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A New Atlantic Community

A New Atlantic Community. For the 21st Century
Speech in Commemoration of Secretary of State James Byrnes' 1946 Speech of Hope

Secretary of State Warren Christopher
September 6, 1996

Minister-President Teufel, Foreign Minister Kinkel, Mayor Rommel, General Jamerson, Governor James, Congressman Roth, ladies and gentlemen: Before I begin today, let me pay a special tribute to my colleague Klaus Kinkel, who has meant so much to US-German relations,
who has been my close friend and confidant all through my three and a half years as Secretary of State, and who invited me to come here today. I am very much indebted to you, Klaus. Thank you ever so much. I know that you'd all want me to thank them on your behalf, that is, to thank
the United States Air Force for playing music in the tradition of Glen Miller and giving us so much pleasure here today. Let's give them a hand, too. When I finish my remarks today, I'm afraid there'll be a new motto springing up from the audience, along the lines of more music, less talk. That's a motto that I can enthusiastically endorse.

As you know, I've come to commemorate with you the "speech of hope," which my predecessor, Secretary of State James Byrnes, gave here in Stuttgart fifty years ago on this very day, in this very auditorium. I have come to recall the half-century of progress we've achieved together since that speech, and to discuss how we can assure a thriving partnership into the next century. It will come as no surprise that Secretary Byrnes, like many public officials, had some help in preparing his speech. His principal helper was John Kenneth Galbraith, the famous economist, author and US Ambassador to India. When I called Professor Galbraith a few days ago to reminisce about the Byrnes speech, he commented, with a smile in his voice, "I have never listened to a speech with a greater sense of approval."

Of course, all of Europe listened intently, for its future hung in the balance. The United States had joined with our Allies to win the war because we knew America could not be free if Europe was not. But in 1946, we had not yet won the peace. Though the first American care packages began to arrive in August of that year, a German reporter who traveled to Stuttgart with Secretary Byrnes could look from the train window and describe, "countless women with tattered knapsacks . . . a
few men plodding homeward in the dusk" returning to homes where "the children have no shoes, daughter has no coat, the house has neither window glass nor fuel in the cellar. And winter approaches." Meanwhile, to the east, liberation brought not liberty but a new communist tyranny that would divide families, nations and the world.

Secretary Byrnes' address came to be known as the "speech of hope" because it put America firmly on the side of those who believed in a better future for Germany and Europe. The principles he expressed in the speech laid the foundation for our successful post-war partnership. They formed the basis for what became a bipartisan American strategy, symbolized by Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg, who was present at Secretary Byrnes' speech, and you could see him in the newsreel that they showed at the beginning of these proceedings. The principles
shaping our approach to Europe to this very day are the ones laid down by Secretary Byrnes.

First, Byrnes pledged that America would remain a political and military power in Europe. After World War I, we had withdrawn from European affairs and paid a terrible price. "We will not again make that mistake," Byrnes said. "We are staying here."

Second, Byrnes asserted that our support for democracy was the key to lasting peace and recovery in Germany and in Europe. "The American people want to return the government of Germany to the German people," he said. We were confident that a democratic Germany could emerge as our partner.

Finally, Byrnes expressed America's commitment to Germany's political and economic unity. The United States believed that Germany had to be united, democratic and free if Europe as a whole was to achieve stability and integration.

Byrnes' far-sighted approach set the stage for George Marshall, Konrad Adenauer, Jean Monnet and the remarkable generation that led the recovery of Europe and gave us 50 years of peace and prosperity. Thanks to them, we realized the promise of the speech of hope. America
maintained its engagement and its armed forces in Europe. The German people chose freedom and achieved unification. And together, we stayed the course of the Cold War. Today, Checkpoint Charlie is no more than a museum for tourists. And at NATO headquarters, where we once planned to defend Berlin and Stuttgart from Soviet attack, the flags of 43 European nations, including Russia, now fly.

In the last half century, the United States and Germany have built a relationship deeper than even the ties forged by our soldiers and diplomats. We have a cultural and intellectual partnership, so well represented by the Fulbright program, the Goethe Institute, the German Marshall Fund and many, many others. We have an economic partnership, too: America is the top foreign investor in Germany and it's the primary beneficiary of German foreign investment abroad. We also have
an environmental partnership: together, for example, we are fighting toxic waste in eastern Germany, acid rain in Wisconsin and deforestation in Brazil.

Fifty years ago, Secretary Byrnes said America wanted to "help the German people win their way back to an honorable place among the free and peace-loving nations of the world." Our shared achievement has been just plain breath-taking. Now this city and the land around it represent the Europe familiar to all of us: a place where democracy, prosperity and peace have become a matter of course. Germany is the united heart of a increasingly united continent. And that continent now
looks to Germany as a symbol and as a catalyst for the integration that all this continent, all this great group of states, is striving to achieve.

Yet for all the progress that we've made, we still have challenges to meet here in Europe. The end of the Cold War did not bring an end to armed conflict on this continent. And while the division that resulted from the Cold War is fading, it has not been fully overcome. That division is still visible in the economic gulf between east and west. It is perceptible in the pollution that shortens lives from Ukraine to Silesia. Above all, it is tangible in the desire for greater security felt by citizens from the Baltic to the Black Sea, across a region where our century's two great wars as well as the Cold War began.

In just a few years, we will begin a new century. Let me share with you the vision that President Clinton and I have for the United States and Europe in the next century. It is a vision for a New Atlantic Community. This community will build on the institutions our predecessors created,
but, it will transcend the artificial boundaries of Cold War Europe. It will give North America a deeper partnership with a broader, more integrated Europe on this continent and around the world. It carries
forward the principles that Secretary Byrnes set forth fifty years ago today.

As the next century dawns on this New Atlantic Community, our joint efforts will have made us confident that the democratic revolutions of 1989 will endure, confident that wars like the one in Bosnia can be prevented, and confident that every new democracy, large and small, can take its rightful place in a new Europe. In this New Atlantic Community, the United States will be fully engaged, in partnership with our friends and allies -- and in a more effective European Union that is
taking in new members. In this Community, NATO will remain the central pillar of our security engagement. It will be a new NATO, adapted to meet emerging challenges, with the full participation of all current Allies and several new members from the east. NATO's Partnership for
Peace and the OSCE will give us the tools to prevent conflict and assure freedom for all of our citizens. In our vision for this new Atlantic Community, a democratic Russia will be our full partner. Our economies will be increasingly integrated and thriving. Europe and America will be taking joint action against the global threats we can only overcome by working together.

This is the kind of vision that gave our partnership strength and our people hope in the darkest, most dangerous days of the past century. Ten years ago, it was still a dream. Ten years from now, the opportunity may be lost. But I believe we can realize it if we meet four challenges together in the final years of this current century.

The first challenge is to build a secure and integrated Europe, to erase the Cold War's outdated frontiers forever. The new democracies of central Europe and the New Independent States want to be our partners. It is in our interest to help them assume our shared responsibilities. It is in our interest to extend to them the same structure of values and institutions that enabled Western Europe to overcome its own legacy of conflict and division. It is certainly in Germany's interest to work with us and our other Allies in this task, for it can make Germany's eastern border what its western border has long been: a gateway, and not a barrier.

At the January 1994 NATO summit, President Clinton proposed and our Allies embraced a comprehensive strategy for European security. President Clinton believes that another summit is needed to complete the implementation of this comprehensive strategy. I would expect that our
leaders will meet in the spring or early summer of 1997 at an extremely important summit. Their objective should be to agree on NATO's internal reforms, launch enlargement negotiations for NATO, and deepen NATO's partnership with Russia and other European states.

The purpose of NATO reform is to ensure that NATO can meet new challenges in a Europe where no power poses a threat to any other. This year, my colleagues and I agreed on a historic program for building a new NATO. It will permit a more visible and capable European role in the Alliance and add substance to the special European function of the Western European union. It will improve NATO's ability to respond to emergencies and make it easier for our partners in Central Europe and
the New Independent States to join us when we do. And it will preserve the qualities that have made NATO so effective. Our goal, ultimately, is a new NATO in which all of our Allies, including France and Spain, will fully participate.

NATO enlargement, too, is on track and it will happen. Right now, NATO is engaged in an intensive dialogue with interested countries to determine what they must do, and what NATO must do, to prepare for their accession to NATO. Based upon these discussions, at the 1997 summit we
should invite several partners to begin accession negotiations. When the first new members pass through NATO's open door, that door will stay open for all of those who demonstrated that they are willing and able to shoulder the responsibilities of membership. NATO should enter a new phase of intensified dialogue with all those who continue to seek membership after the first candidates are invited to join.

Enlargement will ensure that NATO's benefits do not stop at a line that lost its relevance when the Berlin Wall fell. The steps our partners are taking to prepare for membership -- steps like strengthening democracy and building trust with their neighbors -- these steps have already given central Europe greater stability than it has seen this century. Indeed, no alliance has ever been more effective in preventing conflict than NATO. That is why we created it. That is why our
partners in the Partnership for Peace wish to join it. And that is why NATO is at the heart of our European strategy.

Of course, all of Europe's new democracies, whether they join NATO sooner, later, or not at all, deserve a full opportunity to help shape Europe's future. For this reason, we must expand the scope of NATO's Partnership for Peace.

Thanks to the Partnership for Peace, we can now form the first truly European-wide military coalitions, in which soldiers from Russia and America, Poland and Ukraine, Germany and Lithuania train side by side, ready to deploy at a moment's notice to protect our security. To this end, we should expand the Partnership's mandate beyond its current missions. We should involve our partners in the Partnership for Peace in the planning as well as the execution of NATO's missions. We should give them a stronger voice by forming an Atlantic Partnership Council. In all of these ways, NATO gives us a foundation to build our New Atlantic Community -- one in which all of Europe and North America work together to build lasting security.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is essential to this evolving community. That is evident from its important and courageous missions in Bosnia, Chechnya and the Baltics. The Helsinki principles -- respect for an open society and the rule of law provided the guidepost for all we accomplished in the last decade and they also shape our vision for the future. At the OSCE summit this December, in Lisbon, we should build on these principles to define our security cooperation for the next century. In Lisbon, our leaders should take practical steps, such as launching negotiations to adopt the CFE treaty to Europe's new security landscape.

Closer political cooperation in the European Union, and its coming enlargement, will contribute to the security and prosperity of the New Atlantic Community and strengthen the partnership between Europe and the United States. President Clinton has been a strong supporter of deeper European integration, reaffirming the commitment made, in earlier years, by President John Kennedy

A critical goal of the New Atlantic Community is to achieve Ukraine's integration with Europe. Ukraine has embraced market democracy and given up nuclear weapons. It is seeking strong ties with Russia and central Europe and a close partnership with Western nations and institutions. We want to help Ukraine consolidate its independence by overcoming its severe economic problems, by gaining access to critical markets in the West, and by developing an enhanced partnership with

The vision I have outlined here today for the new Atlantic Community can succeed only if we recognize Russia's vital role in the New Atlantic Community. For most of this century, fear, tyranny and self-isolation kept Russia from the European mainstream. But now, new patterns of trust and cooperation are taking hold. The Russian people are building a new society on a foundation of democratic and free market ideals. Though their struggle is far from complete, as the assault on Chechnya has demonstrated, the Russian people have rejected a return to the past and vindicated our confidence in democracy -- the same kind of confidence that Secretary Byrnes expressed from this platform 50 years ago. Now, an integrated, democratic Russia can participate in the construction of an integrated, democratic Europe.

Today, I want to say this to the Russian people: We welcome you as our full partners in building a new Europe that is free of tyranny, division and war. We want to work with you to bring Russia into the family of market democracies. We want you to have a stake and a role in the institutions of European security and economic cooperation. That is why we seek a fundamentally new relationship between Russia and the new NATO. Such a relationship, I am confident, is possible. It is important to all of us. And we are determined to make it happen.

Russia's cooperation with NATO should be expressed in a formal Charter. This Charter should create standing arrangements for consultation and joint action between Russia and the Alliance.

NATO and Russia need a charter because we share an interest in preventing armed conflict. We are equally threatened by proliferation, nuclear smuggling, and the specter of disasters like Chernobyl. The Charter we seek should give us a permanent mechanism for crisis management so we can respond together immediately as these challenges arise. Our troops should train together for joint operations. The potential of our partnership is already on display in Bosnia, where our
troops are shouldering common burdens and sharing common achievements. Let us, with Russia, take the next logical step.

Our efforts in Bosnia have demonstrated both the possibilities and the urgency of building a New Atlantic Community. In many ways, Bosnia today stands where Europe stood in 1946. Its city parks have been turned into cemeteries. Its children have known terror and hunger and they have seen the destructive power of hatred. Yet it also stands on the threshold of a better future. The war is over and the way forward is clear: It depends on democracy, justice and integration. Last
month, I was in Sarajevo and I saw the tremendous progress made since the Dayton Accord opened the way to peace. Germany's diplomacy, its economic aid, and its military contributions have all been vital in providing that new possibility for Bosnia and for all the people of that tragic country.

In just a week from now, elections will be held to establish the institutions of a unified Bosnian state. Every party in Bosnia, both those in power now and the opposition supports holding these elections on September 14. The Bosnian people clearly want to regain the voice the war denied them. Our task is to help them exercise that right under appropriate conditions. By postponing the municipal elections until a later date, the OSCE has already sent a clear signal that basic
standards must be met. We must have confidence in the power of democratic choice in Bosnia. We must also remember that elections are but a first step. We will have to work together, and work hard over the long term to hold Bosnia's leaders to the commitments they made at Dayton, and to help all the nations of former Yugoslavia as they seek to rejoin Europe.

Our second challenge in building a New Atlantic Community is to promote prosperity among our nations and to extend it globally. The United States and Europe have built the largest economic relationship in the world. It supports over 14 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

We must move toward a free and open Transatlantic Marketplace, as the United States and the EU foreshadowed in their summit meeting last December. As barriers fall and momentum builds, the boundaries of what seems feasible will certainly expand. We are already at a stage when we
can realistically discuss the true integration of the economies of Europe and North America. We should now pursue practical steps toward even more visionary goals, such as reducing regulatory barriers.

Our vision for open trade and investment in the New Atlantic Community must be as broad as our vision of that community itself. In other words, it must extend to central Europe and the New Independent States, including Russia. President Yeltsin, for example, has made it a priority to open Russia to foreign investment and President Clinton is personally committed to encourage that goal. We strongly support Russia's entry into the WTO on appropriate commercial terms. We understand that Europe's new democracies, for all of those new democracies, stability depends upon prosperity -- and on our willingness to open European markets to their products.

That is one reason we strongly support an expansive program for the enlargement of the European Union. The prospect of EU membership will help lock in democratic and market reforms in central and eastern Europe. It sets the stage for a true single European market. We believe that it should move forward swiftly.

Together, we also have a responsibility to ensure that the international economic system and its institutions are fit and ready for the 21st Century. We have already worked together to reform the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. We completed the Uruguay Round and
created the World Trade Organization. At the WTO's first ministerial meeting this December in Singapore, we should push to complete the Uruguay Round's unfinished business and begin to set priorities for the next century. We must also do our part to ensure that the world's poorest nations benefit from open markets. All this is a task for the United States and Europe.

Our New Atlantic Community will only be secure if we also work together to meet the threats that transcend our frontiers -- threats like terrorism, nuclear proliferation, crime, drugs, disease and damage to the environment. The danger posed by these threats is as great as any that we faced during the Cold War. Meeting these threats is our third challenge for the waning years of this century, and I want to discuss today just two elements of it, that is: terrorism and the environment.

We must be united in confronting terrorism wherever it occurs. From the clubs of Berlin to the metros of Paris, from the sidewalks of London to the office towers of New York, lawless predators have turned our citizens into targets of opportunity and our public places into stalking grounds.

President Clinton has pledged to lead an international effort against this common foe of terrorism. The strategy against terrorism that the President unveiled at the UN General Assembly last fall was a clear sign of our determination in this regard, and the 25 specific measures adopted by the G-7 nations and Russia adopted two months ago in Paris are a blueprint for putting terrorists out of business and behind bars. I urge all nations to implement them as soon as possible.

Working together against state sponsors of terrorism is an imperative, not an option. It is a cause to which all nations should rally. Our principled commitment to free trade simply does not oblige us to do business with aggressive tyrannies like Iran and Libya. We must join forces on effective multilateral measures that deny these rogue regimes the resources that they crave and need for their deleterious acts around the world.

Iraq, too, is a sponsor of terror and, as we have seen, a continuing threat to peace in the Middle East. Let me express my deep appreciation to Chancellor Kohl, Foreign Minister Kinkel, and to Germany as a whole for supporting President Clinton's determined response to Saddam Hussein's new aggression.

Environmental threats also respect no borders. They harm our economies and the health of our people. That is why President Clinton and I have acted to place environmental issues in the mainstream of American foreign policy.

Here in Europe, our most urgent environmental challenge is to repair the ravages done by decades of communist misrule. From the abandoned villages around Chernobyl, to the depleted forests in Siberia, to the rusted hulks of factories in central Europe, environmental damage is among the most devastating legacies that Europe's new democracies must overcome.

Around the world, our cooperation can make 1997 the most important year for the global environment since the Rio Summit five years ago. In this next year, we can provide leadership to achieve realistic, legally binding commitments to cut greenhouse gasses and their emissions. We
can agree on sound management of the world's forests, a resource that Germans and Americans have always held so dear.

All the steps that I have suggested today will require our governments to work more closely together. But the strength of our relationships depends ultimately on the ties among our people. And that is the fourth and final challenge I wish to discuss today.

After World War II, Germany and the United States pioneered the people- to-people programs of cultural and academic exchange that have been so important, and continue to be so important, to Americans and Europeans. Because of our partnership in the Cold War period, and the many things we had to do together then, millions of Americans lived and worked in Germany and throughout Europe, and we could take it almost for granted that our people came to know each other well. But now the Cold War is over, and we need to forge a new set of links. We need to build on the bounds being formed each day by our companies, our universities, our parliamentarians and our Non-Governmental Organizations.

In the United States, in November, the United States and the EU will convene a conference to strengthen transatlantic exchanges. I have one particular idea to suggest to that conference. Let us create a Fellowship of Hope: an exchange between the foreign affairs agencies of the United States, the EU and its member states so that our young leaders can work together and learn from each other. Our private sector can also do more. Today, 500,000 Americans work for German firms; and 600,000 Germans work for American firms. Let us encourage all of our companies to follow the example some firms are already setting by expanding their exchange programs for their employees.

I am confident that our peoples and our governments alike can deepen the partnership that we have so long enjoyed. After all, the principles underlying that partnership, the principles that Secretary Byrnes expressed here, are enduring principles. In the west, they withstood the trauma of World War II. In the east, they outlasted the purges and propaganda of communists rule. In the last decade, they inspired us to work together to unify Germany, to end the war in Bosnia, to support
reform in Russia, and to forge the most open global trading system in history.

All this began right here, amidst the rubble and despair of 1946. And if our hopes are high today, it is because of what Germany has achieved with its partners since then. Because of what we have done together, my country can look forward to a future partnership with a new Germany in a
new Europe: a Europe where frontiers unite rather than divide; a Europe with horizons wider than its borders.

We struggled with you to build this new Europe. And now, as my predecessor did 50 years ago, let me say on behalf of America: We are staying here. We can meet the challenges I have outlined. We can build a free, united and prosperous new Atlantic Community. And when we do, people around the world will be inspired by the example that Europe and America have set, just as we have been inspired by the example that Germany has set. Thank you very much.

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U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Germany /Public Affairs/ Information Resource Centers 
Updated: August 2001