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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > From the Under Secretary > Remarks > 2003 Under Secretary for Political Affairs Remarks

Press Availability with German Foreign Ministry State Secretary Dr. Klaus Scharioth

Marc Grossman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
German Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Berlin, Germany
December 11, 2003

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: First of all, let me thank Dr. Klaus Scharioth and all of the people who have been so hospitable to us this morning. We’ve had a chance to consult on the global force posture review that is undertaken by the United States.

As I reported to Dr. Scharioth and his colleagues, I come here at the direction of the President, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense to consult with our allies because we believe our thinking has evolved to the point where we welcome and we look forward to the views of allies, partners and friends.

As the President said on the 25th of November, we need to change the way we have our forces aligned overseas not to diminish our commitments, but to make sure that we are capable of carrying out those commitments. The Cold War is over, we have new threats, we have new opportunities, NATO is changing, the German armed forces are changing, and so American forces are changing as well.

The new threats we face together are threats of terrorism, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, the spread of high technology weapons, and we need to be able to meet those challenges.

I reported to Dr. Scharioth that we are consulting because no final decisions have been made and I very much look forward to his views. I reported to him that any changes that we would make would be absolutely consistent with our treaty commitments and with our political commitments, and I said that this was really the first round of consultations and that we very much look forward to more in the future.

One of the good things that happened this morning was Dr. Scharioth’s very good idea of including representatives of the Laender and I had a chance to say to them that we are very sensitive, obviously, to the impact of the changes that may take place to them. And also I would say we are very sensitive to the impact on our own forces in Germany. Our people here are, of course, our greatest asset and we want to make sure they have time to prepare and they know what we are doing. So I thank the German side for all of the hospitality and the very great time they spent with us and I think this was a very useful consultation.

FOREIGN MINISTRY STATE SECRETARY DR. KLAUS SCHARIOTH: Now let me say just a word. I am very grateful that my friend Under Secretary Marc Grossman – we have known each other a long time – that he has held these very candid consultations here, including with the Laender. We agreed that there would be further discussions next year. We also decided upon technical groups. On the German side, we stated once again how important the presence and stationing of American troops in Germany is for us, we underscored it and, I believe, are in agreement on it.

QUESTION: Mr. Grossman, are you looking to involve East European countries in the new missile defense program? For example, by basing interceptors in countries like Romania, Bulgaria?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: We didn’t discuss that at all today. We were only discussing…

QUESTION: I understand, but can you… ?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: No, I can’t.

QUESTION: There have been reported figures of 80 per cent of American troops remaining in Germany. Have we gotten to a point of discussing what percentages might stay and might go?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: No, we have not. In fact, one of the things that we did very specifically here today was to try to keep this conversation at the level of ideas and concepts, because we felt that if people can understand what it is that is motivating us -- in the same way that NATO is motivated to change, in the same way that the German armed forces are motivated to change -- that it would be helpful in understanding what changes will come. And we felt that if you go immediately to this number, to this detail, to this town, then everyone jumps immediately to that conversation and we lose the capacity to talk, as we did this morning, at a level of concept and understanding of the new threats and opportunities that we face.


Released on December 16, 2003

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