95/06/04 Remarks: Informal Dialogue of OAS, Haiti  Return to: Index of 1995 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.
95/06/04 Remarks:  Informal Dialogue of OAS, Haiti

                       U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                       Office of the Spokesman 
                         (Montrouis, Haiti) 
For Immediate Release                                 June 4, 1995 
                 AT AN INFORMAL DIALOGUE OF  
                      OAS General Assembly 
                       Montrouis, Haiti 
                         June 4, 1995 

Foreign Minister Werleigh, distinguished ministers, it is a great 
pleasure to join you today at this informal dialogue. 

Over the coming days, our delegations will address a wide-ranging agenda 
that shows just how vital the OAS is to attaining the goal of a stable, 
prosperous and democratic Western Hemisphere.  We should begin by noting 
that this General Assembly is taking place in a democratic Haiti.  
Together with President Aristide and the Haitian people, our nations 
made history by demonstrating that our commitment to democracy goes 
beyond words. It is fitting that the world's oldest regional 
organization played a crucial role in defending human rights and 
restoring democracy in one of the hemisphere's oldest nations. 

The support of the OAS will remain essential to Haiti over the coming 
weeks, months and years--just as it has been essential to other 
democracies in our hemisphere.  Last year, for example, the OAS helped 
broker the Pact for Democracy to resolve disputed elections in the 
Dominican Republic.  Two years ago, it stood by democracy when it was 
threatened in Guatemala.  It has strengthened the legislature in 
Paraguay.  And it has helped Central American nations to preserve the 

The increasingly vigorous role that the OAS is playing both reflects and 
reinforces the remarkable political and economic transformation of the 
Americas over the past decade.  Over the coming days--and over the 
coming years--we must use that foundation to build a lasting 
architecture for the Western Hemisphere. 

We should start by considering the thoughtful proposals for 
restructuring the OAS that are outlined in Secretary General Cesar 
Gaviria's New Vision working paper. Allow me to mention a few that 
deserve particular attention: 

First, we must consolidate democracy's hold in the region by supporting 
the Secretary General's efforts to strengthen the OAS's Unit for the 
Promotion of Democracy.  We applaud the Secretary General's proposals to 
re-allocate resources to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights 
and the Inter-American Court.  Our member states can also send a strong 
signal of our support for democracy by speedily ratifying the Washington 
and Managua Protocols. 

Second, the United States strongly supports the Secretary General's 
decision to bolster the ability of the OAS to deepen the economic 
integration of our hemisphere.  The resources that the Secretary General 
plans to allocate to the new Trade Unit will help the OAS spur economic 
liberalization and trade expansion.  We also look to the Unit to 
increase coordination among members of NAFTA, MERCOSUR, CARICOM and 
other regional groups, and to enable the smaller countries of the 
hemisphere to benefit fully from free trade and open markets. 

Third, we must intensify the fight against the corruption that 
undermines our economic progress, our governments, and our societies.  
The OAS can play a valuable role in enabling countries to adopt and 
enforce collective measures against bribery, establish strict ethical 
standards for public servants, and make the workings of our institutions 
more transparent. 

Finally, the United States also supports Secretary General Gaviria's 
attempts to make the OAS more efficient. We agree that the OAS must 
support projects more selectively by focusing on areas where it has a 
comparative advantage. 

The New Vision's proposals to strengthen democracy and expand free trade 
will greatly assist the OAS to carry out the tasks it was given at the 
Miami Summit.  But we must do more, especially in the seven areas of the 
Action Plan where our leaders called on the OAS to play a special role. 

I look forward to working with my colleagues to refine the proposals in 
this report.  When the nations of this hemisphere meet in the OAS, each 
country's voice is heard--no matter the size of its population, 
territory, or economy.  We respect each other's sovereignty, and we 
recognize the needs of all our members. 

As the Secretary General has often said, more is expected of the OAS 
today than ever before.  But high expectations are themselves the 
product of high hopes. Never has the future of the Americas seemed 
brighter.  Never has the prospect of a stable, prosperous, and 
democratic hemisphere seemed so close within reach. 

Thank you very much. 
To the top of this page