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U.S. Department of State
96/05/15 Testimony: Foreign Affairs Budget
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
Text As Prepared May 15, 1996
SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
BEFORE THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, JUSTICE, STATE, AND JUDICIARY
May 15, 1996
Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee: I am here
today to urge your support for the President's request for the State
Department portion of the CJS account. I am grateful for our close
consultations in recent months. And I appreciate your understanding of
our compelling needs in a difficult budgetary climate.
Let me begin with some facts about what is a remarkably austere
budget. Our request to this subcommittee for the State Department and
related agencies and accounts is $5.45 billion, almost $170 million less
than last year's request. It is the bare minimum we need to protect our
nation's interests while balancing the federal budget in six years.
Our entire International Affairs Budget has fallen 51% in real
terms since 1984. At just 1.2% of the federal budget, it represents a
tiny fraction of the amount our nation earns from exports, or of the
amount our nation is forced to spend when foreign crises erupt into war.
This small investment protects the interests of the American people and
allows the United States to lead.
I come from a generation that clearly recognizes the imperative of
American leadership. Those of us who served in World War II understand
that it was our global engagement during and after the war that
safeguarded our freedom and carried us to victory in the Cold War. We
know that without our continued leadership, we cannot hope to protect
future generations of Americans from the perils of a still dangerous
post-Cold War world. This is a central lesson of our century that must
continue to guide us.
Consider what our diplomacy has accomplished in the last three
years -- in many cases with bipartisan support: We ended the fighting
in Bosnia and eliminated the threat it posed to European security. We
are bringing former adversaries together through the Partnership for
Peace, and we are moving ahead with the historic process of NATO
enlargement. We stopped the flight of Haitian refugees to our shores
and gave that nation a chance to build democracy. We achieved the
indefinite and unconditional extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty. We put North Korea's nuclear program on the road to the scrap
heap. We stemmed a destabilizing financial crisis in Mexico. Our
economic diplomacy has fueled an export boom, creating more than one
million high-paying American jobs.
Three weeks ago, the President sent me on a mission to end the
confrontation that drove so many thousands from their homes in Northern
Israel and Southern Lebanon. After difficult negotiations, we succeeded
in producing an understanding that ended the intensive fighting and was
designed to prevent renewed violence and harm to civilians on both sides
of the border. Prime Minister Peres said early on during our mediation
effort that "only the United States can do this." And he was right.
Now we will work to move Arab-Israeli negotiations forward. There
remains a real opportunity to use our leadership to complete a circle of
peace which will necessarily include an agreement between Israel and
Syria. Our goal, as always, is to bring greater security and stability
to all the people of the region.
Some of our achievements came about because we were willing to use
our military strength. But none could have been achieved without our
diplomatic leadership. Indeed, diplomacy is essential and cost-
effective because it gives us options short of force to protect our
interests. But we cannot sustain our diplomacy on the cheap -- unless
we want to shortchange the American people.
Mr. Chairman, one of the most dramatic changes I have seen over
the years is the erasure of the line between domestic and foreign
policy. The Clinton Administration recognizes that our strength at home
is inseparable from our strength abroad.
The convergence of our foreign and domestic interests is clear in
our response to the set of transnational security challenges we face,
including proliferation, terrorism, international crime and narcotics
and damage to the environment. These threats respect no border, ocean -
- or committee jurisdiction. They must be fought at home and abroad,
and at every level of government. As the flagship institution of
American foreign policy, the State Department is responsible for leading
and coordinating all U.S. government efforts to counter these threats
beyond our shores. We cannot fulfill that responsibility without
We must continue working to stop the spread of weapons of mass
destruction, the gravest potential threat to the United States and our
allies. We must remember that we could not have achieved the
unconditional and indefinite extension of the NPT without the
involvement of our embassies in every region of the world, in countries
large and small. That is one reason why the United States still needs
to maintain a diplomatic presence in virtually every country -- what I
call the principle of universality.
This year one of our priorities is to conclude a treaty to ban
nuclear testing -- a goal first set by President Kennedy 35 years ago.
Our efforts received a significant boost from last month's meeting of
industrialized nations in Moscow, where we forged a commitment with
Russia and our G-7 partners to negotiate a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
At the Moscow Summit, we also adopted a concrete program to
prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear materials and a process of
cooperation to dispose of plutonium no longer needed for defense
purposes. Russia agreed to join a treaty that bans the dumping of
nuclear waste in the ocean and to improve safety at aging nuclear
reactors. Already U.S. assistance is helping convert Russian plutonium
production reactors and procure highly enriched uranium from Kazakhstan.
These urgent threats make our continued engagement with Russia and its
neighbors critical despite the difficult transitions they are
undergoing. We simply cannot afford the luxury of walking away from
these relationships where our security is at stake.
We can combat another proliferation threat by ratifying the
Chemical Weapons Convention and working with allies and friends to bring
it into force -- an effort that will require sustained work at posts
from Tokyo to New Delhi and London to Pretoria.
Our regional nonproliferation efforts are also vital. Since this
Administration concluded the U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework in October 1994,
North Korea's dangerous nuclear program has been frozen in its tracks.
The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) that we
helped establish to implement the Framework has made significant
progress. Our KEDO contribution -- funded elsewhere in our
International Affairs request -- is a small investment compared to the
billions of dollars in contributions South Korea and Japan are making,
or the immeasurable costs of a conflict in Korea.
Last week we reached an understanding with China that it will no
longer provide assistance to unsafeguarded nuclear programs -- another
significant step forward in our non-proliferation efforts. The threat
of sanctions authorized by Congress played an important role in this
achievement -- and helped us to reach the result that sanctions would
have been designed to bring about. China also agreed on the importance
of our continuing consultations on export control policies and related
The Clinton Administration has also led the international effort
to prevent pariah states like Iraq, Iran and Libya from acquiring
weapons of mass destruction. Our funding for the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) supports its vital work of detection and monitoring
in North Korea, Iraq, and around the world.
We have also put new emphasis on the fight against international
criminals, terrorists and drug traffickers. The President's appointment
of General Barry McCaffrey to spearhead our counternarcotics campaign
will intensify our efforts at home and abroad. The State Department is
advancing the President's ambitious strategy to put international
criminals out of business.
Last week at the U.S.-Mexico Binational Commission Meeting, we
took important steps to strengthen our united stand with Mexico against
criminals and drug traffickers. We will help Mexico implement its new
law making money laundering a crime. We will strengthen our Border
Crime Task Force. We will move to control the precursor chemicals used
to produce illegal drugs. And we have made great progress toward fully
implementing commitments for the extradition of criminal suspects,
including the recent extradition of three Mexicans to the United States.
Our Administration is also working to protect the security and
well-being of American citizens by putting environmental issues where
they belong: in the mainstream of American diplomacy. Last month, I
set out our global environmental priorities in a speech at Stanford
University. As I said then, the environment has a profound impact on
our national interests in two ways: first, environmental threats
transcend borders and oceans to affect directly the health, prosperity
and jobs of American citizens. Second, addressing natural resource
issues is critical to achieving political and economic stability, and to
pursuing our strategic goals around the world.
Working with other government agencies, the State Department is
fully integrating environmental goals into our diplomacy and making
greater use of environmental initiatives to help promote peace in the
Middle East and democracy in Central Europe. We are using our Common
Agenda with Japan and new partnerships with Brazil, India, the European
Union other nations to leverage our resources. We are helping American
companies expand their already commanding share of a $400 billion market
for environmental technology. The funds that we are requesting
elsewhere for sustainable development also help protect the ozone layer,
combat climate change, and preserve the biodiversity which holds
important benefits for American agriculture and business.
Mr. Chairman, let me now turn to the two main elements of our
request to this committee -- our funding for international organizations
and peacekeeping and our funding for State Department Operations.
This year, we are requesting just under $1.5 billion for
international organizations and peacekeeping. Among other things, this
part of the budget funds our obligations to organizations such as NATO,
the OECD, the IAEA, the WTO and the OAS. For up to half a century, we
have worked effectively on a bipartisan basis through these institutions
to advance American interests in key regions and around the world.
Today, a hallmark of this Administration's foreign policy is to ensure
that each adapts to the challenges of a new era.
This part of the budget also begins to fund a plan to pay off over
5 years our arrears to the United Nations as that institution undertakes
necessary reforms. In this respect, the request poses another basic
question: Will we abandon the institutions we created after World War
II, leaving ourselves with little option but to face future crises
The United States has led in the UN for 50 years because it is a
valuable tool for advancing our interests and our values. The UN helped
us mobilize the Gulf War coalition, deploy a force to support democracy
in Haiti and impose sanctions against rogue states. Its many programs
and agencies care for millions of refugees, inoculate children and fight
epidemics like AIDS and Ebola. The UN Special Commission has helped
expose Iraq's development of weapons of mass destruction. The IAEA
helps us prevent countries like North Korea and Iraq from developing
nuclear weapons. The Security Council has reinforced our condemnation
of terrorism in the Middle East and of Cuba's shootdown of civilian
aircraft. The UN War Crimes Tribunals are overcoming great obstacles to
hold perpetrators of atrocities accountable for their actions.
UN peacekeepers are helping us resolve the costly civil war in
Angola and implement peace in Eastern Slavonia without having to put our
own troops at risk. Peacekeeping can be a cost-effective investment.
In Mozambique, for example, the United States spent over $700 million
helping victims of war and hunger in the ten years prior to 1992. After
a successful UN peacekeeping mission, our humanitarian aid is down to
$18 million this year and U.S. companies have already signed contracts
worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
At the same time, I think we agree that the UN has serious
problems and that it is seriously in need of reform. Last fall, I
proposed a concrete agenda to the General Assembly. I called for
consolidating related agencies, eliminating or downsizing low priority
activities, expanding the inspector general concept and more efficient
management practices. The President and I have made it clear that
tangible progress is essential to sustain the support of the Congress
and the American people for the UN.
The UN has taken important steps in the right direction. An
office with the functions of an inspector general is up and running.
Just this week I met with Joe Connor, the former CEO of Price Waterhouse
and now the Under Secretary-General for Management, who is shaking up
the UN's management culture. In December, the UN approved the first
genuinely no-growth budget in its history, and it has since announced
plans to eliminate 1,000 staff positions. The Security Council has
established rigorous guidelines for the approval of new peacekeeping
missions. Finally, the General Assembly has established High-Level
Working Groups to recommend management, structural, and financing
Much more needs to be done. But Mr. Chairman, our efforts to
advance the cause of reform depend on our continued leadership at the
UN. We cannot reform and retreat at the same time.
Those who cavalierly say that we can walk away from our half-
century commitment to the UN are wrong. I want to tell you candidly
that these large arrears are doing great harm to our national interests
across the board.
Nor can we continue to pass our financial obligations to future
generations by building up massive arrears, especially for peacekeeping.
When we do, we are not just shortchanging a bureaucracy in New York. We
are shortchanging our closest allies and friends, nations like Britain
and Canada, who contribute the bulk of troops to peacekeeping missions
and who have had to wait months and even years to be fully reimbursed by
the UN. These nations place their soldiers in dangerous situations,
often at our request, on behalf of goals we support -- and they put up
75% of the cost. When we do not pay our promised share it diminishes
our influence and our reputation as a nation that keeps its word.
Mr. Chairman, I also look forward to working with you on our
request for State Department Operations. I carefully reviewed Under
Secretary Moose's testimony to this committee, and I endorse his
evaluation of the dire needs of our Department -- as well as his
expression of appreciation to this committee.
Our embassies and consulates provide platforms not only for our
operations but for other federal agencies around the world. Without
them, we could not track down terrorists or counterfeiters wherever they
hide. We could not follow the situation of religious minorities or
human rights issues or Americans held captive anywhere in the world. We
could not help build new opportunities for American business. We could
not prevent narcotics shipments or environmental crises. The additional
cuts to our budget that some in Congress propose are not a strategy for
streamlining the Department, but for sidelining it as a force on behalf
of American citizens and American leadership around the world.
Secretary Perry likes to say that in protecting our vital
interests, our first recourse is diplomacy. I certainly agree. But if
our diplomacy is to be an effective first line of defense, we must
revitalize our platforms and our presence. Just as our armed forces can
be smaller in the 1990s because they are also smarter, the State
Department can only function with fewer people and fewer posts if those
people are better trained and those posts are better equipped.
In this era of diminishing resources, we have worked to strengthen
our diplomacy by making it more efficient and effective. Restructuring
has made the State Department leaner across the board. Administrative
and middle management positions have been reduced significantly -- by as
much as 25 percent for Deputy Assistant Secretary slots. We are
implementing new management tools, including the Overseas Staffing Model
and our new interagency cost-sharing system, to rationalize our overseas
staffing -- and I want to thank you,
Mr. Chairman, for your contribution in helping us make these
important changes. We have also cut over 2,000 full time employees
since 1993, and the total cuts will rise to 2,500 by the end of FY '97.
In order to increase efficiency and lower personnel costs, we have also
downsized bureaus and Embassies. At the same time, we have decreased
our administrative expenses by $139 million.
I will tell you quite candidly that these reductions have been
painful, for those leaving the Service and for those of us remaining,
who have lost the benefit of their enormous talent and expertise. But
we have no choice given the budgetary constraints we all face.
As you know, Vice President Gore has led a major effort to
reinvent government. For our part, a Strategic Management team helped
me come up last May with some 46 recommendations to maintain or increase
our services to the American people at a lower cost. For example, we
are improving our services to the American people by setting up an 800
number for consular crises and making travel information available by
fax-on-demand and through the Internet.
We have built inter-agency teams here and abroad to pursue
priorities such as expanding trade and combating crime more
aggressively. We are eliminating redundancy by combining administrative
services like warehousing and printing with other foreign affairs
agencies. We are opening a child-care center and broadening our job-
sharing programs to make sure that we retain the most skilled and
diverse workforce possible.
For these reforms to produce better diplomacy and faster services,
however, we must upgrade our obsolete information systems, and aging
physical plants as well as address critical staffing gaps. Four years
of flat budgets have taken their toll. The increase of $37 million that
we are requesting for State Department programs will allow a critical
investment in information systems to go forward. Better computer
technology is essential for a more efficient State Department and more
effective diplomacy in the information age.
As you know, USIA and ACDA have also undertaken rigorous
management reviews and extensive streamlining. You have heard from them
directly during this budget process. But let me say a few words about
the USIA and ACDA budgets this subcommittee covers.
Over the past two years, USIA proposed and implemented a
downsizing plan nothing less than draconian -- 1,200 positions, almost
one-fourth of its staff, were eliminated in two years. In addition,
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has cut some 900 positions as part of
its consolidation process. USIA continues to play an important role in
fostering American ideals and international understanding -- missions
that remain crucial to our foreign policy and are increasingly important
to American citizens in an interdependent world. USIA also contributes
to the National Endowment for Democracy, which continues to play a
critical role in supporting democracy and free elections around the
ACDA's mission to negotiate and monitor compliance with arms
control agreements remains crucial to safeguarding our national
security. ACDA has played a pivotal role in securing the indefinite
extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, completing the
Chemical Weapons Convention and conducting the negotiations underway on
a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. As the result of recent downsizing,
ACDA is now smaller, with a more tightly-focused mission and a budget of
just $48 million to carry out its essential work.
Mr. Chairman, the shutdowns and budget uncertainty of the last
year have, in my judgment, damaged our international reputation for
reliability and credibility. Leaders and ordinary citizens in many
parts of the world couldn't quite believe that the most powerful nation
in the world was closing for a few days of furlough. The shutdown was
especially unsettling in the wake of our decision to close a number of
posts that had served American interests for decades.
As we face increasing global economic competition and an array of
threats that respect no borders, we cannot advance American interests by
lowering the American flag. Indeed, our global presence should be
expanding, not contracting. More Americans than ever are looking to us
to facilitate their global plans, from investment incentives to vacation
Because of the budgetary pressures we face, I proposed to close 19
embassies and consulates during 1995 and 1996. And I must say that I
was not happy about being forced to do so. I know that Senator Hollings
and others of you have also heard from constituents opposing our planned
closures of consulates in places like Hermosillo and Matamoros, Mexico.
As you know, Congress asked us to keep six of these posts open -- and
they will remain open. After some 30 closings since 1993, I strongly
doubt that wholesale additional closings are in the interest of the
world's greatest power. But with further cuts, I may have no
Last year I warned that our diplomatic readiness was
deteriorating. I must report that many of our posts remain under
critical strain. Our Beijing Embassy, for example, has scarcely been
repaired since 1979. There is simply not room for other agencies to
expand their offices. Dust and sewer gas come in through the cracks and
waft along the halls. In Tajikistan, our staff have operated out of a
hotel for four years, through a civil war and its aftermath.
In Sarajevo, our officers were sleeping beside their desks until
just last month. Menaced by nearby snipers and falling shells, they
also struggled with a budget so limited that one officer bought his own
computer and we had to ask visiting CODELS to bring in copier paper.
Until very recently the post's communications system was a Rube Goldberg
model -- I was amazed to see a satellite dish rigged on the roof of the
Embassy using a barbecue grill when I visited in February.
Mr. Chairman, the dedicated men and women of our armed forces have
the state-of-the-art communications technology they deserve. The men
and women of our foreign service deserve no less, especially in a
country like Bosnia where some 30 American civilians have given their
lives in the cause of peace.
Our people put themselves on the line for their country every day
-- people like John Frese, one of our Diplomatic Security agents in
Monrovia, Liberia who made repeated dashes through gunfire to rescue
over 100 American citizens during the evacuation last month. Our
consular and passport officers in Chicago, Washington and Amsterdam
worked late on Christmas Eve, while the government was shut down, to
help return two American children who had been taken from their mother
and put on a plane to the Middle East. And five members of our Consular
Flyaway Team gave up holidays with their families to assist and comfort
the relatives of those killed in the American Airlines crash in Colombia
last December -- also during the furlough.
The courage, ingenuity and dedication of our employees have
allowed us to do more with less through the last four years of flat
budgets and increasing demands. But there comes a time, Mr. Chairman,
when less really is just less. We have reached that time. We cannot
safeguard our security and promote American interests without the full
$5.45 billion in funding we request.
As I have said before, those who say they are for a strong America
have a responsibility to help keep America strong. That means keeping
our institutions effective and our presence around the world robust.
Anything less would shortchange our citizens -- the travelers and
workers, students and business people who look to us to protect their
security, promote their well-being and provide assistance wherever the
American flag flies.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Once again, I appreciate very much your
cooperation and look forward to consulting with you and with the
Committee in the days and weeks ahead.
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