Return to: Index of 1996 Secretary of State's Speeches/Testimonies || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

U.S. Department of State
96/02/29 Remarks: With Argentine ForMin Di Tella, Buenos Aires
Office of the Spokesman 


                      U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                       Office of the Spokesman 
 
                      (Buenos Aires, Argentina) 
 
___________________________________________________________________ 
For Immediate Release                             February 29, 1996 
 
 
                          TOASTS GIVEN 
                              BY 
              SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER  
                              AND 
                  FOREIGN MINISTER GUIDO DI TELLA 
           AT A DINNER IN HONOR OF SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER 
 
 
                      Alvear Palace Hotel 
                    Buenos Aires, Argentina 
                        February 29, 1996 
 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, and I say 
that advisedly because I looked down the guest list and it was obviously 
a who's who of Argentina, with the President of the Parliament on my 
right and the Governor of Buenos Aires on my left, separated only by the 
Foreign Minister, I am obviously in fast company.  I am delighted to 
join you in this beautiful city that I would like to have an opportunity 
also to call my beloved Buenos Aires.  And I want to say to the Foreign 
Minister that it's not that I haven't been here in such a long time, 
it's just that I only come when it's February 29th. I'll be back in four 
years. 
 
I come from a small town, in a remote part of the remote state of North 
Dakota. There the plains are at least as broad and much drier than your 
pampas. I must say when I was growing up in that small town of 300, I 
never expected to find myself here in the city of Borges and Gardel, in 
the company of Bill Gates, Robert Duvall and Madonna.  My visit here has 
been a lot less controversial than Madonna's but then of course I have 
not been trying to play Evita. Or her husband either. 
 
I am especially pleased to have a chance to renew my friendship on this 
trip with Foreign Minister Di Tella.  During the last three years we've 
forged a very strong relationship. You know it's essential that we don't 
solve all the problems - ninety-five percent is about as much as we can 
stand, otherwise we'll be out of business. Guido has been a very 
forceful advocate for his country, but as he himself has said, he has 
also been a passionate believer in closer ties with the United States.  
He's very fast on his feet - I think it's probably because he comes from 
a soccer - playing country. The seeds of friendship between our 
countries that we enjoy here today were planted when the people of 
Argentina won their freedom over dictatorship and violence. These seeds 
took  strong root under the leadership and presidency of President Menem 
as he strengthened democracy and courageously pursued economic reform.  
Now they are bearing fruit as Argentina steps up to assume its proper 
global role.  Never before, I believe, have the relationships between 
the United States and Argentina been closer than they are now, perhaps 
never as close. To pursue peace, to preserve peace, the men and women of 
our armed forces have stood together, side by side, in places as distant 
as the Middle East, in places as important as Europe and in places as 
relatively close by as Haiti.  We have been joining forces around the 
world to pursue business opportunities, to stop the proliferation of 
deadly weapons, and to take on international criminals who sought, who 
seek to prey on the innocent citizens around the world. 
 
Everyday brings us closer and closer to the model of a hemisphere that 
provides leadership and provides something that all the world can look 
to as a model for the future.  We're united by shared values and shared 
interests, and we take these shared values and shared interests as a 
foundation for strengthening our partnership and strengthening our 
relations with the rest of the world.  As your national epic "Martin 
Fierro" put it, "Brothers must stand together, that is the first law."  
And so we stand with you around the world, in places of great 
opportunity, great crisis, and, hopefully, great prosperity, and in that 
vein I ask you to raise a glass to Foreign Minister Di Tella, to 
Argentina, to the President and to our futures together as close friends 
and partners. 
 
FOREIGN MINISTER DI TELLA (Translated by USIS):  At the beginning of the 
1980's, we thought that we could start building a great generation. 
After 1889, our relations with the United States had been extremely 
difficult. And we thought that after this period of one hundred years of 
bad relations we should start organizing a great party, a great 
celebration to remember those one hundred years in which, at the 
beginning, we had slowly drifted apart. Then (inaudible) it started 
grandly after the Pan American meeting in Washington.  We had been 
learning a lot and we were becoming experts and being a nuisance to one 
another. 
 
In reality, we were acting under the orbit of British influence and 
resented any kind of movement away from that influence. You could see 
the look of satisfaction on the British ambassador's face.  Slowly, the 
world situation was changing. But an uncomfortable sensation between 
Argentina and the United States remained. There were moments when, 
perhaps as a result of petty interpretations, each party was right, but 
as a whole it was total nonsense. But there was a moment in the 1980's, 
perhaps in the mid-1980's, when it was evident that it was necessary to 
react clearly against that trend. 
 
The cost of this poor relationship was totally out of proportion and 
senseless in view of the spectacular advantages of an alternative. There 
was a series of events that led us to change, to a deep and total 
change. Argentina, since the 1930's until the 1940's, 50's, and 60's, 
and turned inward, becoming protectionist and distant from the centers 
of power, trade and international culture. It was clear we had to do a 
deep 'rearrangement' in our bilateral relations in particular, and with 
the developed world and the First World in particular (sic). 
 
We have made an in-depth analysis of the alternatives and of the 
situation. The result was that, in our thorough research, the United 
States appeared as the world's leading country. After a more detailed 
analysis, it appeared as the Hemisphere's leading country. After that, 
the leading country in finance, trade and investments. It struck us that 
perhaps it would be a good idea for us to patch up. What has taken place 
during these last few years is normal. What is abnormal is what occurred 
before that. 
 
We developed a long, frank and open relationship with the United States. 
Not a relationship that we should be ashamed of or which we have to 
conceal. We clearly boast about it. This return of Argentina to its 
sources is, to a certain extent, the essence of what is taking place 
today. It wasn't most likely to occur in less than seven years. But it 
is what we really managed to achieve. 
 
It was very obvious that we were going to come to an agreement and patch 
up with the British. But it was not clear that we were going to innovate 
and become your friends. Friends, allies, partners, whatever name you 
want to give it, or all those, to a certain extent. You cannot imagine 
how satisfied we and the President were when only a few days ago we met 
at the OECD and formally requested Argentina's incorporation. Our 
relationship with the world is defined as good in general, with 
everybody. With our neighbors, Chile and Brazil, two countries with 
which we had difficulties and with whom we now have a close 
relationship. 
 
Our relationship with the United States determines our position in the 
world, with the countries of the European Union, with Japan, with the 
leading countries of the world, with the 25 countries of the OECD. There 
are 30, 35 defining countries, and all those countries are U.S. allies. 
Some opponents or detractors sometimes ask us what benefit we reap from 
this change in our relationship with you. I believe that it determines 
that we become part of this group of 30 to 40 countries of the world 
that have common values on democracy and human rights; common values on 
market economy and international cooperation. 
 
We have those values in commmon with you. I don't know Jefferson's 
history; I know Sarmiento's history. It seems to me that there are 
similarities in their situations. Furthermore, one thing that has always 
been learned in our schools at all times was that your heroes are the 
heroes that are being taught in our schools. I believe that the future 
of this relationship is a fundamental and essential future to 
Argentines.  
 
We have a 95 percent of agreements and five percent of disagreements. I 
say this because I am tremendously curious about the reason for this 5 
percent. I believe that your visit has been and is a tremendously 
important visit to us. It confirms everything I am saying and is the 
foundation of what I am saying.  
 
It took you almost four years to visit us. You must have taken so long 
because we do not create any problems, but rather provide solutions. 
Finally, I hope that you come soon again, but on a private visit so that 
you do not find any reasons to come on an official visit. You could 
rather go on a working trip to Bosnia, to the Middle East. 
 
To the top of this page