Powell To The U.S. Global Leadership Campaign
Remarks to the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign
Secretary Colin L. Powell
Park Hyatt Washington
October 14, 2004
(7:15 p.m. EDT)
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you all very much for your warm welcome, and, Jim and Peter, I thank you for this award, and through you I thank all the members of the Campaign for presenting me with this award.
It's a great pleasure, of course, to be here with Peter. He and I and my wife, Alma, have done many things together over the years, doing our best to support the marvelous work that CARE does throughout the world, taking care of God's neediest children, and, Peter, I thank you for that.
And, Jim, you are not only the boss of a great American corporation but an international corporation, but beyond that, a corporation that does so much around the world to help people. And in Brazil last week, I had the opportunity to thank Caterpillar for the great work that it is doing to help the needy people of Brazil.
I thank you also, George Ingram, for the tremendous job that you do in leading this organization. Thank you so much. (Applause.)
And to my good friend, Ted Koppel -- (laughter) -- I'm all right, I'm okay, I'm okay. (Laughter.) Ted had to leave. He's got to do this late-night show that nobody watches. (Laughter.) Ted almost killed me once. (Laughter.) It's true. Ted and I have been friends for many, many, many years, and as you know, his daughter does cover me at the State Department now. She does a better job than Ted, I might add. (Laughter.)
But every couple of years, Ted will come by my house on the spur of the moment and we'll sit in the back yard and have a cup of coffee. And he's usually driving one of his hot cars. He always has a fast car of some kind. And so about, oh, four or five years ago, he came by the house and he had this real muscle car, and after we had a cup of coffee and chatted for a while, he says, "You've got to take it out and drive it, Colin. You've just got to drive this thing. I want you to feel that power."
I said, "Okay, Ted. You want to go with me?"
"No, you go. I'll just wait right here in front of the house."
And so I go out and up 123 in McLean. I will not tell anyone how fast I was going by the time I hit the CIA turnoff, but it didn't take me long to get there. (Laughter.) And I came back around, pulled up in front of my driveway, and felt something go boom. And I got out of the car and the right rear tire was flat. There must have been about two inches of air left in it.
I said, "Oh, my gosh, Ted. I'm so sorry. I messed up your car."
And he comes back, "Oh, it's okay, it's okay. I've got to go now."
"Wait a minute." So I went to the back of the car and I looked at the tire. There was no tread on it. (Laughter.) The wires were coming through. (Laughter.) This guy had sent me out to speed up and down 123 with this car that had no tires on it. (Laughter.)
And I said, "Ted, how much are they paying you at ABC, man? Surely you can do better than this." (Laughter.)
But Ted is a great journalist and he's been such a role model for so many talented young journalists, and I thank him, knowing he had to leave, but I thank him in his absence nonetheless for keeping the American public informed about the important international issues of the day, even when those issues may not be making the headlines of the day, and that's what Ted is off to do tonight.
And to this group, this marvelous group that does so much great work for the Department, I want to express, on behalf of all the men and women of the State Department's family, our gratitude, extreme gratitude, to the Campaign for recognizing and supporting the vital role of American diplomacy as we confront the challenges of the 21st century.
I could give my speech just off the banners that you have in front of you. They're so right on: Promoting Global Stability, Saving Lives, Opening Markets, Strengthening Democracy, Investing in People, Creating Jobs. That's what we're all about at the Department. And then the other statements that you have up here: Working for America, Supporting Humanitarian Efforts, Building Economic Prosperity. All coming together to protect our national security. All of you are leaders in this effort. All of you understand the importance of this effort, the importance of accomplishing all of these goals.
And it's so important that I am able to go up on Capitol Hill and speak to our Congress about these issues, knowing that I have the support of an organization such as this, and increasingly, I will say to you, the support of many other organizations and the support of the American people, as I think they're coming to understand that diplomacy is on the front line of our foreign affairs effort, the frontline offense taking the battle to the world and winning that battle.
We work with our military colleagues, we work with our colleagues in all branches of government, but we are in the forefront. And if we do our job well, if we achieve these goals, if we accomplish these purposes, then maybe war can be avoided, maybe more friends can be made, maybe the values system that we believe in will spread even more widely around the world.
And what is so satisfying to me over the last four years is that Congress increasingly understands this point of view. I have good relations up on Capitol Hill. The Congress is supportive of 150. We have gotten increases, constrained only by the overall federal budget. Many a day I have gone up and testified, and I testify before every committee every time they ask, because it's important for me to go up there and take that case to them.
And they may say things to me like, "Well, Mr. Secretary, this is a good increase you're coming up here to defend. We know it's the President's budget, but wouldn't you like more?" (Laughter.) That wouldn't be right. (Laughter.) Robin Cleveland from OMB is in the room this evening -- I will say no more about that. (Laughter.) We would never think of either asking for or accepting more than the President's budget allows. (Laughter.) Do you hear that? (Laughter.) Yes, great. (Laughter.)
But it is so important that we get the money we need because we are doing the work of the American people. Never before has that work been more important, because the United States occupies a unique position in today's world. It goes without saying that we possess unparalleled economic, diplomatic and military power. The world also looks to us and they see a nation that stands for the universal principles and for the human rights that define them, the very soul of our nation and which we try to share with the rest of the world, what President Bush calls the non-negotiable demands of human dignity.
And as a result of this position we occupy in the world, given to us by fate and destiny and what we have done in the world over the years, we have an unprecedented opportunity to help millions of people throughout the world join in an expanding circle of liberty, an expanding circle of peace and an expanding circle of well-being.
The Global Leadership Campaign's passionate advocacy for a strong international affairs budget helps to ensure that the men and women of American diplomacy have the resources we need to advance the course and the cause of freedom and hope around the world. A healthy international affairs budget is a prerequisite for everything that we do in the Department.
Now, when we talk about the 150 account, of course, you think about the goals up here, you think about the goals on the chart behind me. But the money is also used to run the Department. And one of the challenges I had coming into the Department was not just to focus on these goals but to make sure that we were ready as a Department to accomplish those goals, that we were prepared to properly staff and equip the 250 posts abroad that carried this campaign of ours out to the world, enabling us to practice day-to-day the important business of diplomacy in a way that fortifies America's global leadership.
For America to lead in world affairs, we must constantly nurture all of these international relations that we have throughout the world so that relationships remain strong. And as I say to all of the foreign ministers who come to see me, America seeks no enemies, we want friends. And for those of you who may not have been our friends in the past, let's see what we can do to improve the possibility for friendship in the future.
And this process of steady engagement takes the very best people that I can get into the Department, and the Congress has been enormously generous, with your support, in providing us the wherewithal to reach out into American society and touch the hearts and minds of thousands of Americans around the world so that they want to come work in the Department, either as Foreign Service officers, as Civil Service, as Foreign Service, technicians and all the various jobs that are available, all the components that are available within the State Department.
We have quadrupled the number of people who are taking the Foreign Service Exam. We have so many wonderful Americans who want to come into the Department, they want to be a part of this, they want to serve the American people, they want to go out. I usually refer to them as my youngsters, but increasingly they're not just youngsters. I'm getting retired military people. I'm getting people who are in the 50s, early 60s, who want to serve America in this new and important way.
We have succeeded in persuading the Congress that it is in their interest to fund this program called the Diplomacy Readiness Initiative, and they have done it in a way that allows us now, after years of being on short rations, to increase our hiring well above the attrition level, a thousand in the last several years, which gives us the flexibility to respond to situations like Afghanistan or Iraq, where I have at least four ambassadors at work on a staff that is very large and will grow even larger, that no one had thought about a few years ago.
We also have been successful in getting from the Congress the technology we need to make sure that your State Department is in the Information Age, that we are in the forefront of the Information Age. I told the Department when I arrived that we are going to make every desk in the State Department internet-capable with a computer that has broadband access to the rest of the world and everybody else in the Department. And it was going to be expensive. And we've done it -- 44,250 computers have been put down over the last several years and everybody is connected.
And I have fun. I visit an embassy. I'll tell the Ambassador I have to go to the restroom and I'll excuse myself and go to the restroom. When I'm clear of the Ambassador and the Ambassador's office, I duck into somebody else's office and I log on. (Laughter.) "Where'd the Secretary go?" "I thought he was in the bathroom." "He's not in the bathroom." (Laughter.) And I'll log on and I get online. I get to my e-mail to see whether or not what I said is happening is really happening at these embassies -- and it is.
And I've also told the staff: "Now that I gave you those computers, we've got to change the way we do business. We've got to move at 186,000 miles per second. We've got to be fast. We've got to be agile. We've got to be the best."
Assistant Secretary Boucher is here, who is in charge of my website, to his great distress. (Laughter.) Because I bug him constantly, every day, about something. I will occasionally do really weird things to Richard. I will pretend that I am a citizen outside asking a question. (Laughter.) And, you know, you go online and say, "Do you want to contact us?" And so I go to the state.gov website, and it says, "Do you want to contact us?" So I said, "Yes." And so I sent an e-mail to the Department; and then I sit around to see how long it takes the Department the answer me. (Laughter.) Richard has learned it has to be a very, very short period of time. (Laughter.)
We've also made the point that now that we're moving at the speed of light now that we are the fastest, the most agile around with respect to foreign policy. We're going to be the best. When somebody wants to know something about a country; I don't them to go to Google. I don't want them to go to anywhere else but the State Department website.
And we're creating an attitude in the Department that you have helped create by your support and the Congress has helped create by their financial support of what we're doing that says, "We are going to be the best. We are going to be a Department of excellence, where everybody is humming, everybody is moving at the fastest speed possible to get the job done."
But you have to make sure that you do that in all ways, so we have also been blessed by a very generous Congress giving us the money we need for our facilities. It is not easy being out in one of our embassies now. More and more of our embassies are on Authorized Departure or Ordered Departure, where families are not there. It makes it harder for our Foreign Service families, but they put up with that hardship just as I had to when I was in the military, when you went to a hardship post.
We owe them the best facilities we can provide. Under the leadership of General Chuck Williams, who is in charge of our embassy construction operation, our overseas building operation, we are now completing eight to ten new embassies every year. And when we took over, we were completing one every year or so. Eight to ten. Close to 40 embassies are now under construction throughout the Department, all on time, under cost, doing a great job.
It begins with people. It begins with people who are moving at the right speed, who believe in what they are doing, who are committed to all of the goals you see around this room. And then you empower them by giving them the wherewithal to get their job done. And I can do that. And Rich Armitage, my Deputy, and Grant Green, my Under Secretary -- we know how to do that. But we need the support of organizations such as this, and especially this organization; we need the support of the Congress.
Congress we had to have a better relationship with. So even though nine studies or so had said, you ought to have an office up on Capitol Hill, it never happened. But we now have an office up on Capitol Hill. We forced our way in to the House of Representatives and we've got an office up there now. And it does constituent services, and they stay there all day long waiting for the people that come in and say, "Glad you're here! What do you want from your State Department?"
And to show you how all this kind of comes together and creates a new spirit and a new attitude, I was up there one day and I asked the people we have in the office, "Well, what do you do up here? You know, we paid all this money, you know, and I'm hanging around here waiting for a hearing. Show me what you do." And the lady that was there said, "Well, I'll give you an example. A congressman will come in and say, 'I have a problem with somebody that I heard about who has asked for a visa, and the visa was turned down, and it's at your consulate in, pick-a-country.'" And I said, "Well, how do handle such a request like that? Do you call the Department and pass the request to the Department and the Department figures it out and gives you an answer later?" "Oh, no. That's the old way." "What's the new way?"
And she went to her computer and she logged on. And she didn't log on and contact the State Department. She went to the particular consulate far, far away -- about 9,000 miles away. And when she got to that consulate, going through the codewords and making sure it was secure; she picked up the actual visa application, to include the picture of the applicant, and she was able to read the application and read the consular officer's notation as to why the visa was not issued. And she was able to give the congressman an answer within a minute. That's what we're doing with the resources we are being given by the Congress, the resources that you have asked for.
So we're creating a proud Department, a Department that is growing. It's expanding its force. We've worked hard to make sure that everybody's proud of being a Foreign Service Officer, but also proud of being a Civil Servant or a Foreign Service Management Technician or a Specialist of some kind. Call yourself whatever you want, but we're family. We're a team. We work as a team. We work as a team to achieve these goals and to do what the American people expect of us.
And in a world that is growing closer and more connected, this kind of attitude and the kinds of employees we're bringing into the Service are so vital to being able to accomplish the mission that has been given to us by the President and by the American people. And as a result of this kind of this kind of attitude, America's relationships with the world's other leading nations are growing stronger, more productive than ever before.
Your daily newspapers talk about problems that we have, and I will certainly discuss those problems with you this evening. But you don't hear much about the good relations we have with so many countries and the connections we are making with nations that used to be our enemies and now are our friends, nations that used to be run by generals or juntas or totalitarian regimes that are now finding their way toward democracy and market economics and respect for the individual. And that's what we do. That's what each one of my individuals out in the field do every single day by presenting themselves to the people of that country as the purest representation of the American value system.
It isn't me. It isn't anybody on the seventh floor of the State Department. It's those consular officers, those political officers, those economic officers; all of the people in our embassies who are now proud of what they are doing and connect with the people.
And the world is changing. But we're adapting to that change, and in many ways it is this nation that is leading that change because we are the leader of the world that wants to be free.
We're working with our allies in NATO and the European Union to realize our shared vision of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. The European Union is expanding and deepening its federation. We're working with them. We're working with them as they take over responsibility for peacekeeping in Bosnia and Macedonia. And NATO is growing as well. It's redefining its mission.
I saw, just over the last couple of days, Don Rumsfeld in Romania in a NATO Ministers' meeting. They're talking about how they can get involved in Iraq to help us train the new Iraqi armed forces leadership, talking about how NATO might have full responsibility for our activities in Afghanistan perhaps next year. NATO is now defending freedom and democracy in Europe while also promoting these principles beyond Europe's boundaries in places like the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq. And American leadership, American diplomatic leadership, both from the State Department and the Defense Department, has moved NATO in this direction.
Along with the nations of Europe, the United States has also established a strong partnership with our old adversary. It used to be called the Soviet Union, now, the Russian Federation -- the still evolving Russia, but it's a partnership that is strong and ranges from energy to health cooperation. We're working closely with our Russian colleagues on security and counterterrorism. We're working closely with them at the UN and part of the NATO-Russia Council where NATO works with Russia on a regular basis.
But our continued engagement with Russia does not mean that we ignore difficulties that we see in Russia or where we find that the Russians seem to be not moving in a direction we think it would be best for them to move. And the attitude we have, the approach we have taken to countries such as Russia is: We can be friends. We can be partners. But friends and partners speak candidly to one another when they think things are not moving in the right direction. That is not a sign of enmity toward anyone; it's a sign of partnership and friendship.
We are confident of our relationship with Russia and confident of our relationship with our European friends. Yes, there were some serious problems last year with some of our best allies, France and Germany. There were good relations with so many of our other allies and new friends throughout Europe. And the worst thing about a disagreement is that it's a disagreement when it occurs. The best thing about it is, you get over disagreements. You work forward. You move forward as we have with our friends in Europe and elsewhere in the world to go about the process of rebuilding Afghanistan, rebuilding Iraq, to making sure that the values that hold us together always remain stronger than the disagreements and the differences that come along.
We tried to approach Asia in the same way. We have achieved tremendous levels of cooperation with Japan, Australian and South Korea, our allies. We include Thailand, of course, as an ally in Asia. And as China continues to grow into a strong and prosperous nation, we are working with China to help us find solutions to common problems. We welcome a global role for China. We do not fear China. We see China as an emerging power and that we will treat as an emerging power and work with, as they develop their economy, as they develop their society, and as they find their political way forward into a future that will take care of the 1.3 billion people of China.
American leadership is also yielding unprecedented cooperation in South Asia. We have transformed our relationship with India and we have forged a new partnership with Pakistan. I will never forget two days after 9/11 when we were dealing with this crisis in Afghanistan and Usama bin Laden and al-Qaida and the Taliban, and we knew that whatever we were going to do would require the assistance and the cooperation of Pakistan, and we arranged with Pakistan a set of understandings that we thought were important for Pakistan to agree with us on, so we could move forward.
And I called President Musharraf two days after 9/11 and he agreed that it was time for him to make a strategic choice and he made that choice, and three years later now we are working in close partnership with President Musharraf, as we help him to move his country forward at a pace that the Pakistani people can absorb, and in a way that allows him to work with us in defeating the remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaida regimes in western Pakistan.
And we no longer view India and China in the way they had been viewed for so many years as connected as part of an India-Pakistan conflict. Each of them are now important friends and partners with us, and because of that relationship we can help them as they deal with the outstanding difficulties that they have had for so many years.
We work in so many other ways in a multilateral fashion that I don't think the Administration, the President gets credit for. We work closely with the UN. In the last few weeks, we have been deeply engaged with the UN on resolutions dealing with the problem in the Sudan, resolutions dealing with the problem in Lebanon and the Syrian presence in Lebanon.
This isn't unilateralism. This is multilateralism. But even the most effective multilateral arrangement or organization needs a leader, and more often than not that leader is the United States of America. We work with our Quartet partners, the Russian Federation, the United Nations and the European Union to be ready to do what we can to move the Middle East peace process along so we can achieve the goals of the roadmap which were laid out by the President in June of 2002. A Palestinian state that is free and at peace with the state of Israel remains our goal and we will do everything we can to achieve that goal.
We have worked hard with our friends in Asia to put together a six-party arrangement to deal with the challenge of nuclear weapons in North Korea and the potential for the North Koreans to develop even more than they may have now. We think they have, perhaps, one or two. We're not sure if they have developed or built any more. Why should it be solely a U.S. problem? Why isn't it a problem for Japan and for Russia, and for China and South Korea? They're North Korea's neighbors.
And so, we have brought this six-party framework together and gotten even the North Koreans to agree that the Peninsula should be denuclearized. And now we have to have the patience and the fortitude to stick with that plan and keep pressing forward until we find a way to satisfy the concerns of the parties and denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
And we're doing the same thing with respect to Iran, working with our friends in the European Union, working with the international community, working with the IAEA to persuade Iran that they have to accommodate the needs, the demands, the expectations of the international community to make sure that they are only interested in power and nothing more, and we have our suspicions that they're interested in quite a bit more.
And so, this is a State Department that's part of an Administration that is reaching out and working with our partners within the UN, within the Transatlantic organizations, within our Pacific alliances. We're working in so many other areas, in other ways, with trade. Free trade agreements have been coming along in a rapid pace under the leadership of Bob Zoellick, the President's Trade Representative.
We are now going from bilateral trade agreements to expanded trade agreements, the Central American Free Trade Agreement. We want a Middle East free trade agreement, stretching across the Middle East. We want to reach out to the Middle East in so many other ways besides just the Middle East peace process.
It was a remarkable moment for me just a couple of weeks ago in New York on a Friday morning, the end of the first week of the General Assembly, to co-chair with my Moroccan colleague, Foreign Minister Benaissa, a meeting with 28 foreign ministers present, from the Middle East and North Africa region, and from a group of eight industrialized nations.
And we were there to talk about reform and modernization in that part of the world, not to lecture, not for the United States and for the other industrialized nations to tell these nations what they're supposed to do, but to listen to them, to listen to the hopes and aspirations that are coming out of the region, and to realize that each one of these countries is at a different stage in their historical development, their cultural development, and what their populations can take and what their political systems can take with respect to reform and modernization.
And we say we will tailor our efforts, our support, to your pace, to what you can do, to what you're ready to do.
I'll never forget one of the Arab businessmen, who was in the meeting looking out across the audience and saying, "Our biggest challenge in this part of the world is unemployment." So whatever else you're thinking about -- Israeli-Palestinian conflict, your concerns about what's going on in Iraq -- our challenge is unemployment. Millions of youngsters coming along will need work and that work will only be generated by developing economies and that will only come from political, economic and civic reforms.
So let's get on with it. Let's work with the G-8. Those are the kinds of things we are doing that are certainly not unilateral, working with friends, working with partners, reaching out, showing what diplomacy is all about, showing what we can do as a nation, not by lecturing or imposing, but by working with friends and partners throughout the world.
We have demonstrated that so vividly over the past week in Afghanistan. It was three years ago that I went to Afghanistan for the first time shortly after we got rid of the Taliban, almost three years ago, and it was a country that was totally broken, had one phone for the whole new interim government -- one phone -- and the money was worthless, being carried around in wheelbarrows to buy a cup of a coffee.
And now, three years later, the currency is reasonably stable, the economy is picking up, construction is taking place. They have been through a political process that led to a national election this past Sunday, the first in that nation's history, all those hundreds of years of recorded history, finally, free, open election.
Was it perfect? No. Show me any county in the United States that has had a completely perfect election, and then you can make a judgment about how free and fair and open the Afghan election was. There were a little irregularities and they'll be worked out between the UN, the United States and the Afghan Government.
But what could not be denied, not withstanding all of the concerns about whether it could actually happen, would Muslims come out and vote? Is this really what they wanted? Was this really the right way to go about it? You saw the pictures on Sunday, on television, and in your newspapers, but what you saw cannot be denied.
People came out at 3 o'clock in the morning to line up. The Taliban said, "We're not going to let this happen." Al-Qaida said, "We're going to stop it." They didn't. The Taliban blew up a bridge, the people came to the bridge, realized the polling station was on the other side, they had to get to it, they walked along the river until they found a place that they could cross the icy river, wearing no shoes, so they could vote.
They stood in line all day long. They would not be denied. Women in burkas, totally covered up, except for their hand that came out holding a ballot, so they could put it in the ballot box, so that these millions of people could decide how they will be led in the future.
What a tremendous tribute to the human spirit. Tens of thousands in refugee camps still in Pakistan voted absentee. Three million of those refugees from the camps in Pakistan and Iran had walked back into the country over the last several years in order to rebuild in hope of a better life ahead -- tremendous tribute. The people do want to decide who their leaders will be. They don't want terrorists in their country. They don't want insurgencies in their country, and I'm confident that that pattern can be repeated in Iraq.
Iraq is very challenging to all of us now. It is a difficult mission that we have to accomplish, but the goal is the same, to give the Iraqi people the same choice that we have, the same choice that the Afghan people now have. It's an insurgency that must be defeated because who is behind this insurgency? Old regime elements who want to do what?
They want to fill mass graves again. They want to gas their own people again. They want to invade their neighbors again. They want to waste the treasure of the Iraqi people on palaces and weapons.
We're not going to let that happen. The Iraqi people are not going to let that happen. And every day under the leadership of Prime Minister Allawi, brave Iraqi leaders come out and move their country a little bit further every day fighting this insurgency. The insurgency has to be defeated. It's going to get worse before it gets better because these are determined, evil people, but we also believe that marvelous troops of our coalition and the increasingly capable Iraqi forces will bring this under control in due course.
And this is not the time for us to lose patience or lose hope or in any way think that it will not be successful because we have faced challenges like this before. We have demonstrated over the course of our history of the last 100 years that these challenges come along and they can be defeated, they can be dealt with, and the Iraqi people can hold out hope with the certainty that that hope be realized of a better life for themselves when they have their elections at the end of January 2005.
And so, it's a fascinating world in which to conduct diplomacy, to be the Secretary of State, to be given the privilege of leading the tens upon tens of thousands of wonderful young Americans, who serve in the State Department. Our men and women in uniform -- and I used to be one of those -- are performing with skill and honor. Najaf and Samarra are back in the hands of the Iraqi Interim Government. And standing alongside of them, working with them in Iraq and Afghanistan, and so many other places, working with our military, are the wonderful men and women of the State Department.
I get annoyed when someone says, "Oh, they're pin-striped cookie pushers." You tell that to Ambassador Khalilzad in Kabul, who spent all of last week and all of last Saturday criss-crossing the country, personal risk to himself, in order to encourage the Afghan people to vote. You tell that to Ambassador Negroponte tonight in Baghdad, who is facing a challenging situation. You tell that to Ambassador Tom Miller in Athens, who has done such a marvelous job representing us in Greece and did a terrific job getting the Greek Government, helping them get ready for the Olympics.
Those ambassadors and the members of their teams are doing a great job for the American people, day-in, day-out, under increasingly difficult circumstances and at risk to themselves and to their family. And we've got to make sure we continue to give them the support that they need. We've got to make sure that the American people appreciate what they are doing for them. We've got to make sure that they get the respect that they deserve.
I have challenged all of them: "Go out there and represent our values system. I can't do it in the seventh floor. You do it at each of your missions. I want you to go out there, accomplish the mission that's set out in these charts in front of us, take care of the people that I've entrusted to your care, the American people have entrusted to your care, and get the job done for America."
And I'm so proud that, in mission after mission as I travel around the world, I find individuals working hard -- and not only the State Department individuals, individuals from all of the departments of government working together under the ambassador, the chief of mission -- to make sure that the job gets done.
Budgets are always tight. There are always constraints on how much the nation can afford for the 150 account. But as you heard earlier, it's barely 1 percent. We could do a lot more, do a lot better. The world needs us to do a lot better.
I'm going to do everything I can while I'm Secretary of State to take the case to my colleagues in the Administration, who give me tremendous support; to the President, who believes in this to the depth of his heart and gives me all the support that I need to go up and take the case to the Congress; and I will continue to make the case to the Congress that this is a tremendous return on your investment.
These goals are the worthy goals. These are the goals that the people of the world look to the United States to achieve.
We are the ones who are putting in place something called the Millennium Challenge Account, the most innovative approach to foreign affairs and funding of foreign affairs in the last 50 years, where we invest in those countries that are committed to democracy, the rule of law and market economics, and only when they meet our test will they get money from this account.
We are the administration that launched that program, got it up and running in 16 months, and also, at the same time, have almost doubled the development assistance money available to USAID.
It is this administration that took on HIV/AIDS as the greatest weapons of mass destruction on the face of the Earth. Eight thousand people died today of HIV/ AIDS and many more were infected. We are the ones, President Bush is the one, to play the leadership role with the Global Health Fund, played the leadership role with his Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS, which will add $15 billion to this effort over the next several years.
So the need is great. There is poverty in many places in the world. There is still despair. There are still so many people so desperately in need. Peter Bell does such a great job with this organization tending to their needs. But the need is very great, much greater than we have provided for now.
So the President will take the case to the Congress and the American people. I can assure you that I and my colleagues in the Department will take the case to the Congress and the American people. But above all, I need you, I need leaders such as you and so many others in the nation who have the capacity to speak out, the ability to speak out. I need you. I need you to help us get the job done. You are doing that for us. This is vital, noble work that you are doing. I just want to thank you on behalf of all of my colleagues, but I also want to thank you on behalf of all the people around the world who will benefit from our efforts, efforts that you've helped to make successful -- nay, you helped to make possible in the first place.
So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you very much.
Released on October 15, 2004