our economic interests, reduces the likelihood of costly humanitarian disasters and refugee flows, and expands the network of societies working to counter global threats such as illegal narcotics, crime, terror and disease.
IV. MANAGING FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY.
Mr. Chairman, American leadership is built on American ideals, backed by our economic and military might, and supported by our diplomacy. Unfortunately, despite progress made last year with bipartisan support from this Subcommittee, the resources we need to support our diplomacy are stretched thin.
Over the past decade, funding--in real terms--has declined sharply. Personnel levels are down. Training has been cut. And we face critical infrastructure needs that cannot be put off any longer.
There was a time, not that long ago, when State Department managers could afford to be guided by a "just in case" philosophy. Planning, acquisitions and training could be based on what might be needed. Today, we are compelled by the pace of change and the tightness of budgets to practice "just in time" management. That requires putting personnel, resources and infrastructure where they are required, when they are required, and being prepared to reposition them rapidly and flexibly when they are not.
Already, this has translated into smaller staffs, more versatile personnel, and better cost-sharing among agencies. It has meant selling, buying, renting and swapping properties around the world to achieve the most cost-effective mix. It has meant developing service programs which pay for themselves. And, through our reorganization planning, it has meant taking a hard look at functions which may be duplicative.
But to continue our progress, we need to make some well-placed investments.
This year our request for State Department Operating funds is $2.177 billion. This reflects an increase of 4.8 percent from Fiscal Year 1998, nearly half of which is attributable to inflation and mandatory pay raises. In addition, we are seeking an increase of $243 million in our "Security and Maintenance of U.S. Missions" account, to provide much-needed upgrades and improvements in infrastructure.
Like the rest of us, Mr. Chairman, our facilities are aging--Old State is 60; New State is 40. Our request this year includes funds for a portion of the long-awaited renovation project at C Street, although the lion's share of money for this project is being requested by the General Services Administration. Just as important, we are requesting funds for some of our most dire infrastructure needs overseas, beginning with two of our most crucial posts--Berlin and Beijing.
In 1999, the Germans will complete the move of their capital from Bonn. We need to complete the same move by building a new embassy in the new capital.
This move symbolizes the success of fifty years of partnership between the United States and Germany, a partnership cemented with the Berlin airlift 50 years ago this summer and which ultimately helped defeat Communism, bring down the Wall, and anchor Germany firmly within a strong Euro-Atlantic community. The victory reflected in Berlin's establishment as the capital of a united and democratic Germany is one in which Americans may take great pride, and for which we should be on the ground from the beginning.
It is also a tremendous opportunity. Germany possesses the world's third-largest economy; it is host to the largest overseas contingent of U.S. troops; it is the driving force behind European integration; and it is a nation with whom we work closely on matters as diverse as building peace in Bosnia to safeguarding the global economy to exploring space.
Accordingly, Mr. Chairman, we must move now to build our new facility, and assure the high quality representation our interests demand and our people expect. We estimate the total costs of designing, building and furnishing a new US Embassy Berlin to be $120 million. In fiscal 1999, we are requesting $50 million--less than half the total cost--because we expect to raise the remaining funds required by selling excess U.S. property in Germany.
Our presence in China is large, growing and vital to our interests. In recent years, the number of Americans visiting that country as tourists, students or for business purposes has mushroomed--as has the number of Chinese seeking to enter the United States. And as we have developed a broader agenda on which we seek to cooperate with China, U.S. agencies have sent more officials to our missions in that country. Total staffing increased by 15 percent last year alone.
Unfortunately, as the Department's Inspector General has confirmed, with the exception of Hong Kong, our posts in China suffer from over-crowding, inadequate facilities, insufficient information technology, sub-standard housing, and serious safety and security deficiencies.
We have developed an overall plan to address these issues, beginning this year, by building reasonably-priced housing in Shanghai and rehabilitating the existing Beijing chancery--both of which can be funded with proceeds from the sale of other properties. We are also requesting $200 million to acquire a site and design and construct a new Embassy for Beijing.
Of course, the problems we face in China are not unique. In critical posts from Luanda to Kiev to Vladivostok, America's representatives are doing their jobs under conditions that are unacceptably primitive, unhealthy or unsafe. Due to budget restraints, we have requested funding for only a fraction of the needs we have identified, focusing on improving our safety programs and increasing the number of maintenance specialists we have on staff, in order to extend yet further the useful life of the infrastructure we have.
B. Information Technology.
Our most pressing information technology needs are basic. We want to install late-20th century computer technology at every post before the 21st century begins. We need to replace old and overloaded phone switchboards before they experience what is known as "catastrophic failure." We need to implement new information security features to protect our data and networks. And we want to ensure that, when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 1999, our computers don't all crash and send us back to the age of quill pens and scribes.
As communications become ever more sophisticated, and ever more reliance is placed on computer hookups, State and our sister agencies need more lines of access, known as "bandwidth," between Washington and the field.
Unlike your local phone company, we cannot always depend on local lines in foreign countries, but must often supplement the communications infrastructure available. And, of course, we must do the work in-house for security reasons. The resulting "phone bill," Mr. Chairman, is the price we must pay for having the right person on the right phone line when the President, or you, or I, need to get through. I hope you will support us in working to put together a system that is secure, reliable, and capacious enough to meet the demands of the Information Age.
Mr. Chairman, as Secretary of State, I can tell you that every American can be proud of the people--foreign and civil service and foreign nationals--who work every day, often under very difficult conditions, to protect our citizens and our interests around the world. I have never been associated with a more talented, professional or dedicated group of people.
But to maintain the highest standards of diplomatic representation in this era, we must continue to emphasize high standards in recruiting, training and managing our personnel.
We need to train our people to sift information as much as to gather it, to surf the web as much as to pound the pavement, and to look outside the traditional "diplomatic sources" for information, contacts and ideas.
We need specialists who can keep up with fast-moving developments in electronic commerce, genetic engineering, or telecommunications. We need people with good computer skills, with the knowledge to staff our regional environmental hubs, and with the language and cultural training required to feel at home in faraway lands. And we need men and women who can monitor compliance with intellectual property law, assist Americans in trouble, report on human rights and promote our arms control agenda, all in the same career--and sometimes in the same week.
And to do justice to the strength our nation finds in its diversity, we have to do better at hiring, retaining and promoting the best people America has to offer--from every background. We are making progress. I am particularly proud of the large numbers of women competing successfully to enter the Foreign Service this year. But there is much more we can do, from making our overseas facilities more accessible to persons with disabilities to showing more support for State Department families.
I hope I can count on this Subcommittee as a partner in these efforts.
D. Border Security.
Supported by the retention of Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fees, we will continue implementing a comprehensive border security strategy to improve consular systems and services.
Consular systems are our nation's first line of defense against the flow of international terrorism and crime across our borders. We must be able to screen out the few visa applicants who would harm our people or violate our laws, without hindering the millions of legitimate visitors who enrich our lives and add tens of billions of dollars to our economy every year.
With the MRV, we have the ability to check applicants' names against government records by computer, in every consular post. We are emphasizing improved training for consular officers, and working to provide even better computer equipment. We have also upgraded our passport-issuing services to meet record demand.
I want to thank the Subcommittee for having the foresight to continue the legislation allowing the Department to retain MRV fees through Fiscal Year 1999, during which we plan to fund our border security programs at $296 million.
Mr. Chairman, many of our initiatives are directed, as I have discussed, at particular countries or regions. Others, such as our efforts to build prosperity, fight international crime and protect the environment, can best be considered in global terms.
But whether we are dealing with regional or world wide issues, it is hard to lead in the 1990's with institutions designed for the 1950's.
That is why we worked with Congress last year to develop a plan to reorganize our foreign affairs agencies to reflect the fact that arms control, public diplomacy and international development belong at the heart of American foreign policy.
As part of this reorganization, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) and the United States Information Agency (USIA) are to integrate their activities into the Department of State. Unfortunately, legislation providing the necessary authorization for this reorganization was blocked, thus requiring the agencies to present separate budget requests for Fiscal Year 1999.
I hope we will have the Subcommittee's support for early action on reorganization legislation this year. This is essential not only to move ahead with our management goals, but to ensure the effective implementation of policies and programs vital to U.S. interests.
For example, it is a core purpose of American foreign policy to halt the spread and possible use of weapons of mass destruction, which remain--years after the Cold War's end--the most serious threat to the security of our people.
This imperative reflects the value of the services provided to America by ACDA. As part of our effort to reorganize our foreign policy institutions, we have "double-hatted" ACDA Director John Holum as our Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, and ACDA has worked closely with the Department to develop an effective plan for integration.
Today, ACDA's agenda includes: ratifying and implementing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; continuing strategic arms reductions with Russia; taking steps, with other agencies, to limit the quantity, improve the security and prevent the diversion of fissile materials worldwide; implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention; negotiating an inspections regime to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention; and beginning negotiations to ban the export of anti-personnel land mines. To accomplish all this, ACDA is requesting $43.4 million--a total operating budget smaller in constant dollars than that under which it is operating this fiscal year.
USIA has also experienced cuts in staffing and--in constant-dollars--appropriations. But the importance of its mission has, if anything, increased, as the challenges of globalization demand a more comprehensive and sophisticated approach to America's public diplomacy. USIA's request for Fiscal Year 1999 is $6 million lower than its currently-available funds. Within this reduce level, USIA plans to accommodate several priority increases to expand field programs in East Asia; enhance broadcasting to central Africa and Russia; complete a new relay station for Asia; provide added support for Fulbright exchange programs; and provide improved high-speed telecommunications capacity to a dozen additional overseas posts.
This request also includes funding for the National Endowment for Democracy, which receives funding from USIA for its important work supporting the development of democratic culture and institutions around the world.
Mr. Chairman, half a century ago, a Democratic President and Republican Congress worked together to help forge the institutions that have shaped our foreign policy and defined the history of our age; institutions that proved instrumental in the defense and spread of freedom; the growth of prosperity; the defeat of Communism; and the confirmation over and over again of America's standing as a leading force for justice and law in the world.
These institutions included NATO, the United Nations, the Voice of America, the OAS, the National Security Council and the Foreign Service Institute.
Their architects could not have conceived that our ambassadors would one day be cabling Washington by computer in real time; that in promoting trade, our diplomats would be dealing not only with grain and steel but with bits, bytes and movie rights; or even for that matter, that a female Secretary of State would one day meet with a black president of South Africa.
Our predecessors were not prophets. But because they stood tall; they were perhaps able to see a little bit further into the future than others. They also had faith in our people, in the principles upon which our nation was founded, in our determination to honor the commitments we make, and in our desire to base our lives, as individuals and as a nation, not on our fears, but on our hopes.
Today, we have a responsibility to honor their faith; to reject the temptation of complacency and assume, not with complaint, but welcome, the leader's role established by our forebears.
For it is only by living up to the heritage of our past that we will fulfill the promise of our future--and enter the new century free and respected, prosperous and at peace.
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee, thank you very much. And now, I would be pleased to respond to your questions.
[End of Document]
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