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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
95/05/22 REMARKS:  COUNCIL OF THE AMERICAS "STAYING THE COURSE" 
OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN 
 
 
[As Prepared For Delivery]



                                 REMARKS BY
                 SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
                                   TO THE
                         COUNCIL OF THE AMERICAS
                         WASHINGTON, MAY 22, 1995
 
 
Chairman Avery, President Briggs, Chairman Rockefeller:  It is indeed an 
honor to have the chance to speak to distinguished members of the 
Council of the Americas.  The Council has promoted greater understanding 
among leaders throughout the hemisphere.  You have brought home to all 
of us in the United States just how great a stake we have in inter-
American cooperation. 
 
I can think of no theme more appropriate to this conference than 
"Staying the Course."  For the first time in the history of our 
hemisphere, we are set on a common course.  A new consensus of the 
Americas has formed.  Open markets work.  Democratic governments are 
just.  And together they offer the best hope for lifting people's lives. 
 
This consensus has been voluntarily embraced by 34 nations. It has found 
its most hopeful expression in the extraordinary year-long dialogue that 
culminated in last December's Summit of the Americas.  Led by President 
Clinton, 34 democratically elected leaders launched an historic new 
process of of economic and political cooperation.  Our commitment to 
have negotiated a Free Trade Area of the Americas by 2005 will generate 
jobs and prosperity for all our peoples.  Under the 23 initiatives 
endorsed at Miami, the nations of the hemisphere will work together to 
strengthen democratic institutions, fight corruption, attack narcotics 
trafficking, combat terrorism, ease poverty, and reverse environmental 
degradation throughout our hemisphere. 
 
When historians look back on the events of that weekend in Miami, I 
believe that they will see it as a turning point in the integration of a 
prosperous, stable and democratic Western Hemisphere. 
 
But since that moment in Miami, there have been two developments in our 
hemisphere that tested the strength and durability of the progress that 
we have made.  In late December, a crisis of economic confidence in 
Mexico sent tremors of financial uncertainty throughout the Americas.  
And the outbreak of armed conflict between Peru and Ecuador in January 
revived old questions about the ability of our nations to resolve 
disputes without resort to bloodshed or punitive measures.  Some have 
cited these two events as proof that our vision of a new hemisphere 
cannot withstand adversity. 
 
They could not be more wrong.  To anyone familiar with the history of 
our region, the progress that it has made over the past two decades is 
unprecedented.  Where once country after country stagnated under 
military rule, today we are a hemisphere of 34 democracies out of 35 
nations.  Where once economy after economy was caught in the grip of 
closed markets, choking debt and hyperinflation, today this is the 
second fastest growing region in the world, and the fastest growing 
market for American exports. 
 
Indeed, this triumph of democracy and open markets in our hemisphere is 
reflected even in Mexico's recent crisis.  Let us not forget that the 
Mexico of today is not the Mexico of earlier times.  A decade ago, the 
response to a similar crisis in Mexico might have meant a return to 
statist policies, the imposition of trade barriers to American products, 
even the nationalization of key sectors.  Instead, Mexico has reaffirmed 
its commitment to reform. 
 
President Clinton acted courageously and decisively in February to 
mobilize American and international support for Mexico.  President 
Zedillo acted to tighten Mexico's fiscal and monetary policy.  No doubt 
a difficult period of hardship still lies ahead.  But the tough medicine 
appears to be working.  And the markets are taking notice. 
 
The United States will not waver in its support.  Our reasons for 
helping Mexico remain clear-- the prosperity of our people, the security 
of our borders, the stability of our closest Latin neighbor, and the 
stability of other emerging markets in which we have a growing stake 
from the standpoint of our exports and investments, and American jobs. 
 
A decade ago, Mexico's financial crisis could have been enough to send 
the hemisphere into a tailspin.  But nations such as Argentina did not 
let the shock waves from Mexico halt their own progress toward economic 
liberalization and open markets. 
 
The United States believes that the momentum for economic integration in 
our hemisphere must be maintained.  We applaud the progress that the 
members of MERCOSUR, CARICOM, the Andean Group, and our Central American 
neighbors have already made.  We are beginning negotiations on NAFTA's 
extension to Chile.  We are determined to fulfill our Miami pledge to 
establish a free trade area by 2005.  To this end, we have been engaged 
in intensive consultations for the June 30 meeting of Trade Ministers in 
Denver, which will move us further toward implementation of "Vision 
2005." 
 
As head of what I call the America Desk at the Department of State, I am 
committed to ensuring that American companies and workers receive the 
fullest benefits from our economic diplomacy.  Over the past two years, 
we have, for example, helped to win telecommunication contracts in 
Honduras, to improve the protection of patents in Mexico and Venezuela, 
and to resolve investment disputes in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama.  
We have also strengthened our joint measures to fight corruption, 
complementing the global efforts the United States has been pursuing 
through the OECD.  I encourage this Council and other business 
organizations to maintain their productive dialogue with the State 
Department and other U.S. government agencies. 
 
Coming so soon after the success of the Miami Summit, the outbreak of 
hostilities between Peru and Ecuador was all the more disturbing.  
Together with Brazil, Argentina, and Chile,  we moved quickly to help 
Peru and Ecuador end their border clash.  We are now working with those 
two countries to resolve underlying issues. 
 
In the region as a whole, conflict and tension have diminished 
dramatically.  Central America is no longer a charnel house of conflicts 
driven by class, race, and ideology.  I note in particular the success 
of the United Nations, with the strong backing of the United States, in 
settling the almost intractable conflict in El Salvador -- further 
testimony that the UN has a valuable role to play and deserves our 
support. 
 
Indeed, our region has attained an unprecedented level of cooperation on 
regional and global security issues.  Argentina and Brazil have 
initiated dramatic new non-proliferation measures.  Working together, 
the nations of our hemisphere also played a major role in shaping the 
worldwide consensus for the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty. 
 
But perhaps the most heartening aspect of dramatic progress in our 
hemisphere has been our collective commitment to democracy.  The 
movement to democracy in Latin America is a great epic of the late 20th 
century.  And one of the most significant chapters in that epic was our 
collective action, led by President Clinton, to restore democracy to 
Haiti last September.  Together, we have demonstrated that the 
democratic tide that has swept over this hemisphere will be defended. 
 
Democracy's progress has continued in recent elections in Brazil, in 
Uruguay, in Peru, and two weeks ago in Argentina.  That achievement is 
all the more impressive in light of the sweeping economic reforms that 
elected officials are undertaking in those countries.  Our leaders 
remain united in their conviction that sustained economic growth and 
improved living standards depend on strong, accountable democratic 
government. 
 
Two weeks from now, I will be in Port-au-Prince for a meeting of the 
Organization of American States at a site that one year ago would have 
seemed unlikely if not impossible.  That meeting will be a tribute to 
the determination of the Haitian people and to the hemisphere's resolve 
to stand by democracy. 
 
The President's courageous actions to restore democracy in Haiti, and to 
deal with the financial difficulties in Mexico, are forceful reminders 
of the importance of the President's ability to act decisively in times 
of crisis.  The same is true of the President's ordering U.S. 
participation in the international team that is supervising the cease 
fire in the Peru-Ecuador flare-up. 
 
Legislation now being debated in the House of Representatives (H.R. 1561 
- the Gilman bill) wages an extraordinary assault on this and every 
future President's constitutional authority to manage foreign policy.  
Provisions in the bill that affect this hemisphere clearly impair the 
President's constitutional authority in the field of foreign affairs.  
If the bill reaches the President's desk in its present form, I will 
have no choice but to recommend a veto. 
 
The events of the past few months in Mexico and Peru and Ecuador are 
only the most recent reminders of the tasks that still lie before us.  
But by any standard, the events of the past year in our hemisphere are 
cause for hope and not despair.  A financial panic averted, an anti-
democratic coup reversed, a border war ended -- all this, and agreement 
on a comprehensive plan of action at the Miami Summit. 
 
Much has happened in the 12 months since you last convened at the State 
Department.  As the United States works to sustain that progress over 
the next 12 months,  I will count on the support of the Council to 
fulfill our Hemisphere's true promise. 
 
Thank you very much. 
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