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U.S. Department of State
93/04/26 Remarks at 4th World Conf. Of National Endowment
Office of the Spokesman

Remarks by
Secretary of State Warren Christopher
at the reception for the 
Fourth World Conference of the National Endowment for Democracy

Washington, DC
April 26, 1993

Support for Global Human Rights Strengthens Democracy at Home

It's a great pleasure for me to be part of this Fourth World Conference 
of the National Endowment for Democracy.  As John [Brademas] rightly 
says, our Department has benefited greatly by having some people who 
have had close associations with the National Endowment before joining 
us.

I salute the work of all of you on behalf of democracy.  The National 
Endowment embodies America's broad-based and, as John said, bipartisan 
support for freedom.  The National Endowment's pioneering programs are 
models of how democratic principles can be given practical expression in 
every single region of the world.

Your creative programs are helping to lay a foundation for tolerant, 
pluralistic, civil societies.  And as I look around the room, of course, 
I see representatives from so many of the regions giving tangible and 
practical effect to the commitment of the National Endowment.

Two hundred years ago, when the United States was a new nation, our 
founders called our country a great experiment, a laboratory for 
democracy.  But today, the whole world is a laboratory for democracy.  
People everywhere are inspired by democratic ideals, as His Holiness the 
Dalai Lama said to you in his remarks this morning.

Among the participants in this conference, for example, are the 
initiator of a women's organization in Yemen devoted to teaching 
democratic values, the founder of Africa's first independent radio 
station, and the Polish coordinator of centers encouraging tolerance 
throughout Eastern Europe.

These and other pathbreakers are creating conditions for worldwide 
protection and promotion of fundamental freedoms; for the rule of law; 
for legitimate, political processes; for representative, accountable 
government; for open legislative processes; for free trade unions; and 
for independent media.  In turn, an ever-widening circle of democracies 
is forging a freer, more prosperous, and more peaceful international 
community.

It is commonplace to say that we are in an era of profound transition, 
but, amidst the uncertainty, one thing remains clear:  The protection of 
human rights is the first responsibility of every government.  Indeed, 
the condition of human rights in a country is a good measure of the 
quality of its government, and the free exercise of human rights is the 
best safeguard against the abuse of national power.

Great strides can be made for democracy and human rights in this new 
era, nowhere more so than in Russia.  Ensuring the success of the 
Russian people in building an open society and a free and vibrant 
economy:  in my judgment, this is the pre-eminent security challenge of 
our time.

I know that we are all happy that the early returns from yesterday's 
referendum indicate a victory for democracy and economic reform in 
Russia.  It's reassuring about how democracy works, isn't it?  The 
successful conduct of the referendum, the large turnout by the people of 
Russia, the apparent direction of the results are all very welcome and 
are important steps on Russia's road to democracy.  The votes of the 
Russian people are an eloquent statement of their commitment to 
democracy and free-market principles.

I think on this occasion we ought to reach out and give our 
congratulations and support to the Russian people for what they've done 
in the vote on Sunday.

Of course, our eyes are fully open to the serious problems that lie 
ahead of us all around the world.  Throughout the Soviet bloc, new 
states are struggling to make the transition from totalitarianism and 
command economies to democracy and free markets.  In other parts of the 
world, the fate of democracy depends upon how elected governments deal 
with the almost intractable problems of poverty, population, and the 
environment.  Many nations confront security threats from hostile 
neighbors, narcotics, and terrorism.  At the same time, many nations 
face enormous developmental challenges ranging from women's literacy to 
child survival and family planning.

These are the reasons why President Clinton has instructed me to ensure 
that issues of development and democracy-building are effectively 
integrated into our foreign policy.  By defining the rights of the 
individual wherever he or she may be, Americans reaffirm our own 
freedom.  By supporting young democracies worldwide, we strengthen the 
world's oldest democracy--our own democracy here in the United States.

Here at the State Department, we are establishing under Tim Wirth's able 
leadership a new Under Secretaryship for global affairs because these 
cross-cutting issues are vital as we reshape the Department for this new 
era.  I know that he and John Shattuck, our Assistant Secretary-
Designate for Human Rights, will move forward with a broad agenda for 
action.  The United States will engage in a comprehensive human rights 
dialogue with foreign governments all around the world.  We will 
energetically encourage trends toward democracy and open, tolerant, law-
based civil societies; and we will also be targeting our foreign 
assistance accordingly to achieve these goals.

I know that many of you here this evening have come at a considerable 
sacrifice and that your work involves great personal sacrifice and also 
great courage.  Your selfless work is making the world a safer, freer, 
and better place.  President Clinton and I want you to know that in the 
United States you have a resolute and vigilant friend, and that the 
United States will be continuing to work for human rights around the 
world as long as President Clinton is the leader of our country and as 
long as I am here at the State Department.

In closing, I'd like to say that it's very fitting for us to be meeting 
here in the Ben Franklin Room.  Franklin was a consummate democratic 
activist.  In this new, exciting era, we would be wise to emulate 
Franklin.  He was innovative and entrepreneurial.  He had courage and 
vision.  He was idealistic, but he was also very practical.  He saw 
democracy as the most sensible means of governing human beings.

In Franklin's day, as in ours, there was no guarantee that democracy 
would succeed.  Today, Franklin would be proud.  The results of his 
experiment have never been more promising and the successes never more 
pervasive.

So ladies and gentlemen, the American Government and the American people 
join you in this great worldwide experiment in democracy--an experiment 
that will be never-ending and I hope ever more successful.

I want to say a word, as I conclude, to many of you around the room.  I 
have been told about your noble achievements.  Of course, the purpose of 
this conference is to share those innovations and share those 
achievements, because they inspire all of us to continue working for 
human rights around the world and to continue making the achievements 
that bring our societies a few steps forward.  Step by step we are 
moving toward greater protection of human rights around the globe.

So thank you so much for coming to the State Department tonight.  I am 
honored to have you here.  Thank you very much.  (###)

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