|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks on the FY-2001 International Affairs Budget Request
Washington, D.C., February 7, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good afternoon. It is once again budget day here at the Department of State, and I'm pleased to present the highlights of the President's request for what we affectionately refer to as the 150 or International Affairs function. I will then be even more pleased to turn you all over to Anne Richard, the Director of our Office of Resources, Plans and Policy. Anne has just returned from briefing our friends and others on Capitol Hill and is looking forward to answering your hardest questions. I will have that same opportunity to answer questions this week in testimony before three different congressional committees.
On this occasion, I will make the case that this budget provides good value for America. Diplomacy is our nation's first line of defense. When we succeed, we make it less likely that our armed forces will be called upon to fight, more likely that our workers and businesses will benefit from open markets, less likely that our citizens will be harmed by international terror, and more likely that our children will grow up in a world that is peaceful and prosperous, healthy and free.
As I have said before, the entire array of international programs only consume about one penny out of every federal dollar we spend, but that one percent may be responsible for 50 percent of the history that is written about our era, and it makes a difference in the lives of 100 percent of the American people.
Without reciting the numbers which you have, let me highlight very briefly some of the priorities in this budget. First, President Clinton is making good on his commitment to assist President Pastrana's Plan Colombia. This priority supports a full hand of Administration goals: help for key democracy, peace, counter-narcotics, human rights and economic development.
We're requesting substantial resources for three other key transitional democracies: Nigeria, Indonesia and Ukraine. I focus on this because securing and strengthening democracy around the world is not just a question of good civics or high-minded values, it is a strategic imperative. Democracy is not a magic wand, but a world moving in the democratic direction will provide a far better environment for American security and prosperity than a world falling back into the clutches of dictators and demagogues.
We are seeking funds to build peace in Kosovo and to integrate Southeast Europe into the continent's democratic mainstream. People in this region have a historic opportunity to forge stable and prosperous societies that are able to live in peace, both internally and with their neighbors. If they can, the payoff for Europe and for us would be immense. Our allies and partners are taking the lead. The President is asking that we do our share.
The President's budget also includes $830 million for programs in the New Independent States. This is a vast area, but our programs not only in the Ukraine but throughout the region are a significant source of help to those striving to strengthen democratic institutions.
In the same part of the world, we are requesting renewed support for the President's Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative. This initiative makes Americans more secure by safeguarding the handling of advanced weapons materials and expertise in the former Soviet Union.
Another major theme in this year's budget is responding to significant transnational threats, and here we are proposing significant increases in our investments in the fight against HIV/AIDS; in our nonproliferation, terrorism and de-mining account; and in a variety of initiatives in Africa. We also seek to reverse recent trends by raising our contributions to international family planning, back to the 1995 level.
Finally, we have tried to ensure through this budget that our personnel here in the Department and in posts abroad have the operating resources they need to do their jobs in a way that our citizens expect and our interests demand. And here, let me add a few words on a different but intimately related subject.
Since becoming Secretary of State, I have been constantly concerned with the need to protect the security of the people who work at our diplomatic missions and of the classified information we handle both in America and abroad. These have been among our highest priorities, and I believe we've made steady progress. The tragic August 1998 Embassy bombings in Africa gave added urgency to our efforts, and the appointment of David Carpenter, a career law enforcement professional, as Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security, has helped us to intensify our security programs on every front.
With help from Congress, we have substantially accelerated the replacement and repair of high-risk Embassies and Consulates. We've hired new security personnel whose ranks had been allowed to decline in earlier years for budgetary reasons. We have developed a global risk management plan, enhanced perimeter security, hired more local guards, adopted a rigorous escort policy, strengthened computer safeguards, provided thousands of security briefings and made operational an effective new surveillance detection program at most of our posts.
Overall, we have made a good start on implementing the recommendations of the Crowe Report and Overseas Presence Advisory Panel, which focus on protecting Americans and all personnel working in our diplomatic posts. And now the President is requesting more than a billion dollars in diplomatic security-related appropriations for the year 2001, and more than 3 billion in advance appropriations to continue replacing facilities.
Now, all this is to the good, but it is not sufficient. I am directing Assistant Secretary Carpenter to review and recommend revisions as needed in our plans, procedures and timelines for enhancing security. I am asking him to work with other security professionals, both in and outside the Department, to ensure that cooperation in countering threats to our security from whatever source is at the highest level. And I am continuing to study the possible need for structural changes to ensure that the mandate for the best security is everywhere understood and everywhere applied.
Our goal is to insure that, as far as humanly possible and consistent with their professional responsibilities, our people are fully protected; to make certain that the classified information we handle is fully secure; and to drive home the message that at the Department of State security is everybody's business every day.
Thank you all, and I now will answer some questions before I turn this over to Anne.
QUESTION: First of all, Madame Secretary, I couldn't help noticing that penny sitting there. Was that an unused prop for your presentation?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: You're right. This is the penny out of every dollar. (Laughter.) Thank you, would you like to come up here?
QUESTION: Secondly, my real question is --
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Come on.
QUESTION: Well, let's see if I can set you up for something even better this time.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: It's lucky.
QUESTION: I hope the head side is up.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: The head side is up.
QUESTION: Good. I'm wondering if you had a chance to speak with Ambassador Hall over the weekend or today since she has -- if, in fact, she has returned, and what your decision has been on what she said to you about her meetings in Vienna, and when and whether she will be going back soon?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I have not had a chance to speak to her. She was going in to see Chancellor Schuessel early evening Austrian time.
Over the weekend, however, I spoke with many Europeans about the various actions taken and the serious concern that we all have for this coalition government.
I believe that we are doing exactly the right thing in terms of staying in close contact and in kind of the generally same direction as the Europeans are taking. I do want Ambassador Hall to come back here to report to me. She will be going back, and I think that we will follow very closely the actions.
Deputy Secretary of Treasury Stu Eizenstat spoke earlier today to Austrian officials on the issues that concern us about the Holocaust and various restitution programs, and we will be watching to see not only what is written in the program of the new government but how they carry all that out. Certain visits have been postponed. The Portuguese president is not going there, and others, and of course the Europeans have cut off their bilateral contacts but they continue to have their European sessions.
I also think it's quite unacceptable for Mr. Haider to make a statement one day, then apologize for it and then make another statement the next day. I think that while he is not a member of the government, I think that in our line of work that is not how we operate.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, have you had a chance to look into the case of the Russian tanker in the Gulf? Do you consider it to be totally separate from the Russian Government or was there any Russian Government knowledge or involvement?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, the tanker now -- the oil in it has been tested and found to be of Iraqi origin. They are, in fact, going to off-load and sell it, and the money -- the oil, that is -- and the money will go into the compensation fund.
Foreign Minister Ivanov has apparently called on the owners of the tanker to deal with the investigative aspect of this, and we will follow that investigation. I think that in my contacts with the Russian Government, they have agreed with the process that has gone forward, and it is seen as a smuggling case that is, in fact, contrary to the sanctions policy.
So at this stage it is, we believe, being handled appropriately as an investigation and that the private owners need to look at it. We'll obviously follow it closely.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you mentioned Ukraine as one of the countries which would be receiving this aid for democracy. In the last week or so, there have considerable trouble there. The Rada was occupied by the opposition. There were fears that President Kuchma would use force to try and get them out of there. It looked as if we were approaching the situation we had earlier in Russia.
Is any money, which will be sent to Ukraine, also contingent upon President Kuchma in maintaining a course and respecting the democratic choice of the Ukrainians, including the opposition who were elected during the elections?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well let me say this: The reason that we have focused on Ukraine is that it is very important in terms of its geographical location and generally in terms of the stability of that region. We have noted a lot of progress in Ukraine and their recent elections that we think went in the right direction.
But, obviously, the reason that we are putting money into Ukraine is because we think that it's still fragile and that the reform movements have to go forward and that President Kuchma and his government have to work very carefully to make sure that the reform process, both in terms of the economic issues, as well as democracy and civil society issues, are able to go forward.
If everything were in complete, total order, it would not have been chosen as one of our four countries which, by the way, are not a group; they are four individual countries that, for different reasons, have been chosen. Each has a different history, but each is important to us because of not only what is happening internally but the effect that it can have on the particular region in which they are.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you stressed a couple of times about diplomatic security not only protecting US diplomats but protecting classified information at the Department of State, saying that security is everyone's business. Can you go over a little bit about what has happened since the incident in which the Russians were found to be monitoring conversations in the seventh floor conference room, what you've done to enhance security, and what might be reflected in this budget on what you plan to do to enhance security so classified information doesn't leak out in such a manner?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, let me say that I obviously was concerned by reports and the facts of that event -- of the finding of the bug. As I have said very carefully before -- I think it needs to be repeated -- that this was in an office on the other side of the building and was obviously of concern but an issue that, at some stage, people thought it was kind of near my office. It is not.
But I have been generally very concerned about security and I think that not only we in the Department but in other departments in the United States Government, that there is an increasing realization that while we wish that we were operating in a different environment and there was a hope that at the end of the Cold War this kind of thing would not happen, that we are still subjected to various techniques of those who are trying to acquire information about what we are doing. And there are a series of new threats, different kinds of countries or non-state actors that are interested in what we do, and there obviously is different technology for doing things.
And so I really have felt that, rather than sitting around and waiting for problems, that we really now need to take a very serious top-down or bottom-up review of what is happening, and I think that Assistant Secretary Carpenter is the best qualified to lead this effort and review our procedures. We are, in fact, asking for money in this budget. Anne Richard can go through this with you in more detail. Some of it is for buildings. We had asked for 300 million last year for construction, 500 million this year, 14 billion over the next ten years. But in addition to construction, as I mentioned in my remarks, we're talking about perimeter security, hiring more diplomatic security, and obviously concerned about not only kind of old-fashioned threats but cyber-security.
So as I say, across this government there are questions about this, and I thought it would be very important to really make clear that we're going to do a complete review here.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, on Colombia, this area is of high priority for this Administration to help President Pastrana, but in Congress some Democrats have had a lot of doubts that the money will be used by the government of Colombia to combat the guerrillas. Do you have any guarantee, or what is the response from the government of Pastrana about the use of the money -- don't commit human rights violations and that type?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, the Plan is one that President Pastrana has worked out that has the support of the people of Colombia and that we have -- as you know, I went down to Colombia and met with a variety of people and talked about the Plan, which is very balanced, I think, in terms of approaching the issues that we have to deal with: counter-narcotics, the peace process, the economic development and, obviously, human rights issues.
President Pastrana, I think, knows very well our concern about human rights and is very concerned about human rights himself, which he made very clear to me and very clear to the President, and I believe very clear to members of Congress. Large portions of the money are going for counter-narcotics, and the military that is going to be involved in this are groups of military that have been formed out of people that have been vetted, case by case, in terms of their human rights record. I think that, obviously, we will be watching that very carefully.
But I have to tell you, President Pastrana, as I said, made a special point of making clear his interest in making sure that our human rights steps are taken properly. He has asked his vice president to work on that specifically and, obviously, that's a large part of what we're going to be talking about.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, according to the White House announcement, President Clinton will visit India and Bangladesh from March 20th. Also the India Globe reported that. One, are you going to be part of his delegation? Number two, what do you think, Madame Secretary, is going to come out of this meeting, and how important is a visit after 20 years after President Carter?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, I always like to travel with the President, especially on very important missions, but we'll have to see what everybody's schedule is at the time. It's a trip that, you know, we haven't made the final decision on.
I think it is important. I believe that the United States has made quite clear that having a relationship with the world's largest democracy is important. But, obviously, we continue to have very serious concerns about the issues of nonproliferation and about the dealings on Kashmir and hope very much that the Indian Government understands and will continue to deal with those issues because they are essential.
The trip is one that will be important, but it is not just a sign that everything has been dealt with and that all the problems have been resolved. The President wants to make clear the kinds of issues that are out there that we have all been dealing with on nonproliferation.
QUESTION: Have you said anything about your Spokesman's impending departure?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, we will mourn this when it happens, and obviously Mr. Rubin has been very important in everything that we've done. I have just become a grandmother and I can just tell you, it's a lot easier to be a grandmother than to become a father, so he has to get ready for those duties.
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For additional information see International Affairs (Function 150) Budget Requests