U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Home Issues & Press Travel & Business Countries Youth & Education Careers About State Video
 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2001 > March

Testimony at Budget Hearing before House International Relations Committee

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
March 7, 2001

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Lantos, for your very, very cogent and to-the-point opening statements. It's a great pleasure to be before the committee for the first time, and I look forward to working with all the Members. And I will be back here as often as you invite me, or as much as you can stand me -- whichever may be the case.

I am very pleased to be here to present the President's budget submission for the 150 Function, the State Department and our aid programs. It represents a 5 percent increase. It is, I think, a down payment on further increases that I will be fighting for, and the President has given me every indication he will try to do more for the Department in the years ahead.

And so this is just a beginning, if I may say, Mr. Lantos, of a process that will be continuing. And as I learn more about the Department, as I discover more problems that have to be dealt with, as I discover new challenges that have to be funded, you can be sure that I will be up here after I have been through the halls of the Office of Management and Budget and the Oval Office and gotten my final instructions. I will be up here to fight for what I believe we need.

And I can assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that in that fight I will always try to do it in a bipartisan fashion. I know so many of you from the old days. We've had some interesting days when I was National Security Advisor or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and I assure you that I will always approach this in a bipartisan way, representing my President and representing our Administration, but always trying to bring this bipartisan spirit to what we're doing because, at the end of the day, we're doing it for the American people. President Bush was elected to represent the foreign policy interests of the American people, and in order to do that in the best way, bipartisanship, I think, is key so that the American people can see we understand the kinds of challenges we face.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to put my whole statement in the record at this point. The statement is a little different from previous years in that it reflects the needs of the Department as opposed to a tour-de-raison of the world. So you'll see inside my statement talking about the needs for security funding, infrastructure funding. You'll see some of the ideas I have to improve the manner in which we build embassies, for example. The Foreign Buildings Office, which many of you are quite familiar with -- I am going to move it out of its current location. I'm going to put a retired Army Corps of Engineers general in charge of it who knows how to build things. He built the Dulles Greenway. He built Fort Drum, New York. His name is Major General Chuck Williams. And we're putting people in places in the Department who know how to get the job done and not just ignore the studies of the past, but take studies like the Kaden study to help us figure out where we ought to be going in the future.

So I'll be coming to you with a number of organizational ideas in the future. I will be doing things to improve the morale and the training and the recruitment of our Foreign Service Officers, of our Civil Servants, and of our Foreign Service Nationals as well. They are in the forefront of diplomacy. Presidents have summit meetings, Secretaries travel around the world, but it's those men and women, day in and day out, within the State Department family that get the foreign policy job done for the American people.

Mr. Chairman, in the interests of time, I would like to take just a few minutes to respond to your comments and Mr. Lantos' comments, and then leave the bulk of our limited time today for questions.

Mr. Chairman, my heart soars, as does yours, when I reflect upon the world that is in front of us, with all of its opportunities and with all the many risks and challenges that you mentioned. And the reason my heart soars is that when I look at all of these challenges -- and now they are all coming to my office all day long, whether it's Iraq, whether it's the Middle East, whether it's weapons of mass destruction, whether it's trafficking in women, whether it's human rights, I'm seeing them all now. And what gives me the strength every day to deal with them, and what gives me hope and what allows my heart to soar, is the certain knowledge that we have the system that works. It is our system of freedom. It is our system of democracy. It is our system of the free enterprise nature of our economic model. It is our system that believes in the individual rights of men and women.

If we hold true to the principles of our system, and if we keep advocating that system around the world, we are going to continue to reshape this world in a way that will benefit all mankind. And so I think this is a time of great opportunity for us. There is no other ideology out there that can truly compete with what we can offer to the world. We know it works. It defeated the Soviet Union. It's changing China. And we're not unmindful of the challenges that are still there, but it is changing China.

And what we have to do is build on our successes and not be afraid of the challenges and the risks, and to use the power we have -- our political power, our diplomatic power, our military power, but especially the power of our ideas -- to remain engaged in the world. And that is exactly what President Bush and his national security team intend to do.

How? First, as you heard from President Bush, start with our own hemisphere. It was no accident that his first meetings were with Prime Minister Chretien of Canada and then President Fox of Mexico. He visited him. And we understand the importance that Mexico is to us now. Our second largest trading partner after Canada. And we have begun work with President Fox to start a new way of approaching these problems. I will be chairing committees that were formed at that summit to deal with the problems of immigration. NAFTA is the great engine that can help break down barriers and give opportunities to Mexico to provide jobs in Mexico for Mexicans in Mexico and deal with the immigration problem that we all face.

So I am hopeful of what we can do in our own hemisphere. It is for that reason we are going to be committed to an Andean plan, going beyond Plan Colombia, in order to make sure that we deal with the drug supply problem in that part of the world. It's the same reason that we're looking forward to the Summit of the Americas next month in Quebec, where all of the democratic-loving nations of this hemisphere will come together to talk about democracy and education. Those are the two principal agenda items. And then we'll talk about trade and then we'll talk about a Free Trade Agreement of the Americas so that we will be linked from the top of our hemisphere to the bottom, with trade barriers going down for the purpose of all the nations of this hemisphere getting access to information of technology and the wealth-creating potential of the free enterprise/free trade system.

We are not unmindful that we have our great alliances outside of this hemisphere, and that is why on my first trip outside to the east, I not only went to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, but I came back through Brussels to meet with my NATO colleagues and to meet with my new EU partners. It's a different NATO. It's a different Europe than the Europe I knew so well as a soldier during the Cold War, when I stood aside the Fulda Gap waiting for that Soviet Guards Army to come at me. It's gone. The Fulda Gap is now a tourist trap. They're selling post cards and giving out trinkets. The post that I occupied for all those years is now a college for German university students.

That's wonderful, but we have to remember that that Alliance is still vital. And the message I gave to them: the United States will remain engaged in this Alliance and in the European Union as well. And we can build it up. It is not going away. It is not going to fall apart. They may want to look at things like the European Security and Defense Identity. We've made the case that has to be an essential part of our NATO efforts as well, and we think they understand that. The NATO is still alive and well, and that's why nine more countries are standing there waiting to see if they can join this great Alliance.

Why do they want to join? Is it to become a partner with their other European friends? Yes. But the real reason, they want to join so that they can have that connection with the bastion of freedom, and that's here in North America, represented by the United States and Canada. That's why they want to be part of NATO, and that's why we have to keep letting this Alliance grow. And I think we have the potential to cause NATO to be that in the future what it was in the past -- the bulwark of security, peace and freedom on the Eurasian land mass, and something that Russia will have to deal with. Russia's future is to their west, because they need the technology, the information, the economic know-how that comes from the West. That's what brought Gorbachev to the west those years ago that we well so remember, I think. And it will happen again.

When I look to Asia, I have made the point, and the President has made the point repeatedly, that we are going to begin our engagement in Asia by looking at our great alliances there -- our alliance with Japan, our alliance with South Korea. And from that strong base -- and the South Korean President, as you know, is in town today; I just had a breakfast with him and then meetings with him with the President, and then lunch with him -- and from that base of strength with our allies, we can engage countries like China, trying to find the way. We have no illusions; it's a Communist nation. It holds in disregard the rights of its citizens. But at the same time, it's a nation that is not the nation it was 20 years ago. So we have to have some hope and encouragement for such a nation.

The same thing with Vietnam, and the same thing especially with the country that was the subject of such discussion earlier today with President Kim Dae Jung, and that country is North Korea.

Let me use the Korean Peninsula as just an example of the way in which I think the world will move with all of the dangers and challenges, and in due course know you will want to talk about Iraq and the Middle East. But because I'm so fresh from this meeting with Kim Dae Jung, let me use it as a little example.

There we have on this Peninsula two countries, one country thriving, led by a freely-elected man, 75 years old, who spent 16 years in jail, and spent most of his adult life struggling to make sure that his country remained embedded in the top soil of freedom. And he has been successful: they are thriving, they are our great partner, their people enjoy a level of wealth that they could never have dreamed of just a few years ago.

And there to the north is this despotic, broken regime that has only one source of power, a single man with no representational activities on the part of anybody else in the country. Their economy is failing. They cannot keep going. So desperately, desperately they open the door, just a little bit, to see what's out there that can help them, and now they are starting to realize that they have got to figure out a way to get access to the food that will come in from the West, how to get access to the information unless they want to die. They don't want to die as a regime; he wants to hold onto power. And we understand that; we have no illusions about that regime.

But as the two presidents spoke today, they realized that working together from a position of strength, we can start to see what is possible with that regime, and make sure that they understand that from this position of strength, and when our concerns are satisfied about what they are doing with weapons of mass destruction, what they are doing with large armies on the border of their neighbor, what they are doing to suppress their people, what they are doing against human rights -- all of that is unacceptable to the kind of nation that is going to be successful in the future -- when they come to that realization, if they come to that realization, good things are waiting for them.

And it's just a comparison between what is and what can be. What we see the power of democracy and the free enterprise system can do, and what it has not done in North Korea, and hopefully the day will come, and when they are ready to engage, if they are serious, and they want to let us in so we can monitor and verify what they are doing, then we will find a time and place of our choosing to engage as well.

So I find these times very, very troubling and dangerous. The Middle East is a cauldron at the moment. We have challenges with Iraq, and I can talk about that in a few moments. But at the same time, I am full of optimism and hope. I am full of optimism and hope because of the nature of the system we have, because of the power of our ideas, and because I have seen what the power of these ideas did to win the Cold War. And it is the ideology that works, and I think the rest of the world will slowly, but surely, will realize that if they want to be successful in the 21st century, they had better figure out how to get part of this ideology, how to use it.

And what we have to do is not be afraid but remain strong; not be arrogant, but be humble; be willing to engage those who wish to be engaged with, and be willing to press back and to fight and deter those who will not be a part of this new world.

And so with all the problems, and I assure you, Mr. Chairman, I see them just as you do, I remaining optimistic and we are going to continue winning.


Released on March 7, 2001

  Back to top

U.S. Department of State
USA.govU.S. Department of StateUpdates  |   Frequent Questions  |   Contact Us  |   Email this Page  |   Subject Index  |   Search
The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
About state.gov  |   Privacy Notice  |   FOIA  |   Copyright Information  |   Other U.S. Government Information

Published by the U.S. Department of State Website at http://www.state.gov maintained by the Bureau of Public Affairs.