|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks to U.S. Embassy Personnel, Ambassador Stith's Residence
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, October 21, 1999
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much Ambassador Stith. What a gorgeous day and everything is fantastic. I have to say that on our last trip here I did not pay any attention to any of the scenery. It is just beautiful. I have to say that you and Mrs. Stith have brought the gift of the healing spirit to Americans and Tanzanians alike in so many ways and I am really grateful. Everybody says your presence here has made a tremendous difference, and having spent a little while with you today, I can see why.
Today, we had the chance not to just remember and celebrate the life of Julius Nyerere, but to take inspiration from him for the work ahead. Also, the memory of those whose lives were lost a year ago will always be honored here even as this embassy sets its face to the future.
I am deeply impressed by the skill of the people in this embassy and your ability to pull together and to show such tremendous dedication. You are a source of great pride to the United States, and I am deeply grateful to you for everything that you have done and have been doing. And, in addition to your normal life of getting things together, of preparing for a visit by anybody, like the Secretary of State who changes her mind, and then this huge funeral. So, I thank you very much. I will be back. So, keep those plans out there because I would really like to come back for a longer stay.
What Ambassador Stith said about American interests in Africa is very much the theme of my trip. I have felt that the United States is not paying enough attention to Africa. Actually, this is my sixth trip, but only the third as Secretary of State. I came when I was Ambassador to the UN. I have tried very hard to make quite clear that how Africa develops and evolves and is part of the global economy is obviously good for the African people, but good for the United States. A message that, I think, needs to be heard loud and clear in the United States itself. And you here every day are doing tremendous work to promote American interests and support Tanzania's economic modernization and reform. And you help Tanzanian businesses find American partners. You fight poverty. You further AIDS awareness and promote democratization. And that is just in half a day. You really are the front lines of America's defense, of America's national interest, and so I salute you.
Yesterday I gave a speech in Nigeria in which I hope I made clear the importance of America's stake in Africa. And as the Ambassador has said, we hope that the Senate will be positive in terms of the African Growth and Opportunity Act because I think it is well titled for what it is supposed to do: to draw us closer and provide both growth and opportunity in both continents. And what you are doing in building real partnerships for us is exactly what I had in mind in my speech. I know that the work can be difficult and frustrating in that there are never enough resources for what we want to do.
The reason I am not actually spending more time here enjoying the climate and the scenery is that I have to get back to deal with the resource fight that is going on. As you know, the President, on my recommendation, vetoed the Foreign Operations bill because it was $2 billion plus below what the President had requested. Apparently, spending a penny out of every dollar seems to be too much for those who have to vote on our budget. I find it so shocking, especially as I now have met with so many African leaders who ask so little from which we can get so much. And we have to understand that America cannot lead on the cheap. Foreign aid is not a give-away program. Foreign assistance is in America's interest. And you, for whom I am also fighting for resources, you are America's finest. You need to be respected as our military is, and you are America's first line of defense, and I can assure you that I will fight for you.
I was deeply moved at President Nyerere's funeral because I think, and as I have found from talking to African leaders, they have said, I hope you will agree Ambassador Stith, they have found a spirit of renewal themselves in learning more about this remarkable African leader who believed in tolerance and equality and unity and independence and perseverance. And so, I am one of these people who always believes something good comes out of sadness and I hope that as people listened to speeches and thought to themselves what Nyerere had meant to them, that it in fact will be a very strong message emanating from Africa.
I want to very specifically thank our Tanzanian partners and friends here today and to thank the Foreign Service Nationals for the amazing work that you all have done in supporting the work of this embassy. And so, I am honored to close our gathering today by recognizing Mr. Eddie Kapesa as a member of our guard staff. Eddie was badly injured in the bombing. But, he returned to the embassy team as a mailroom staffer and a vibrant member of this community; a link between America and Tanzania, and between the past and the future. And so, thank you Eddie for your courage and commitment.
Thank you all very much for making me feel so welcome, and thank you so much for everything that you are doing.
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