Return to: Index of 1993 Secretary of State's Speeches/Testimonies || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

Note: This Electronic Research Collection is an archive site. For the most current information, please visit the State Department homepage.
U.S. Department of State
93/02/26 NATO and US Foreign Policy
Office of the Spokesman

Secretary of State Warren Christopher
Excerpts from the intervention at 
the Special Meeting 
of the 
North Atlantic Council
NATO Headquarters

Brussels, Belgium
February 26, 1993

It is an honor for me to address the North Atlantic Council and to 
convey greetings from President Clinton.  Since this is our first 
meeting, I thought I might cast my remarks a bit more broadly than is 
customary.  In addition to offering some views on our important work in 
NATO, and Europe more generally, I'd like to outline for you the 
principal elements of President Clinton's foreign policy.  I will also 
report on my trip to the Middle East, my meeting with [Russian] Foreign 
Minister Kozyrev [see Dispatch, Vol. 4, No. 10], and address an issue of 
immediate concern to us all--the tragedy in the former Yugoslavia.

Creation and Renewal

We in the Clinton Administration consider ourselves fortunate to have 
been called to leadership at a time of unprecedented change, hope, and 
opportunity.  Only yesterday, the Berlin Wall defined the European 
landscape, and a massive Soviet threat hung over the continent.  In its 
place, however, new dangers have arisen.  Communism's legacy of economic 
and political bankruptcy impedes Europe's integration.  Ethnic 
antagonisms and splintering nations spawn violence.  Today, global 
threats--arms proliferation, environmental degradation, and rapid 
population growth--menace Europe as well.

These new threats remind us of the continuing need for NATO as a 
guarantor of our collective defense.  They also underscore the need to 
continue adapting all of our institutions and policies to meet the 
challenges of tomorrow.

Of course, we must adapt responsibly.  Amid change, we cannot lose sight 
of certain core truths.  If this turbulent century has taught us 
anything, it's that our security is indivisible and that our dreams and 
destiny are linked.  All of us are best served by a thriving 
transatlantic partnership.  NATO and its principles of political 
partnership give us a foundation of strength upon which to build for a 
better tomorrow.  The United States welcomes a strong and integrated 
Europe.  We want Europe to be a real partner:  our partner in democracy; 
our partner in growth; our partner in the maintenance of peace.

For our part, President Clinton intends to conduct what our great post-
war statesman, Dean Acheson [Secretary of State, 1949-52], called "total 
diplomacy"--a diplomacy that views domestic and foreign issues as 
inseparable.  We recognize that only an America that is strong at home 
can act as an effective partner abroad.

President Clinton has identified [see Dispatch Vol. 4, No. 5, p. 57] 
three pillars upon which America's total diplomacy must rest:

    First, elevating global economic growth as a primary foreignpolicy 

    Second, updating our forces and security arrangements to meet new 
threats; and 

    Third, organizing our foreign policy to help promote the spread of 
democracy and free markets abroad.

Achieving these goals depends on partnership with our allies and friends 
in Europe. 

Enhancing Global Economic Growth

In his economic address, President Clinton put forward a plan for 
America's economic renewal.  The promise of his plan is simple.  America 
must focus more on investment than consumption.  We must take bold steps 
to raise American skills and lower American deficits so that we can 
enjoy a more secure future.

The President understands that a healthy US economy requires a growing 
global economy.  We are taking steps to ensure a return to global 
growth.  The first is the President's domestic plan I just mentioned.  
The second is enhancing cooperation among the Group of Seven [Canada, 
France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States].  One of 
our top priorities is ensuring that this summer's economic summit in 
Tokyo leads to better macroeconomic coordination.  We seek renewed 
growth in each of our nations.

Global growth also requires expanding exports; investment; and the 
exchange of technology, culture, and ideas.  That is why the President 
announced that we would seek an extension of fast track authority to 
complete the Uruguay Round [of the General Agreement on Tariffs and 

We are determined to have fair and reasonable access to world markets.  
We are also determined to do away with protectionist policies and 
subsidized competition because they undermine growth.  Barriers will 
beget barriers, but prosperity will beget prosperity.  President 
Clinton, at the very outset of his Administration, is taking the 
difficult steps at home that Europe and Japan have long urged.  We 
believe it is now time for our friends and allies to make similarly 
tough choices and to demonstrate the necessary leadership to bring the 
Uruguay Round to a quick and equitable conclusion. 

Updating Security Arrangements To Meet New Threats

For over 4 decades, this alliance has successfully harnessed political 
goals and military power.  Today, in the Cold War's aftermath, NATO 
continues to safeguard the core of the world's democratic coalition.  It 
reaches eastward with a steadying hand to the states of Central and 
Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

America's commitment to Europe's security is undiminished and 
unwavering.  The Clinton Administration will maintain a level of US 
forces in Europe equal to the challenges of the new security 
environment.  And we will work with the Congress to provide adequate 
levels of US funding for NATO's infrastructure program.

We are all reducing our forces, given the reduced threats we face.  But 
we all must continue to field a force structure that is credible, 
capable, and sustainable--one strong enough to deter and, when 
necessary, defeat, any threat to our vital interests.

NATO remains fundamental for preserving our security in a changing 
strategic environment.  That environment includes the important work of 
the Western European Union.  I am pleased to note that Secretary General 
Van Ekelen has joined us today. Working together with other entities, 
NATO must improve its ability to deal with the disorder of ethnic 
conflict and aggressive nationalism, proliferation, and political and 
economic instability.  This would be a logical extension of the 
alliance's traditional and, still, vital collective defense function.

We must also continue our efforts to develop cooperative security 
arrangements with the nations of the former Warsaw Pact.  By enhancing 
their security, we reinforce our own.

There can be no better way to establish a new and secure Europe than to 
have soldiers from Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, and the other new 
democracies work with NATO to address their most pressing security 
problems.  We believe NATO and our Eastern colleagues should establish 
joint planning and training, and joint exercises for peace-keeping.  
Such cooperation can help ensure that all European peace-keeping 
operations are conducted in accordance with UN and CSCE [Conference on 
Security and Cooperation in Europe] principles. 

Promoting Democracy and Free Markets

Promoting democracy and economic freedom is a strategic element of 
America's national security policy, not a tactic.  Democracy and 
economic freedom are values we share.  Together, we made Europe secure 
by containing communism until it collapsed.  But the absence of 
communist aggression and repression is not enough to secure Europe's 

Europe's long-term security--like America's--requires that we actively 
foster the spread of democracy and market economies.  Democracies tend 
not to make war on each other.  They are more likely to protect human 
rights and ensure equal rights for minorities.  They are more likely to 
be reliable partners in diplomacy, trade, arms accords, and 
environmental protection.

A compelling challenge faces us right here and now.  The states of 
Central and Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union, need our help.  
These countries are trying to develop into free market democracies.  
Assisting them is not charity; it is essential to our common security.  
We must provide political support for reform, keep our markets open to 
their products, and target our assistance programs for maximum positive 
effect.  It would be the height of folly to spend hundreds of billions 
of dollars to overcome communism and then refuse to invest in the 
survival of the new democracies that are emerging.

With this background, let me now turn to a discussion of my recent 
meetings with Arab and Israeli leaders, and with Foreign Minister 

Discussions in the Middle East

As you know, there has been a growing sense of stalemate in the Middle 
East peace negotiations.  President Clinton asked me to go to the Middle 
East to see if we could help to reactivate the peace process.  In 
sending me, he said that he was prepared to have the United States play 
the role of full partner, provided the parties would come back to the 
tables and negotiate seriously.

My trip to the area, my first as Secretary of State, symbolized our 
commitment and priority to pursuing Middle East peace.  Our willingness 
to change our approach qualitatively and to become more active in an 
"honest broker" role clearly demonstrates our seriousness.

The parties welcomed this renewed American commitment and reaffirmed 
their own commitment to the peace process and their involvement in it.  
All believed that the US partnership role was essential to making 
progress toward peace.  And many of the leaders I spoke to said they 
felt this was a historic opportunity--a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity 
to make peace.

I firmly believe that you can help build the momentum we have 
established in the region over the last few days.  Together we can help 
promote a new day of hope in the Middle East.

Meeting With Foreign Minister Kozyrev

I had a good first meeting yesterday with Foreign Minister Kozyrev.  He 
welcomed my pledge that President Clinton intends that there will be no 
pause in our relationship with Russia, and I believe we gave meaning to 
the point by what we did in our first session.  Setting a summit date 
was a priority for the meeting, and we agreed to April 4 [1993], with 
the venue to be worked out later.

After I briefed him on my Middle East trip, Foreign Minister Kozyrev 
enthusiastically agreed to join the effort to get the peace talks 
started in April, promising, among other things, to encourage the 
Palestinians and others to be supportive.  On Yugoslavia, he was 
forthcoming in offering political support for our humanitarian airdrops 
and did not rule out possible Russian participation.

We discussed the volatility of the problem of minorities subject to 
mistreatment in states across Europe.  I agreed with him that it is 
important for the United States and the West to stand up for the rights 
of minorities, including the Russian minorities in the Baltic states and 
the former Soviet Union.  We must do this if we are to achieve a more 
stable and just continent and a just peace.

I reiterated the President's commitment to support the Yeltsin program 
at a most difficult time.  Kozyrev underscored the importance for them 
of opening opportunities for Russian industry to find responsible 
customers in the world market.  I expressed understanding for that 
problem but noted we could offer little more than a competitive 

Former Yugoslavia

Finally, let me turn to the issue that has been at the forefront in 
recent weeks:  the ongoing crisis in Bosnia and other parts of the 
former Yugoslavia.  None of us takes lightly the risks of involvement in 
a Balkan conflict.  But we cannot ignore the risks of letting it rage to 
consume more lives and lands.  A whole new generation is being convulsed 
in violence and condemned to a cycle of brute force and blind hate.  
That cycle must be broken.

I greatly appreciate your thoughtful responses to my letters outlining 
President Clinton's six-point plan of engagement in the effort to 
restore peace.  We have also consulted with Russia and others.  My 
discussions with Foreign Minister Kozyrev were very positive.

President Clinton believes that we must move toward a settlement, 
building on the [former Secretary of State Cyrus] Vance-[Lord David] 
Owen plan, that is just, workable, and durable, and that preserves 
Bosnia as a state. US participation comes with the expectation that 
Europe, which is most directly affected, will play a leading role and 
redouble its concerted efforts.  The addition of the United States 
should certainly not occasion any relaxation by others.

If a viable agreement can be negotiated that all parties accept and that 
has practical enforcement mechanisms, the United States is ready to join 
with the United Nations, the European Community, NATO, and others in 
implementing it.  This includes possible US military participation.  
NATO's special capabilities and command structure can play a key role in 
this regard, in combination with contributions from non-allies.  It 
behooves the alliance to make preparations now.  We must be ready to act 
effectively if and when a viable agreement is accepted by all the 
warring sides.

With respect to humanitarian assistance, I stated on February 10 that we 
were considering steps to ensure delivery of aid to those in Bosnia who 
are starving and in need of medicine.  As you know, we announced 
yesterday that the United States will conduct air drops to the needy in 
eastern Bosnia, in coordination with the United Nations and the UN High 
Commissioner for Refugees.  We would welcome such broad participation in 
this effort.

We must, today, admit frankly a fact that now haunts our search for 
peace.  The West missed too may opportunities to prevent or contain this 
suffering, bloodshed, and destruction when the conflict was in its 
infancy.  The lesson to be learned from this tragedy is the importance 
of early and decisive engagement against ethnic persecution and 
aggressive nationalism.

The treatment of minorities is an issue that begs for the application of 
preventive diplomacy.  Minority concerns exist not only in the Balkans 
but throughout the countries that comprise our new North Atlantic 
Cooperation Council.

Our security interest in resolving minority issues is clear.  When 
democratic institutions are new, memories of historic injustices are 
fresh, and people are undergoing the painful dislocation of market 
reform, we must all be especially mindful of the treatment accorded 
minorities.  We must urge restraint and tolerance on all sides.  We must 
speak out when human rights are violated.  And we must promote early and 
effective problem-solving.

The Clinton Administration is prepared to do its part.  We look to you 
to do yours. 

Moving Forward Together

The great post-war leaders were years ahead of their time.  From 
history's vantage, we marvel at their far-sightedness.  Of course, 
Acheson, Monnet, Schuman, and Adenauer* could not know how kindly 
history would judge their work.  They were struggling to get beyond the 
moment, counter the pressing threat, and craft the policy that would 
serve their nations' long-term interests to speed the dawn of a better 

That day has dawned.  Hard work lies ahead of us.  And we must act today 
to ensure our tomorrows.  But do we have the needed tools at our 
disposal?  Will we use them wisely?  Most important of all, can we 
summon the political will to accomplish our mission?

Those questions go to the heart of our NATO work.  We can--we must-- 
answer them in the affirmative.  We can and we must move forward 
together.  In that spirit, I am pleased to have the opportunity to meet 
here now.  (###)