Condoleezza Rice Town Hall Meeting June 3, 2005
Town Hall Meeting
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Dean Acheson Auditorium
June 3, 2005
(1:00 p.m. EDT)
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Thank you very much for that fine introduction and thank you for the work that you do every day. We've been together now for a little more than a hundred days. I know it may seem longer, but that's all that we've been together and I have really been gratified by working with the fine men and women of this Department here in the United States. I've had the chance to be out in the field quite a lot. I've spent a lot of time on airplanes lately and to be out and to see the folks who are serving in our embassies, to see the foreign service nationals who work with us, the civil service personnel, and of course, the foreign service personnel.
And it's really a great team that we have here and I'm glad to have a chance to come back and spend a few minutes talking about priorities and to have a chance to talk with you about whatever is on your mind and so, I'll turn to questions here pretty quickly so we can get as many people in as possible.
Now, as I said, I have spent a lot of time on planes and that's not because I get frequent flyer miles for going. Rather, I thought it was very important in the first few months here after the President's reelection and in the new term to establish, again, the primacy of diplomacy in American foreign policy. The President has said that this is a time for diplomacy. I've said the time for diplomacy is now and that is because having fought two wars and having gone through the terror attacks and being very focused on Afghanistan and on Iraq as combat zones, we are now in a different phase and that is the work of trying to use the changes in international politics that have been brought about by the events after September 11th to build a firm foundation for peace and security and prosperity well into the future.
Some of you have probably heard me talk about the fact that I tend to think of this period of time as much like the period of the 1940s, because that was another time when, after war, the United States was confronted with an international environment that was changing rapidly, where in many ways, things were not going so well after World War II if you think about the fact that in 1946, the reconstruction in Germany was still failing and Germans were still starving. In 1946, there were large Communist minorities who won in both France and in Italy. In 1947, there was civil war in Turkey and in Greece and civil conflict in Turkey. In 1948, of course, the division of Germany through the Berlin crisis, the Czechoslovak coup. In 1949, the Soviet Union exploded a nuclear weapon five years ahead of schedule and the Chinese Communists won. It was not a very pretty picture.
And yet, somehow, those people who were responsible for American foreign policy, people like Kennan and Nitzhe and Marshall and Acheson and, of course, President Truman managed to create a system on the ruins of World War II that has sustained peace and prosperity in Europe, a Europe in which now no one could imagine war after 60 years, a Japan that is democratic, a Germany that is democratic, and on that basis, then, we've had peace and security for more than five decades and of course, after five decades, experienced the final triumph of the democratic values with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of Communism in Europe.
And I think of our goal and our strategy and our purpose as trying to use American diplomacy to build a firm foundation now at the end, again, of a great national trauma, after World War after the events of 9/11 and after the two wars that we've been through to use our diplomacy to create a foundation for peace and prosperity for generations to come. And as President Bush has said, that means that we have to replace the ideology of hatred that is there, an ideology so extreme that people strap suicide belts onto themselves and kill innocent people or fly aircraft into buildings on a fine September day. We have to replace that ideology of hatred with an ideology of hope and human dignity and, of course, that means the spread of freedom, liberty, the spread of democracy throughout the world.
And so, we have a tremendous challenge ahead of us. We are in a period of transformational diplomacy, a period in which we literally are using our diplomacy to transform not to hold to the status quo, but to transform. And what I mean by that is that we're in a very active period of diplomacy, a very operational period when diplomacy doesn't just mean sending messages and sending demarches and reporting on what is going on out in the field, but it literally means being active partners with people in helping them to transform. So, if you go to Baghdad and look at what our people are doing there, they're literally helping the Iraqis to create a just civil justice system. They're literally helping them to create ministries that work and function.
If you go to Afghanistan, we're fighting the counter-narcotics fight right alongside the Afghans. We are working with the Afghans through USAID to build roads for Afghanistan. If you go to our mission in Colombia, you see that our people are involved in the counter-narcotics fight there and the counter-terrorism fight. Or, if you go to Georgia, you will see that we're involved in training the Georgians so that they can deal with their terrorist problems, so that their ministries are effective.
Across the world, our diplomats are active in helping people to transform their lives and that means that we have to transform the way that we think about what it is we do. It means we have to have updated skills for our people and I'm going out to FSI next week to talk about some of these issues. It means that each and every one of us is involved now in trying to bring about a very different kind of world and in this period of time, there are no insignificant tasks.
I don't care what you do for the Department of State. You are involved in transformational diplomacy, whether it is in supporting our diplomats in the field and our diplomats here in Washington, whether it is in supporting in technology or in resource management or making sure that everything runs on time here or that the cafeteria runs well, all of us, no matter what our jobs are there are no insignificant jobs we're all involved in transformational diplomacy.
We're all involved in one of the great historic circumstances in modern times and if you look around the world and you watch television every day, you can see how much the world is transforming before our very eyes, because who could not be impressed with the Rose Revolution in Georgia or the Orange Revolution in Ukraine or what is going on in Lebanon as they are voting or the people who went out in huge numbers in Iraq to vote, despite the threats of terrorists to kill them if they did so? Who could have imagined that Afghans would line up along long, dusty roads to be able to vote, or who could have imagined that women would be given the vote in Kuwait?
So much is happening and you are an essential part of it. So, we are, as a Department, in a critical period of time. I want to make sure that our department is sustaining our people and training our people in everything that they need to do. I want to make sure that we have the resources to do what we need to do. I want to make sure that when we need to make changes in our processes or in our structures or in our training that we're brave enough to make them. I don't want us to just be defenders of the status quo. I want us to be people who are excited about change and willing to change when necessary.
I'm going to be personally involved myself in the senior reviews that are coming up and in the budget process, because I consider myself the chief management officer of this department. There is nothing more important than our people, than our resources, than getting our processes right and I want to be personally involved in that and I will be. There will be a new Undersecretary for Management. She's having a hearing next week. She's been the Head of the Mint, did a fine job at the Mint, Henrietta Holsman Fore, and should she be confirmed by the Senate, she will come on as the Undersecretary for Management.
We have a lot of work to do. We were very fortunate in the supplemental appropriation that has just been made. It will allow us to continue to do a lot of business that was not really expected. The reason that we had to go to an emergency supplemental is, we've had a lot of things come on that were emergencies, unexpected expenses. We got funding for our new Baghdad Embassy, something that was extremely important because our people are not in the best circumstances in Baghdad and we're going to try to complete that embassy in two years so that we can have our people in a safe and secure working environment and a working environment that is more in line with what we do around the rest of the world. So, we were successful in the supplemental.
We have another important budget year coming up and we're starting now to try and make sure that the resources are there from the Congress, but this is a time to be excited about change. And I ask you, when you go back and you think about what it is you're doing, try and be excited about the task that is before us and think about how you, in this very different world in which we are living, can contribute to the Department's ability to deal with the 21st Century challenges that we face.
Okay, and with that, I'm happy to take questions. I think there are microphones if people would like to go to them.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, Louise Crane of the American Foreign Service Association.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes, hi, how are you?
QUESTION: Thank you. On behalf of the two-thirds of the foreign service and civil service colleagues working overseas, trying to transform and bring about diplomacy and trying to change that extreme ideology, I would like to know where the Department stands on locality pay. The gap is now 16 percent and grows every year with a permanent negative effect on Social Security
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
QUESTION: earnings and the TSP. And does the Department support legislation which would authorize the Department to pay this and will the Department seek the funds to actually pay close that gap in overseas salaries?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the Department favors locality pay and I personally favor locality pay and we will, again, go to the budget process. We've not been successful so far in the past, but we'll make the argument and we understand that there are a lot of budget stringencies, but it's very important that our people be given the chance to be paid fairly, so yes, I'm supportive of it and we'll try to do it again this year.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary. My name is Phillip Hughes. I'm with Educational and Cultural Affairs. Dina Powell, in her recent confirmation hearing, touched upon the fact that there are over 800,000 alumni of ECA-sponsored exchange programs around the world, many of whom, including Mikhail Saakashvili, Tony Blair, and the late Mula Fayez may he rest in peace are affecting great change within their own countries and around the world.
Considering our focus on transformational diplomacy and greater dialogue, how does the Secretary plan not only to continue our engagement with this vital community, but to further develop our relationship with them in the future?
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. It's a very good question. I just, as a matter of fact, received from Pat Harrison a report on this program and we do have it's an extraordinary number when you think about it, this many alumni of the program and some quite distinguished alumni. We have to make sure that these exchange programs are supported and extended. We need to extend them into parts of the world where we've not been as active as we can before.
The best thing we have going for us as a country is when people get to come and see the great vibrancy of American democracy, when they get to see that if you just look around this room, you will see the faces of the world, but with the accents of Los Angeles or Boston or Chicago, because we are a truly multiethnic society. That's one of the important lessons that I think we have for the rest of the world. And when people come here, they see that. When they are not here, they see this through they see us through a caricature.
And in days when it is all too easy to caricature what America is and what America stands for or who Americans are, we need to really provide resources and to extend these programs. We have requested increases for Educational and Cultural Affairs with a mind for trying to increase our the pace of our educational exchanges. I am also, of course, an academic. I am a big believer in student exchange, where I can tell you a little story. When the President goes abroad, he almost always some Prime Minister or President will start introducing the members of his cabinet or the members of his government and some large number of them have been to school in the United States. And by the way, not just to Harvard and Yale, but also to Texas A&M or to a university like mine, the University of Denver, or to places that are out in the heartland of America. So, they're getting a real feel for the United States.
So, there's nothing more important than our contact with the rest of the world. We're looking hard at how to get the message out that some of the changes that we had to make them a necessity in the post-9/11 period on visas and control of our borders is not a message of closing down an America, but rather, that we are still a welcoming society and want people to come here.
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary, for the opportunity to speak with you today. My name is Cylton Collymore and I work in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security in the Office of Computer Security. The role of my team we call ourselves the Awareness Team or sometimes the A-Team is to conduct the cyber security (Laughter) is to conduct the cyber security awareness program in support of the CIO and the Office of Information Assurance. Our job, primarily, is to focus on the user side of the protection of the network. Next Tuesday at 10:30 in this room, we'll be kicking off our most ambitious program to date, the Cyber Security Awareness Month.
Fortunately, the acting CIO, Mr. Jay Anania, has been gracious enough to provide us with the keynote speech for that event. My question for you is, in the face of increasing cyber security-related attacks on our federal networks and home PCs and the increased sophistication of those attacks primarily targeting federal employees, how important is cyber security awareness to you and your executive management staff?
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Well, it's enormously important, cyber security. In fact, I was very involved when I was at the National Security Council in helping to create an office of cyber security and to make sure that it had the connections out to the private sector that are needed to deal with the cyber security challenges, because even though the attacks are very often on federal systems, of course, we work in an environment in which we're very dependent on much of the technology and much of the platform from the private sector.
And so, we have to make sure that the private sector is also aware and that they're constantly worrying about the kinds of attacks that can be made on specific kinds of software that we may be using or even on the network, which of course, we're part of a big network.
So, I think this is an enormously important issue. I also happen to come from the Silicon Valley and I was, at Stanford, very involved in the replacement of our management information systems. And the irony is that the more open the architecture, the more you are susceptible to the kinds of problems that you are talking about. So, this is a program that is extremely important, important to me. I'm glad that you're having this meeting on Tuesday because awareness is a lot of it, because sometimes, it's the individual user who picks up that something is wrong. I'm glad you're involved in the awareness side of it, but we also need to have a very strong systems protection and software protection program.
And I would just like to say to all of you I'm glad that this young man has brought this problem up please be aware on the security side. We tend to think of physical security. I'm sure everybody, and I hope everybody, worries about locking safes, making sure that doors are locked, making sure that you don't leave a classified lying out on your desk or that you handle the physical security of this place in an active way because physical security is enormously important. Cyber security is also very important and it's something that we think less about because it's more new to us. But I just encourage everybody to be concerned about both of those.
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, my name is Caryl Traten Fisher. I am the founder and director of the State of the Arts Cultural Series here at the State Department. About 15-years ago, I founded this program in which I have concerts every other week, usually in this auditorium. We have had concerts this is all voluntary, by the way.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
QUESTION: We've had the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, we've had the Czech Virtuoso Orchestra, we've had competitors from the Van Cliburn competition, we've had string quartets and ballet, everything you could imagine. And I just wanted to have you be aware that this exists and invite you to come to any of the concerts that you're able to. I know you're busy. I also
SECRETARY RICE: Now, that's an invitation I'll have to take up because I also love music.
QUESTION: But I also am a classical pianist. I teach piano at Georgetown University, but I also teach piano here at the State Department, but I teach from the standpoint of stress reduction. And from the feedback (Laughter) I get very good feedback. I think it has helped to increase employee morale and employee productivity. And when it comes to diplomacy, I really think that music is really the universal language. And I invite you any time you like to perform. The piano that's behind the curtain is actually my piano.
It's actually my piano. There was no piano here, so I provided one and I never get to play my own piano either, but I just want you to know it's here for you any time you need it.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. I appreciate that greatly.
And just on that point of stress reduction, I play every Sunday afternoon for a couple of hours. So, thank you.
QUESTION: Yes, Madame Secretary, Ivar Kuskevics from the EUR Bureau. You mentioned physical security. I'm wondering, would you say it's an unfair characterization that the State Department employees here in this building are always the last to know when something is happening that would affect our physical security, whether it be a plane heading towards the Capitol (Laughter) whether, no there have been white powders discovered in mailrooms. We usually read about it on the internet or maybe the next day in the Washington Post. We had a gentleman, a very unfortunate case, who committed suicide off of this building not too long ago and that, again you know, there was just no information-sharing.
Is that an unfair perception? And what could be done to address information-sharing on physical security that is real time and immediate, affecting our daily lives?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, it's an interesting question and I don't know an answer to the question of whether or not you're the last to know. I will tell you that sometimes, these events people wait to try and check them out to make sure that they have full information to know and the press will go right ahead and report it. And so, you may be getting it from the press because people who are in responsible positions don't want to report something that they're not quite sure of.
That's one of the explanations because look, it's happened to me, all right? And not just here in the Department. It's happened to me at the White House, too, that I look and see something on TV and I think, "Oh, did that happen? I wonder why I didn't know?" Now, that was even (Laughter) you know, so it can happen. It can happen.
But I do it's a very important point and it's a serious point that we always need to review our processes to make sure that if anything does happen, that our employees are well prepared for it, that there are appropriate notification systems in place, and that people can respond to it. And since you have raised the question, I will ask the question of the management team and we'll take a look.
QUESTION: Joyce Namde in OES. We spoke you spoke earlier about the computer security. I was wondering where the Department stands in terms of providing for maintenance and upgrading of our computer hardware and software and also in terms of connectivity, especially worldwide. Many of us travel constantly on government business, negotiating all over the world, and we're forced to establish Yahoo and Hotmail accounts to perform our business from overseas.
And so, I'm wondering where the Department stands on that and when why the State Department is not moving forward on the kind of connectivity overseas that many other agencies have.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, as I understand it, the Department was in very bad shape where it came to matters of both well, first hardware. I'm told I don't know if this is true, but there are actually a few there were few Wangs around (Laughter) when Colin Powell arrived. And that one of the things that that management team did Colin Powell, Rich Armitage, Grant Green was to make a major effort to improve the capacity of the Department to use new technologies, to get a desktop for everybody, to outfit the desktop for everyone, to I understand we're now trying to work on the personal computing systems like Blackberries and the like and to get as much as we can for people to allow them to do their business here and abroad.
We have, in the budget, significant resources to keep the technology improvements program going on a planned basis. There's a plan for it. One of the things that we will, I'm quite sure have to fight for when we go to the budget season, is precisely this, because what we don't want to do is to have a lapse in our the resources going to technology improvements, because the way technology improvements are going, you start to fall behind exponentially if you don't keep on a straight line.
And so, we have asked for adequate resources to fund this program. I don't know, but we can find out for you and you can contact our office through the suggestion box. If you'd like to get more information, we'll try to get information out. Precisely where that will put us in terms of the kind of connectivity that you're talking about but we do have a very clear systematic plan to continue the upgrades in the Department of both hardware and software, a maintenance schedule, and a replacement schedule. And the replacement schedule is probably the most important of those.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, I'm Tony Phillips, EUR's military advisor. I'm wondering if you could please share your initial impressions of the DOD-State relationship, particularly with respect to the military paralleling and complementing State's transformational efforts abroad.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Well, I think we are having, actually, excellent relations with the Department at every level. We first of all, Don Rumsfeld and I are colleagues for a long time, we go back a long way into well before we were in government and there's not much that I can't talk to him about and pick up the phone and do that. But more importantly, because we can't solve every problem at our level, I think we have effective working relationships down through the Departments.
The difficulties that emerged about how to think about post-conflict stabilization, because we were in new situations in Afghanistan and Iraq, are, I think, not difficulties because people were of ill will, but because it was just hard to figure out precisely how to do it, particularly because we had to do some things that the United States had not really done before. What we've tried to do now is to make more systematic our approach to the post-conflict stabilization phase and to have a proper allocation of military and civilian roles for what it is that we are going to try to do.
The office that Ambassador Pasquale is now heading, the Office of Reconstruction and Stabilization Operations, is working very closely with DOD, with the combatant commands, with the transformation command down in Norfolk, with all of these commands to try to put together a more systematic way to know when a crisis is coming, to know what kinds of activities and personnel and skills we're going to need to be able to function in that post-crisis environment post-conflict environment. They're working right now, for instance, on a plan for Sudan because it is our hope that at some point, we'll be in a post-conflict stabilization phase in Sudan. We know that we're going to face this in Liberia. We're doing it in Haiti.
But the truth of the matter is, the military has been very much better organized for these kinds of tasks than the civilian side has. Now, we're trying to organize the civilian side so that the military doesn't have to do things that, frankly, the military doesn't want to do and shouldn't have to do. It's a continuum from ending a war or a conflict to putting in forces that can keep the peace, to beginning to put into place civilians who can help build a civil justice system or can professionalize the police or can deal with the kinds of problems you have in currency reform.
And so, putting together a stabilization force is an extremely important it's another part of transformational diplomacy. It's one of those new structures that we're going to have to have because really, we now know that, kind of, ever since Bosnia-Herzegovina, we've been having to do this. Some people call it nation-building. I think what it is, is transforming our diplomacy to help others build their nation. It's not our job to build their nation, but it is our job to help them. So, we're getting along very well with Defense and we're seeking to better integrate our functions so there's a seamless continuum from the end of conflict out through stabilization politically.
QUESTION: Hi, my name is Geraldine Gassam, I'm an intern in PM.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
QUESTION: I had a similar question, but it was on the intelligence side. How are State intelligence officers working with intelligence officers from the Pentagon and how are they being integrated through the new intelligence apparatus to smooth out some of the difficulties that we're seeing pre-9/11?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Well, it's a very good question and what we're trying to do is it's not just State and Defense, but also the other intelligence agencies like the CIA and the like and of course, we've created now, this Director of National Intelligence. I met with John Negroponte yesterday and we will meet, probably, you know, every couple of weeks or so to make sure that we are talking about all of both the substantive matters that we have and any glitches that we might have in terms of working with the fact that we have an intelligence community of 15 different agencies.
I think we're making a lot of progress, that people now understand better that we cannot stovepipe intelligence. We have in here in our INR, which is a very fine intelligence bureau, people who have intelligence backgrounds from around the government. They've come out of different kinds of intelligence backgrounds. Seating people into different agencies who come from different intelligence perspectives is extremely important too.
So, I think the new DNI structure will give us an opportunity to make certain that we have an integrated intelligence picture for the policymaker, but also, that we have common standards on how people are trained, common standards on what constitutes reliability in intelligence reporting and we're at the beginning of our intelligence reforms in the United States, but they are intelligence reforms that really do need to be made post-September 11th.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you for addressing us. My name is Lauren Holt. I'm new in DRL and I work in the Office of International Labor Affairs. And I was wondering how you see our labor officers in the field helping to support the President's democracy agenda and the various work they do with child labor, bonded and forced labor, trafficking in persons and such?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I just came a couple of hours ago from the release of the Trafficking in Persons report. And this is an agenda item that the President is personally very interested in, which is the all of the issues associated with trafficking in persons with child labor, with forced labor which and he referred to in his address to the UN as the kind of new form of slavery and that's really what you have to call it. And so, how can you have democratic development when you have this horrible set of practices going on within countries?
And I do believe that countries want to do better on this. Now, there are some places that don't care and there, we have sanctions that we can use, we have the ability to use the bully pulpit to expose those practices. But I think in a lot of countries, it's a capacity issue that nobody really wants to have slavery going on in your territory in the 21st century.
And so, we're trying to help people with new laws, we're trying to help people with enforcement mechanisms, with educational campaigns so that the victims themselves can take more advantage of what might be available to them to get out of these terrible situations, extremely important part of our democracy agenda, our human rights agenda, and it's something that we're very actively working across the board, but on the trafficking piece, I think the United States is really responsible for raising the profile of that issue far beyond where it was before.
And we're spending I just reported that we spent $96 million last year in support programs for these countries that we're trying to help. And by the way, on the domestic side, first John Ashcroft and now Al Gonzales, the Attorney Generals, are very devoted to making sure that the United States prosecutes these crimes and carries out an aggressive enforcement policy because we will not do well with the rest of the world in insisting if we, ourselves, are not aggressive on this matter.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.
QUESTION: Dr. Rice, I'm Sam Brock and I had the honor of working for you at the NSC
SECRETARY RICE: You sure did.
QUESTION: from 2000 to 2003. How are you?
SECRETARY RICE: Nice to see you.
QUESTION: Very good to see you. A question: taking my queue, I guess from the introductory remarks which talked about the personnel issues and also emboldens my good friend here, Caryl Fisher who invited you to play the piano, perhaps, one day for us. I actually have done it twice here, played the piano twice here
SECRETARY RICE: Oh.
QUESTION: in two concerts. And I hope to be with my broken finger here, I hope to be able to do another one in August. But this is this question, I think, is of interest mostly to foreign service officers, but perhaps all of us as well. And it's kind of delicate, so I hope I phrase it appropriate.
But I've spoken with a number of foreign service officers who've expressed some concern about the fact that there are appointments coming up with people who are at in our system, we're so hierarchical-based and so much based on the idea of being promoted to higher levels. Persons who are coming up and I think persons who are of incredible talent to positions that normally would be for people who have been in the foreign service for many years and have reached a certain level and have expressed that this, to them and I hope I'm not mischaracterizing anyone is demoralizing. It's cause of disillusionment. And I just wondered if you would care to comment very quickly on that because it's perhaps something that's best put out into the open and talked about
SECRETARY RICE: Sure. No, absolutely, and I'm glad you brought it up. And if people feel that way, I want them to be free to speak about it. I really do. Here's my philosophy. The foreign service is a terrific institution and it has worked well and it has worked well in the ability to promote people through the ranks and to get very strong people into the positions that we need. I have no quarrel with that. I think it works well. And I intend to keep it that way and we have a very systematic way of going through the recommendations for promotion to senior positions through the D-Committee and other committees.
I think there are sometimes and I said this when I met with Louise and others at the time of my appointment. When you're going to promote some people who are not have not gone through all of the steps, it's going to happen. It should happen. I think it's a good thing if, once in a while, somebody who is a fast riser, somebody who has demonstrated that they are capable of doing a job that's one or two grades ahead, gets that promotion. Because what you don't want to do is to leave the impression that in an organization as esteemed as the foreign service, that it's just all about going through the ranks. It's really about performance, it's about willingness to take on challenges.
We've had people who volunteered for some of our hardest posts. We've been in some really tough times. It's tough to serve in Baghdad. It's tough to serve in Kabul. It's tough to serve in Colombia. We've had people who have been more than willing to take on some of our toughest tasks and it's okay if that is recognized and not just time and service.
Now, for the most part, I am a believer in going through the ranks. I am, after all, an academic and academic institutions believe in rank. But there are also people in academic institutions who make tenure way ahead of where they should have. And if they didn't make tenure way ahead of where they should have, they were going to go someplace else. And we have to be careful in our civil service and our foreign service that we don't encourage and incent people to go someplace else if they don't feel that there's some chance that their extraordinary service or their extraordinary talents can be recognized.
So, I hope that people will understand that there needs to be a mix. There needs to be a mix. It will be, for the most part, a I respect completely the in-grade approach. But yes, there are going to be some times when, because of extraordinary service or because of extraordinary talent, people may end up a couple steps ahead.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Yes.
QUESTION: Good afternoon, Madame Secretary. My name is Ajani Husbands, a Thomas R. Pickering Fellow, a recent graduate at Stanford.
SECRETARY RICE: Really. Good.
QUESTION: Or next weekend.
SECRETARY RICE: How recent?
QUESTION: Next weekend.
SECRETARY RICE: Oh, all right. Really recent. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: So with the G-8 Summit coming up in Gleneagles, Scotland this year, one of the major issues on the table is aid for Africa and the U.S. is in favor of canceling debt for HIPCs, historically in debt poor countries. But we're also opposed to increasing overall aid. My question for you, Madame Secretary, is when we go to this conference, how will we affirm our stance on this issue, in addition to continuing positive relationships with African nations?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Well, thank you very much. First of all, I think we have to be very clear what the United States has done over the last several years and President Bush has been very active in Africa, whether it is the President's emergency plan for AIDS the $15 billion emergency plan for AIDS or the Millennium Challenge Account which increased by 50 percent, our aid to developing countries in recognition of those countries that are governing wisely, that are transparent, that are fighting corruption, that are really involved in the kind of governance that leads foreign aid dollars to be able to be used well. And the President has also been to Africa himself. We've got a huge famine relief program. We're doing a lot with Africa; the AGOA, the trade programs.
Aid to Africa has almost tripled in the last four years, almost tripled. Development assistance has doubled in the last four years. The United States is doing a lot and that doesn't even meet the talk about the private aid flows that go there or the foreign direct investment that goes there. That doesn't even speak to that. So, what we need to do is to reaffirm that we consider development to be both a national security issue and a moral or humanitarian issue. We need to talk about what it is we have done.
We need to be clear that we expect that development is a two-way street and not a one-way street. So, the donor has responsibilities, but so does the recipient. And I think if we can make that picture, it will be clear to people that the United States has been a leader in this area. Now, I know a lot of people will put certain targets out there; "You ought to spend X percent of this." But we are much more interested in the outputs that we're getting. And for instance, some 200,000 people, you know, thanks to the United States, are being treated and cared for in terms of AIDS. That's pretty remarkable. So, we are going to continue to do this. We're going to continue to seek funding for development. We're going to continue to make the Millennium Challenge Account a centerpiece of what we do. And I think we have a very good story to tell about our support for Africa.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Yes.
SECRETARY RICE: Hi.
QUESTION: I'm Gloria Steele with the International Information Program's that's IIPGIR
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
QUESTION: which stands for Information Resources, the book translation program. But before I ask my question, I want to make sure that we get invitations to when you play. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY RICE: Everybody will. I promise.
QUESTION: Okay. First of all, you're aware of our book translation program.
SECRETARY RICE: I am, indeed.
QUESTION: Are you aware that we have very short resources and the question is how much do you like the program and how much are you willing to spend on it? (Laughter.)
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I certainly like the program. And I'll certainly look at the budget request when it comes in.
QUESTION: Thanks for that. But the point I want to make is that having books in the languages language versions of things that we wish to explain or share in the language of Arabic, for instance, or any of the other languages, I think it's a very important program that has been put by the sideline.
SECRETARY RICE: I see. Well, let me take a look because I am a big fan of translation of books. I think one question that I would have is, you know, how much do we have to do, how much can we incent private groups to do. But it's you make an important point. We need to be able to have people read and read in their own languages.
QUESTION: Here, here.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
QUESTION: Good afternoon, Madam Secretary. You know that in 1947, Secretary of State George C. Marshall, in a speech at Harvard, articulated a remarkable plan for the rebuilding of Europe that involved creative diplomacy and an enormous commitment on the part of the United States to help rebuild a war-torn continent. He also knew that unless the American people supported his plan, that it would not succeed. And so, immediately after that speech, he boarded a bus and traveled throughout the country to gain the support of the American people. The men and women of the State Department today do an enormous job overseas and they are working very hard in many dangerous places to transform the world and to keep our nation safe, as did George C. Marshall.
Can you tell can you tell us what your thoughts are about informing the American people? I dare say that many people all over the world know more about us, about the work of the Department, and about you yourself than the American citizens do. So, could you please speak to that?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes. It's a really excellent point because you're right. In a democracy and one as vibrant as the United States, we can't sustain the policies unless the American people know them, understand them, and believe them. I do think that it is part of my role to speak not just to the world and to diplomats and people of the world, but also to speak to the American people and I have been giving a lot of thought to trying to do that outside of Washington.
I'm glad you brought it up. I was just in you know, I just went home to California and gave a speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. It was good to be in a different environment, to be in the Bay area. In many ways, the questions are different, the concerns are different. In some ways, the questions are the same, but it's important to be out. And I think you will see that while I'm Secretary, I'm going to try to get out to some other cities.
First of all, we also, as a State Department, have operations in other cities. We have offices that are worrying about naturalization in other cities. We have so-called back-office operations in other places. I want to get out and see those operations as well as our operations abroad and I want to go out and I want to speak to world affairs councils out there and to universities and to others because I think it's extremely important.
The other thing that I'm doing is something I did a little bit when I was at the White House, is trying to spend some time with regional media, because while it is obviously important and I know probably our press corps is listening to this, so let me say this is nothing against the National Press Corps and those who cover the State Department who are wonderful in what they do.
But there also are regional media in places that I would like to be able to speak to and I've had one regional media roundtable since I've been here and I'll try to do others, because people read their local newspapers and they listen to their local news. And so, I absolutely take your point. Getting out and talking to the American public, particularly now, in a time when we have asked America to make (inaudible) our diplomats to make sacrifices, in some cases the supreme sacrifice. I mean, we've lost some good people from this Department in some pretty tough environments over the last several years and Americans need to understand why we're doing what we're doing. So, thank you for the question. You couldn't be more right. (Applause.)
QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, my name is Patrick Schmitt. I'm a student in IPS. I want to thank you first for being here and second for your leadership and especially for laying out the vision of using our strong diplomacy to create peace and prosperity. And my question to you is, principally out of my own concern and curiosity, how do you envision using that strong diplomacy to lean on the other members of the Security Council towards protecting the civilians in the Darfur region now that we're only a few months away from the one-year anniversary of when Secretary Powell declared the conflict to be genocide?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes, thank you. And it is indeed a really horrific, horrific humanitarian situation, a genocidal situation. The President reaffirmed that just a couple of days ago.
The United States has tried to take the lead on several fronts in Sudan. The first is that because the President pushed very hard when he first came to office to, as he said at the time, do something about Sudan and appointed former Senator Danforth as an envoy, we do at least have an end to the civil war between North and South and we have a framework out of Naivasha that we believe can become a political framework for the Darfur situation with considerable autonomy for the regions and so forth. So, getting the peace agreement itself, the Naivasha agreement, into force is really important.
Secondly, we've been very active on the humanitarian front to just try, flat out, to alleviate the humanitarian suffering, and I want to thank the people from USAID who, in conjunction with nongovernmental organizations, have done a lot to try and mitigate some of the very bad humanitarian circumstances there. And I just talked to my European Union colleagues the other day. They are accelerating their disbursements to the World Food Program so that we can keep up that humanitarian effort.
Third, we finally did get through the UN Security Council, after much work, a resolution for peacekeeping for the North-South agreement, for accountability for those who have committed crimes and for a means by which to sanction the behavior of members of the Khartoum government if they do not respond. And so, we are working very hard to try and bring this about. Now, Bob Zoellick, the Deputy, was in Darfur I'm going to lose track I think yesterday, and he is going to be in the region. He's been talking to people about what we can do.
The African Union has decided, and I think rightly, that it needs to take the lead in troops on the ground. But what it needs is, it needs logistical and planning support. And so, one of the real breakthroughs is that a few a couple of months ago, several weeks ago at NATO, the United States introduced and we received NATO's support to do the logistical and planning support for that AU mission. The AU will increase its monitoring mission to somewhere around 6 to 7,000. We do know that when there are monitors in a region, the violence goes down, so it's an important addition.
So, we're doing a lot, but you're right; we have to keep the spotlight on the international community here, because it was awfully tough to get those Security Council resolutions, much tougher than it should have been, given the difficulty.
QUESTION: Okay. Thank you and thank you again for your leadership.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes, sure.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, my name is Walter Bruce. I'm previously known as Sergeant Major Bruce. I've been here for ten years. I was assigned here from the military. I retired from the military, 30 years from Vietnam. But I served here as a Defense Liaison Officer under Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and I'd like to say to you it's a pleasure and an honor to stand here before you to meet you and to greet you and to be part of the history that produced you. It's an honor and I'm very proud of you.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you, sir.
QUESTION: And I send regards from
QUESTION: I know you from a distance. You had a driver named Reynolds, JR. He sends his regards.
SECRETARY RICE: I certainly did. Well, tell JR I said hello and
QUESTION: Yes, ma'am.
SECRETARY RICE: And tell him I hope those kids are doing okay.
QUESTION: They are.
SECRETARY RICE: All right, great.
QUESTION: He lived next door to me, along with another sergeant named Vareen who used to work on the staff while you sat at the table with the President and the Vice President. And I asked him many years ago, I said, "What kind of lady is she?" He said, "Sergeant Major, she would make every woman in America proud if they saw how she stood up with these powerful men in this room." So I was so glad to hear that. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you, Sergeant Major. I appreciate it very much.
QUESTION: You're quite welcome.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.
QUESTION: I don't necessarily have a question.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
QUESTION: I just wanted to elicit support. I'm from the IRM, the Information Resource Management Branch, and I know that we're doing a lot of things, what they call the Global Information Technology Modernization Approach, GITM. I know Secretary of State Powell done a lot of things to support those things. I work as a steward on the union and that's one of the titles I have. Previously, under Madam Albright, I used to be deemed as a diversity guy and she has me listed in her book now, Madam Secretary, you'll see Sergeant Major Bruce and his unsung heroes. There was a lot of people that used to receive certificates of appreciation from her on an annual basis, just the simple people, the people that washes the dishes in the cafeteria, the people that operate the elevators, the people that work security, just the people that makes up the infrastructure, which I call the foxhole people. Without them removing the trash every day, we'll live in an unsanitary condition. These people here, they're called unsung heroes.
I was unable to employ that same ideology under Secretary of State Powell because he was so busy and now I'm in a different capacity. I'm not a sergeant major anymore; I'm a civil servant. And as a steward in the union, which is a local union I think you've spoken with the leader here, the Vice President, Tony.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
QUESTION: I've done my thesis here in the State Department on minorities being promoted to senior level position, and there's a problem in the Department recognizing the contributions of some of the people that makes the day-to-day routine go along straight. And I just want to know whether or not in the future, will you have time to look at how we do business, to see, can we incorporate unsung hero programs, see can we do things right by our people internal to the building. So many times, our diplomats get caught up in doing things overseas and they leave these people here alone, they're behind. And we really need some attention on these people here on the ground, these foxhole soldiers. And I just want to know in the future
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.
QUESTION: and I'm sure that in the future, that you would be right there in our corner, looking out for us, supporting Caryl Traten Fisher, who's been part of me for many years, playing the piano. And it's just an honor to be here and I just you know, I don't have a question. I just want to know, can I get your support. (Laughter and applause.)
SECRETARY RICE: That's a pretty good pitch, Sergeant Major. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Is that? (Laughter.)
SECRETARY RICE: Yes, absolutely. And let me say a word about that. I said at the beginning of these remarks that there are no unimportant jobs in this building. There are no unimportant jobs in the union, in whatever you're doing, whether you're taking around the mail or helping out in the cafeteria or, as you put it very well, leaving this place so that we all live in sanitary conditions. Every job is important and every contribution is valued and we will find a way, Sergeant Major, to make that clear.
QUESTION: Thank you, ma'am.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much.
QUESTION: It's a pleasure.
QUESTION: Hi, my name is Rivca Cohn. I am in the Office of the Legal Advisor. I have some questions. Recently, Abbas visited the United States and paid a visit to President Bush. President Bush promised $50 million for the Palestinians, which is a very nice and generous donation; however, I just want to bring back what happened during the Arafat era when the United States, the European Union and so many other countries around the world donated billions of dollars and all this money went to the personal accounts of Arafat and he died with his secret and a lot of monies unaccounted for.
Now, basically, my question is, when the United States is giving donations money donations to so many countries around the world, the United States is still not appreciated because the leaders of these countries do not share the wealth with the poor people. The poor people remain poor and they never get any share of the money that the United States is pouring into all these countries.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, thank you, and let me just say that you are right about the Arafat period. And what we are trying to do with the Palestinian Authority specifically is, we have transparency measures. They have a very good Finance Minister and we have transparency measures to make sure that the money is being well spent.
But as I mentioned with the Millennium Challenge Account, it is also the case that we are trying to put much more of our development assistance into places where people are spending the money for the well-being of their people, where they are governing wisely, where they are rooting out corruption, where they are spending money on the health and education of their people.
So you are right. When development assistance is not used to better the lives of people
QUESTION: It goes into the personal accounts of the leaders.
SECRETARY RICE: That's right. When that happens, it's a great tragedy for the people and it's wrong for the taxpayers of America, so we're paying very great attention to that.
I've got time for just one more, I'm afraid. Yes, thank you.
QUESTION: My name is Colette Marcellin. I'm on my last day in A Bureau and on my way to Jakarta and I'm actually I have a plea from the rank and file, an important issue, but also I have a fun last question for you. And what I'd like to really say from the rank and file is that as our work overseas becomes increasingly dangerous, it becomes increasingly important for us to make sure we have the best leaders out there possible. Quite frankly, the lives of ourselves and our families are sometimes at stake, depending on the judgment of who the chief of mission is. And in recent years, there's Pru Bushnell, a number of the regional bureaus have done a great deal to push the importance of leadership, both at the leadership school and to inject 360 into the selection of our leaders.
And so, my plea from the rank and file is to have you continue to build upon this tradition of holding our leaders accountable for making sure they're the best possible leaders, and if they fail to live up to the privilege of being a leader, to see that something is done about this.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes, it's a good plea and it's well noted. You're absolutely right. The chief of mission role has always been critical. It's increasingly critical and we're giving a lot of care to the people who go out to the selection of the people who go out.
QUESTION: And now for my fun question.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
QUESTION: You started this off by saying that we're at the hundred day mark and time flies, as we all know. A thousand days from now, what do you hope will be your legacy here?
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. When I think back, as I said, on my last experience here, I just realized what a remarkable job the people who once occupied this position and positions like it did in transforming that hairy, problem-filled world into one that permitted us to build peace and security for a generation to come and that ultimately led to the triumph of democracy in Europe.
I would hope that all of us working together and it won't be my legacy, it'll be our legacy that all of us working together can look back a few years from now and say: "Look at the foundation that was laid for democracy in places that nobody ever thought it was going to be possible to have democracy. Look at what we did to help the Iraqi people build a civil justice system that everybody respects and admires now in the Arab world. Look at what we did in Mozambique to find help a country that has emerged from very great difficulty to use the Millennium Challenge Account to begin to lay a foundation for prosperity and growth and good governance that nobody really ever thought possible in southern Africa. Look at what we've done to treat millions of people with anti-retrovirals and to take care of the orphans of AIDS so that people know the compassion of America. Look at what we've done in establishing free trade agreements in places like Central America or in the Middle East so that people now have decent jobs at a decent wage and are now able to feed their families. Look at what we did in helping to bring about conflict resolution in some of the toughest conflicts in Africa, like Sudan." That would be the substantive part of it.
But I'd also hope that when I leave here, that the people who are sitting in this room and people who are yet to come will have a sense of the contribution that each and every one of them made to that list that I just talked about. Because what will happen is that the history will get written and the history will be written that President Bush did this or Secretary Rice did that or Director of National Intelligence Negroponte did that or perhaps an ambassador did this. And what won't get written is that none of us will be able to do it if we don't have teams of people who are dedicated to doing it, too. And so, when I look back, I would hope that, much like when I meet people that I've worked with at Stanford or people that I taught at Stanford and they say, "You know, I'm very glad that I was in your class, I'm very glad that I had a chance to work with you," that people here will feel the same way, because we will have accomplished something together, something difficult together, something challenging together, but we will have accomplished it on behalf of what is really a great nation.
Released on June 6, 2005