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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Interview by Tom Brokaw on NBC's Evening News
January 8, 2001, Washington, D.C.
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
Blue Line

MR. BROKAW: War and peace in the Middle East are very much on the mind of America's Secretary of State as she prepares to leave office -- the first woman to hold that job. I sat down today with Madeleine Albright and asked her to reflect on her tenure, and now the prospects for a wider war in the Middle East.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, it would be a great tragedy, and this is why President Clinton has been working so hard for all these years to try to bring an end to the horrible problems there. But we are realistic about how much can be done. There are a few days left.

MR. BROKAW: Do you think that we'll ever have what you can call a true peace in the Middle East?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: At some place, at some time, there will be peace. The tragedy is the number of people that are dying until that moment of realization comes. These people are living side by side and basically within each other, and they have to come to some agreement.

MR. BROKAW: What kind of a commitment has the incoming Secretary of State, Colin Powell, given you about the new Administration and its efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Unfortunately, I think it will be there for them to deal with. They understand the fact that it's in the US national interest to have peace in the Middle East, and I'm sure that he's going to be working on it.

MR. BROKAW: Madame Secretary, in addition to your job as Secretary of State and chief foreign policy advisor to the President, you had another role. You were close to the President personally. You were one of those Cabinet officers who went into the West Wing driveway at the time of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and said that you believe the President.

When the truth came out, what was your reaction personally?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, it was clearly a very unpleasant time, but I have to say that serving President Clinton has been the highest honor that I could imagine.

MR. BROKAW: Did he ever take you back into the Oval Office and look at you and say, "Madame Secretary, I'm sorry I put you in that position"?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think that's between the President and me.

MR. BROKAW: You came here fleeing Communism. You were an immigrant, first generation. Looking back now on your remarkable life, that must resonate for you in ways that would be hard to describe.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I have loved being an American, and now being able to be a part of American history is an unparalleled honor. And I guess everybody is a patriotic American, but I have to tell you that those of that weren't born here have an extra stripe of patriotism, I do believe.

MR. BROKAW: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright today.

[End of Document]
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