|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks to the American Chamber of Commerce
Rio de Janeiro Stock Exchange
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 15, 1997
As released by the Office of the Spokesman, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
U.S. Department of State
Thank you very much. I am the first woman Secretary of State, and also the shortest Secretary of State, in American history. It is a great pleasure to be here today with my Cabinet colleagues, Ambassador Levitsky, our Consul General, and our members of Congress, who have accompanied President Clinton on what is a very, very important trip.
Fifty years ago last month, President Truman came to Brazil. In the aftermath of a global war in which soldiers from our two countries had fought and sacrificed side by side, he spoke somberly of the obligation to promote and defend freedom that all the nations of this hemisphere share; and of our "deep faith that [in defeating Fascism] we were opening the way to... something better ... than the world had known before."
Over the past half century, the road has not always been smooth. There have been setbacks, disappointments and misunderstandings. But we have moved forward in recent years with gathering speed.
Today, we see our hemisphere uniting around principles of democracy, open markets and the rule of law.
The Summit of the Americas process is providing us a new means to advance our interests shared from Patagonia to Prudhoe Bay. And I have traveled from city to city in this vast and spellbinding nation with increasing certainty that our two countries are building a true partnership based on shared interests, common values, and mutual respect.
Before this position, I was the American Ambassador to the United Nations and when I was there, starting in 1993, Brazil was on the Security Council and we already worked very hard together in terms of bringing peace to a number of areas, cooperating on peacekeeping operations, and generally working together very closely. Yesterday, Brazil was re-elected as a non-permanent member of the Security Council and we look forward to working with all of you very closely again on a new agenda. We are very pleased that Brazil has now become a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and signed the CTBT -- the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In my discussions with Foreign Minister Lampreia, I found that we have such a mutuality of interests in terms of working together across the board on a whole set of issues; we have developed not only a very nice personal friendship but a very good professional relationship, one that signifies the closer working relationship between Brazil and the United States.
I will leave Brazil with a deep of admiration for President Cardoso and his determination to move Brazil's economy forward; to send a message of hope and empowerment to all its citizens; and to ensure that this country plays the global role that is its destiny. We can truly say that we are building something better than our peoples have known before.
The private sector has also brought vision and determination to the task of developing a strong, high-tech economy, and playing a critical role in opening markets in the region, across the hemisphere and around the world. I will repeat what my colleagues will repeat, which is that we think that Mercosul is a great addition and is the kind of building block that is necessary.
President Clinton yesterday was asked what it was like for the United States to be the only superpower, and he made very clear that what we want is 'partners' that will work with us on transnational threats. The time when nations faced each other in enmity is passed, and the problems we now all face together are common problems that require common solutions.
I hope very much that we can work together to write the next chapter about integration and growing prosperity, not just for some but for all of our citizens. This Chamber of Commerce deserves enormous credit for the work you are already doing to help spread opportunity here in Rio.
I have also made very clear as Secretary of State that our embassies are really the kind that need to make sure that they help the people here, that we reach outward in terms of our efforts in terms of helping the business community, and I am sure that you will agree that Ambassador Mel Levitsky in Brasilia and our Consul-General Chris Orozco and his staff here in Rio are all ready to offer help to American businesses in every way, and I am sure that you will agree they are doing a terrific job.
The United States is working with the Brazilian government and many businesses and NGOs to help maintain the forward momentum of reform. We fund programs that support education, health care and credit, and unlock tremendous human potential. We are intensifying our cooperation on environmental issues, including a $10 million dollar grant to a G-7 pilot program working with Brazil to protect the Amazon. I hope that the business community will join us as we look for ways to counter the dangers of El Nino and the damage of forest fires, and as we seek a way past our differences to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.
Of course, U.S.-Brazilian cooperation in the public and private sectors will be critical to achieving hemispheric free trade. You will hear a great deal more about that this afternoon, as the Clinton Administration pushes for fast-track negotiating authority and our plans for progress toward the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
Let me just say now that, ultimately, free trade for our hemisphere makes sense because our countries are natural partners. We are bound together by shared history, our belief in human freedom and faith in a better future.
Cementing our ties through the Free Trade Area of the Americas would be good for our workers, our businesses, our consumers. It would promote the principles of democracy that we share, and contribute to regional stability. It would serve as the linchpin we need to protect our shared neighborhood from the ravages of drugs, terrorism and crime. And it would provide the resources we need to combat poverty and to build a future in which more of our citizens share in growth.
I see that future in Brazil's economic and social progress; in your accomplishments here in Rio; and in the community we are building together.
For what you have done, and for what you will do, I salute you; and for my welcome here today, I am muito obrigada.
Thank you very much.
[End of Document]
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