95/12/02 Sec. Christopher on Transatlantic Agenda  Return to: Index of 1995 Secretary of State's Speeches/Testimonies || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

U.S. Department of State 
95/12/02 Sec. Christopher on Transatlantic Agenda 
Office of the Spokesman 
                        U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                         Office of the Spokesman 
                            December 2, 1995 
                       ON THE RECORD BRIEFING 
                       ON THE TRANSATLANTIC AGENDA 
                              Palace Hotel 
                             Madrid, Spain 
AMBASSADOR GARDNER:  Good afternoon, it is a pleasure for me to  
introduce to you, and welcome to Madrid, Secretary of State,  
Christopher, and Ambassador Mickey Kantor. 
You may remember that six months ago to the day, on June 2nd, Secretary  
of State Christopher made a speech at the Casa de America in which he  
said, and I quote "In the next six months, the United States looks  
forward to working closely with the Spanish Presidency of the European  
Union to develop a broad ranging Trans-Atlantic agenda for the new  
century, an agenda for common economic and political action to expand  
democracy, prosperity and stability".  At approximately the same time,  
in Brussels U.S. trade representative, Mickey Kantor, made a similar  
speech.  It was no accident that the Secretary of State chose to make  
his speech in Madrid, because he knew that as Spain was preparing for  
its historic six months Presidency of the European Union, the Spanish  
government and in particular, the Spanish Foreign Ministry under the  
leadership of Foreign Minister Solana was also planning that there  
should be a major Trans-Atlantic initiative during its Presidency.  So  
everything came together, and here we are six months later, and despite  
the doubts of many that it could be done, two American super star  
lawyers and a Foreign Minister trained in physics and their able teams  
have given us a document which is at once visionary and practical. 
So I would ask Secretary of State to begin and tell us about it. 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Ambassador Gardner, thank you very much.  You're  
quite right that when I came here six months ago, many were questioning  
whether in the period after the cold war, the United States and Europe  
would inevitably drift apart, that we did not have the impetus to  
maintain the Trans-Atlantic partnership that had brought us together  
before.  I emphatically rejected that view at the time, saying that  
every generation must renew our partnership to meet the challenges of  
the time, but that we had extremely strong bonds and a strong incentive  
to stay together.  I called on the United States and Europe to forge a  
common Trans-Atlantic agenda for the next century, the twenty-first  
century, an agenda that would reflect our strong common interests in  
democracy, in security and prosperity around the world.  I must say,  
even in my most hopeful moments six months ago, I couldn't imagine quite  
how dramatically the six months would prove the skeptics wrong, and show  
that our democracies had the continuing vitality to carry out a Trans- 
Atlantic agenda and to develop a new one.  We've had, of course, in this  
period an even more dramatic indication of our capacity to work  
together.  More dramatic only because issues of peace and war somehow  
have the maximum drama about them and as you know without the United  
States and Europe working together, there would be not the great  
opportunity now that we have within reach for peace in Bosnia.  Only  
last summer, last July, when we saw on the darkest days, after the fall  
of Sbrenica and Zepa the continuation of the unspeakable atrocities, we  
confronted at that time the very real possibility that the peacekeepers  
would have to be pulled out of Bosnia and we would be involved in the  
very unattractive situation of having thousands of American and allied  
troops involved in a withdrawal path that would have only been a way to  
confirm defeat. But since then, our combined military and diplomatic  
effort starting with the London Conference and continuing with President  
Clinton's initiative has moved us to a place of great hope and great  
promise with respect to Bosnia. 
In the coming days, working together with our European allies, NATO will  
undertake a mission that will have the prospect of bringing peace to  
Bosnia after four bloody years, and demonstrating, very forcefully, that  
the United States and Europe can work together to confront the new and  
different, but no less real challenges of the post cold war period.  We  
are also going to be working for an enlarged NATO on a steady path as we  
actively engage with our new partners in the Partnership for Peace to  
the east, and I think that this particular program will be essential as  
we seek the President's vision of a fully integrated, peaceful Europe  
without dividing lines.  At the same time a strengthened relationship   
between the United States and the fifteen nations of the European Union  
is essential to our efforts to achieve stability and security and  
prosperity within the goal of the integrated Europe.  The Madrid Summit  
tomorrow with President Clinton, Prime Minister Gonzalez, President  
Santer which sets the stage for a historic expansion of the cooperation  
between out two continents, the Trans-Atlantic agenda which we will  
launch tomorrow, more than meets the hopes that I had six months ago.   
It will reflect our common values and common interests, and greatly  
reinforce our common action.  Under the agenda we will move from  
consultation to sustained cooperation in four key areas.  First  
promoting peace, development and democracy around the world. Second,  
combating international crime, terrorism, drug trafficking, meeting  
environmental challenges, this latter being the new agenda that  
President Clinton emphasized in his United Nations' speech.  I think it  
is certain to be a major agenda in the next century.  Third, expanding  
global trade and eliminating economic barriers in the Trans-Atlantic  
relationship.  Fourth, building new bridges between Americans and  
Europeans.  On this last point, I want to emphasize the great importance  
we place on educational exchanges, exchanges between business men,  
business conferences, the bed rock relationship still a people to people  
relationship. On this fourth aspect I think we want to emphasize that.   
We'll be taking some priority initiatives, among them important efforts  
to anchor central Europe and Turkey firmly to the West with the very  
important votes coming up in the European Parliament on Turkey's entry  
into the Customs Union.  Support of the Middle-East peace process which  
I think was one of the reflections of the dialogue in Barcelona and our  
joint fight against nuclear proliferation. And we certainly will be  
emphasizing in this next period, the economic reconstruction in Bosnia,  
in which the European Union has volunteered to take the lead.  We've got  
a lot of hard work ahead of us in Bosnia as well as in deepening the  
relationship between the United States and Europe.  But I'm confident,  
based upon the splendid relationship we've had in the last six months on  
various fronts, that we can succeed.  As I conclude, I want to pay great  
tribute to the quality of the work done by Spain, in its six month  
Presidency.  We're had an ideal relationship with them, and without the  
work of the Spanish government, I'm sure we wouldn't be here today.  I  
also want to pay tribute to Under-secretary Joan Spero and Ambassador  
Jeff Lang who have spear-headed the United States' effort in developing  
the new Trans-Atlantic agenda. 
AMBASSADOR MICKEY KANTOR:  Thank you Mr. Secretary. 
I, too, would like to pay tribute to the Spanish leadership, Prime  
Minister Gonzalez, and Foreign Minister Solana, and all of their  
colleagues, Mr. Westendorp, to President Samper and Leon Britton and  
their colleagues of the European Union.  Of course, Joan and Jeff and  
also I think Ambassador Gardner, Ambassador Eisenstadt contributed  
mightily to the success of what has happened here just six months since  
the Secretary's speech.  I just would simply say that in a world where  
truly economic security and national security interests cannot be  
separated, the idea that we can come together by taking dialogue and  
discussion and turning it into agreement, and then turning that into  
action is enormously important.  National security interests and  
economic interests cannot be divided, in a post cold war world it's a  
way in which we're going to link to each other, and it makes an enormous  
difference that the two largest economic entities on earth can come  
together and move this agenda forward in such an impressive fashion.   
Not only in the economic area, of course, but in the other areas cited  
by Secretary Christopher, and I think everyone who worked on this, the  
ones we cited and other officials both in Europe and in the United  
States deserve tremendous credit.   
QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, Al Goodman for CNN.  In this morning's Herald  
Tribune, some unidentified European officials are cited saying that the  
plan is essentially a glorified laundry list that seeks to make up in  
quantity for what it lacks in quality and substance in vision.  What  
would you say, Sir, to critics of the plan, that it's too scattered with  
the hundred points, it's got too much in it?   
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I would say essentially what I said in my  
opening remarks.  I think there are some priority issues that we'll be  
addressing.  There are four fundamental points that we're carrying  
forward, and I think that there are a number of points of emphasis, but  
that's because we have so many important things that we need to do in  
the future.  It's clear, for example, that our working together on the  
new issues, or at least the newly recognized issues of terrorism and  
money laundering, and drugs and law enforcement, and environment.  Those  
are fundamental issues and we wouldn't want to neglect any of them so, I  
just reject the idea that this is a laundry list. It's a commitment, a  
Trans-Atlantic commitment that'll have real emphasis, real and tangible  
steps to be taken over the next year, and in the years ahead. 
Ambassador Kantor? 
AMBASSADOR KANTOR:  Just one comment.  If we're going to be criticized,  
I'd much rather be criticized for doing too much than too little. 
QUESTION:  Andrew Davis from Bloomburg Business News.  I was wondering  
if you could go into, particularly with regards to trade, some of the  
specific city agreement, and clarify is this agreement is it  a treaty,  
how binding will it be once its signed, and I assume it's going to be  
signed here in Madrid at the Summit. 
AMBASSADOR KANTOR:  When any two great entities spend time in serious  
negotiations and agree to move forward, it's not only binding but  both  
will always adhere to the dictates of what they have undertaken, and it  
is very specific and very hopeful in terms of our trade and economic  
relations.  For instance, we agreed to take on confidence-building  
measures as part of the five part agenda. In that regard, we've just  
finished discussion and agreement which we have initialed on  
compensation for enlargement of the European Union and also to settle  
the reference price system, which resulted in cases, as you know, at the  
World Trade Organization.  That's a positive, specific, important step  
forward.  Second, of course, we agreed to engage in, in 1996, measures  
which would move the agenda forward, on an immediate basis, including  
lowering tariffs,  including standards, agreements on standards, called  
mutual recognition agreements.  We agreed also to an information  
technology agreement which will have an enormous impact by reducing the  
tariffs to zero in these important items by the year 2000.  We agreed on  
making strides and opening up government procurement.  In addition to  
that, we'll undertake a study to determine how we can progressively  
eliminate and reduce barriers to trade between the two largest trading  
entities in the world, whose total trade represent over fifty percent of  
all the trade in the world. And last, of course, but certainly not  
least, we agreed to institutionalize the business dialogue in a way that  
will be a parallel function and will be supportive of, and contributing  
to our activities as we move forward.  This is specific, it's concrete,  
it's achievable and it's very impressive. 
QUESTION:  Mr. Kantor, Terren Miller with AP Dow Jones.  Back to the  
question of how binding any of this is.  How obligated is either party  
with this agenda to move forward?  Granted, everybody's planning to move  
forward, that sounds great, but what actually has been done, once this  
document is signed?  
AMBASSADOR KANTOR:  Well, once the document is signed, of course, we'll  
begin the study and we agreed this morning with Foreign Minster Solana  
to begin immediately.  Second, of course, we'll begin to look at what  
tariffs can be reduced, what tariffs under the Uruguay Round can be  
accelerated, what kind of standards, and certification we can deal with  
in order to open or to reduce barriers to trade.  In that area of  
concern, we'll look at government procurement on both sides of the  
Atlantic and see how much more we can open up.  As you know, we reached  
an agreement on April 14, 1994, in Marrakech to open up about a hundred  
billion dollars on each side of the Atlantic in opportunities for U.S.  
and European companies.  We can go further and we will.  And, the  
information technology agreement is very real.  We've agreed to reduce  
to zero all tariffs in these very important areas, by the year 2000.   
All of that, of course, will be extremely helpful.  We have reached  
agreement between these two.  It will be signed by the three leaders,  
and it is binding on us to move forward. 
Ambassador Gardner quite correctly called my attention to the fact that  
we're also committed to review progress under this new agenda every six  
months at our twice -yearly meetings between the EU and United States,  
and I think that'll be a very important tracking mechanism. 
QUESTION:  I am John F. Tremmler from UPI.  I wanted to ask you about  
the humanitarian assistance section, which calls for "you send blankets,  
and we'll send food".  Is the message here not that both sides will  
simply send less, and save money?   
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, I think that if we can save money and get  
the job done, we would all want to do that.  We don't have any reason to  
want to be prophetic about it.  I suppose there's a natural skepticism,  
maybe even cynicism on the language of documents, but the language of  
documents does have its impact.  I can't help but remember the London  
conference right after Sbrenica and Zepa in which we took a decision  
that there would be a decisive and substantial response if there was a  
further attack.  People wondered whether those words meant anything, but  
they were followed by a massive bombing campaign when there was another  
attack on Sarajevo.  I think that's a good illustration of the fact that  
when nations of this stature commit themselves in language, there is a  
translation, between that language and between end results. And I think  
humanitarian commitment can be read in light of being a real substantial  
commitment of these countries to achieve the results.  Obviously in the  
most efficient and practice way possible. 
QUESTION:  Yes, Brian Coleman from the Wall Street Journal.  As late ad  
yesterday, and certainly Thursday, there was some disagreement on the  
inclusion of monetary relations in this agreement.  Has that been  
resolved, and if so, how? 
AMBASSADOR KANTOR:  Yes, it has.  The language in the agreement  
indicates we're going to continue to exchange views on questions. In  
this area the language is completely consistent with what we agreed to  
at Halifax, at the last G-7 meeting.  And so therefore all sides are  
satisfied with the language reached during the discussions over the last  
few days.   
QUESTION (Patrick Worsnip, Reuters):  Mr. Secretary, I wonder if I could  
bring you again to the question of NATO and Mr. Solana.  You've paid  
tribute several times to Spain's contributions to NATO and to Mr.  
Solana's personal qualities, but still the fact remains that Spain isn't  
fully integrated into the NATO command structure.  Do you think that Mr.  
Solana's holding the post of General Secretary is compatible with that? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, I think Spain has been drawing closer to  
NATO as reflected by their operations in Bosnia.  I would hope that over  
time, Spain would continue to draw closer to NATO and the small  
differences that remain now can be resolved. I would think that  
Secretary General Solana,  if I can be a little bit premature about his  
new title, can have a positive effect on the relationship between NATO  
and Spain, but I don't want in any way to reflect adversely on the  
relationship.  As it stands now, it is very close, very effective at the  
present time. 
QUESTION:  I would like to know your opinion about the difference  
relationship from U.S. point of view between the Trans-Atlantic  
relationship and the Trans-Pacific relationships? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Would you repeat your question, maybe my jet-lag  
is catching... 
QUESTION:  I would like to know which are the points in common and also  
the differences between the relationship, between the United States and  
the Asiatic countries, and this Trans-Atlantic relationship. 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well that's a ... to give a comprehensive answer  
would probably take longer than any of you would like. There are some  
important similarities.  We intend to remain a Pacific power. We have  
five very important alliances in the Pacific.  We have about a hundred  
thousand forward based troops in the Pacific, so we have a very strong  
relationship in the Pacific.  But here in Europe, we have, I think, the  
greatest military alliance of all time, in which we have a comprehensive  
alliance with 16 countries.  We have about a hundred thousand American  
troops forward-based here in Europe, and I think the security  
relationship between the United States and Europe is one that's  
absolutely fundamental.  The debate that's going on in Congress now, has  
been a reason for us to reflect on that relationship. The situation in  
the Balkans is important to the United States, because Europe is  
important to the United States.  The possibility of that conflict  
spreading to Europe, is what is fundamentally, I think, a way to define  
the United States' interest in bringing peace to that country, as well  
as, of course, for the humanitarian reasons and the reasons of our  
leadership. So we have extremely strong security relations both in the  
Pacific and in the Atlantic.  It wouldn't be helpful at all, I think, to  
try to contrast them in some way, to say that one is stronger or one is  
more important.  They're slightly different but both are important and  
it is interesting that our economic relationships are very parallel.  I  
think the economic ties with Europe are perhaps slightly larger than  
they are with Asia at the present time, but they are both huge economic  
and security relationships for the United States and will continue to be  
in the future. 
QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, Jeff Sellars from The Globe and Mail.  Again  
on Solana. I understand there are some objections to his appointment by  
Canada and Great Britain and the Pentagon.  Can you explain a bit how  
those objections were overcome? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The selection of a Secretary General was a  
confidential process within the North Atlantic Council.  I think what is  
significant is at the end of the time there was unanimous selection of  
Foreign Minister Solana.  From my standpoint it was a consensus that was  
very readily and easily arrived at.  When the process resumed its  
confidential nature, and I certainly prefer that, I think there was a  
very relatively quick and very satisfactory salutary consensus developed  
around Foreign Minister Solana.  I talked to a number of Foreign  
Ministers about that, obviously every candidate has some strengths and  
sometimes there are questions raised, not perhaps because of the  
candidate, because of things extraneous to the candidate, but the  
decision on Foreign Minister Solana was one that was very firmly reached  
and with a great deal of enthusiasm and on a unanimous basis in a very  
short period of time.  My understanding is that, they began the process  
of most aggressive consultations in the North Atlantic Council only on  
Thursday morning, that's when I talked to Ambassador Hunter about it,  
and by Friday afternoon, they'd reached a common consensus, which shows  
I think the degree of unanimity and the degree of enthusiasm for Foreign  
Minister Solana. 
QUESTION:  Secretary Christopher, Mike Strauss from Knight-Ridder.  Has  
the State Department assessed the domestic political impact for Spain,  
of naming Minister Solana to the NATO post, or does this sort of  
exercise not occur in such situations?  If there was an assessment, can  
we hear what the outcome was, if it's not classified, please. 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The domestic significance, the domestic in the  
United States or in Spain?   
QUESTION:  On Spanish domestic politics, please. 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We wanted to find the very best person,  I  
emphasize person, that we could to be Secretary General of NATO.  We  
obviously at some point in the process have to inquire of the person  
whether he would be willing or not to be a candidate, but would be  
willing to accept, if selected, and that was done, and I think that  
beyond that we really didn't try to assess matters of local politics.   
We had to leave that up to the potential selection and to let the  
selection and his country weigh that.  I don't think that we would, I  
think it would be a mistake for the United States or other countries in  
NATO to try to reach an internal judgment about the effect in the  
countries involved.  The country and the individual and his colleagues  
and government had to make that assessment. 
QUESTION:  Jay Brannigan from Time Magazine.  Ambassador Kantor, the  
study on Free Trade or lowering trade barriers, eliminating trade  
barriers has been called the "center piece" of this agenda.  Could you  
give us a good solid idea exactly when the study will be completed?  
AMBASSADOR KANTOR:  It will begin immediately.  It will cover all areas  
of concern where there are barriers to trade which need to be either  
reduced or eliminated.  I would assume it will be a living document in  
the sense as we can reach agreement on those areas which can be either  
reduced or eliminated will go ahead and take the step and continue the  
study on other barriers that exist. 
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