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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2003 > April

President's International Affairs Budget for 2004

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations
Washington, DC
April 30, 2003

(1:30 p.m. EDT)

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for your opening remarks and observations. And thank you also, Senator Leahy, for your comments.

Before beginning my brief oral statement, I would like to offer a full statement for the record, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIRMAN MCCONNELL: Without objection, that will be included in the record.

SECRETARY POWELL: And let me respond to a few of the points that were made in your opening statements, if I may.

With respect to oil revenue and how to use it in Iraq, the interesting concept that has been used in Alaska for so many years is under consideration. We are looking at that. Senator Stevens has educated me over the years as to the merit of this approach to the use of oil -- a portion of the revenues going into a fund which then can be used to compensate the people in a way that they can make a choice as to how the wealth of the state is being used. And I think that's a concept that applies in the case of Iraq as well, at least for consideration.

The ultimate judgment, of course, will be up to the Iraqi people. We've made it clear that this is oil that belongs to them, for them, by them. They will figure out how to use it, and we'll help them to get started down the road to responsible stewardship of this marvelous treasure that the Iraqi people own.

I'm sure in the course of our questioning I can get into specific answers on Iraq, the Middle East, the Middle East peace process, what's happened in the last 24 hours with respect to the appointment of a Palestinian Prime Minister.

Earlier today, as a result of that appointment and his confirmation by the PLC, the Palestinian legislature, we presented the roadmap. Early this morning, Ambassador Kurtzer, our Ambassador to Israel, presented the roadmap to Prime Minister Sharon, and representatives of the Quartet presented the roadmap to Prime Minister, now -- the first Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority -- Mr. Abu Mazen.

And I had an opportunity to call both prime ministers early this morning and to encourage them to do everything in their respective powers to make sure we get a good start down this path to peace. A new opportunity is being created. It's an opportunity that must not be lost, and I was very pleased at the response from both prime ministers, who are anxious to move forward.

Senator, I do share your concerns about Burma and Cambodia as well. I'll be passing through Cambodia briefly in a few weeks time, in a month and a half or so, attending the ASEAN Regional Forum meetings there. I won't be there a very long period of time, but enough to at least talk to my ASEAN colleagues about the situation in the country we will be visiting, and also have some conversation with the leadership there and, once again, express our concerns to them.

Senator Leahy, let me especially thank you for your comments about the Department of State, and let me express my thanks to this committee for the confidence that you have placed in the men and women of the State Department. Just as we have the finest soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, I can tell you we have the finest foreign service officers and civil servants and foreign service nationals working for the interest of the United States of America.

When I became Secretary, I had about five reports on my desk of improvements that people suggested could be made in the State Department from different task forces and panels. I had been on one of those panels, and had made the recommendations of that panel, and now I was the Secretary of State to implement.

So we are always willing to receive helpful, constructive comment as to how to improve our operation. And with the support of this committee and other committees in the Congress, and the Congress, we have done a lot with respect to recruiting, with respect to security, with respect to putting a sense of purpose and morale into our troops, esprit d'corps in all of the members of our State Department family.

I send young State Department officers out to the most difficult places in the world to serve their country, taking their families with them where there may not be any hospital care, there may not be any school for their kids, or where they're separated from their families for a longer period of time than the average soldier gets separated from his family. And they go willingly, they go with a smile on their face, because they're happy to serve the American people.

Now, ever since Thomas Jefferson was sworn in as the first Secretary of State, an uninterrupted line of Secretaries of State, from number one to number 65, have been criticized at one time or another for being -- what? -- diplomats, for trying to find peaceful solutions, to building friendships around the world, to creating alliances. That's what we do. We do it damn well. And I'm not going to apologize to anybody. I'm on the offense for the people who work in my Department doing a great job, and if you come after them, come after them with legitimate criticism. We'll respond to that. We're not above criticism. But if you come after us just to come after us, you're in for a fight, and I'm going to fight back and I'm going to protect my Department and my people.

And I'm also going to defend the policies of the President, which were attacked even more vigorously than any sideways attack on the contributions and the loyalty and the dedication and the courage and the willingness to serve of the men and women of the State Department.

So, hopefully, we can pursue the issue of how the State Department is functioning in a reasonable manner, with constructive comments welcomed and an open debate taking place.

With respect to what's going on within the administration, it's not the first time I have seen discussions within the administration between one department or another. I have been in four straight administrations at a senior level; and thus it has been, and thus it has always been, and thus it should be. There should be tension within the national security team, and, from that tension, arguments are surfaced for the President. And the one who decides, the one who makes the foreign policy decisions for the United States of America, is not the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Defense or the National Security Advisor. It's the President. And it is our job -- my job and Don's job and Condi's job and the Vice President's job and George Tenet's job -- to give the President our best advice. And the President is the one who decides.

Complicated issues come along. How do you go into a place like Iraq, which is a military operation that has to be run by the military, the initial reconstruction period has to be under the control of the military and there has to be unity of command and purpose? We fully appreciate that, support that. I have, I think it's now five ambassadors working for General Franks and for Jay Garner.

But in due course, as a government is set up, the interim authority being the embryonic state of that government, and as it grows into a full representative government for the people of Iraq, slowly but surely that will shift over and USAID and nongovernmental organizations and bodies of the United Nations and other international institutions will play a much more important and significant role during that transition. And so will the State Department, as we put in place our diplomatic presence, as we put in place an embassy, and as we get back to normal sorts of relations.

Now, in this transition, the gears will grind from time to time, and it is my job and Don's job and Condi and the Vice President to put some oil on those gears to make sure it isn't a distraction. And so all of these things are manageable, and what we have is the finest group of young men and women working for the security of this nation and our foreign policy interests, whether they are wearing a suit similar to mine or wearing a suit similar to the one I used to wear. We're all part of one team trying to get the job done for the American people.

Mr. Chairman, if I may, I will briefly summarize my statement because I think you've had a chance to examine it and it's been before the members of the committee for some time now.

I am pleased to appear, though, to testify in support of the Presidentís International Affairs Budget for Fiscal Year 2004. Funding requested for the next fiscal year for the Department, USAID and other foreign affairs agencies is $28.5 billion.

The funding will allow the United States to target security and economic assistance to sustain key countries supporting us in the war on terrorism. It will allow us to launch the Millennium Challenge Account, a new partnership that I think revolutionizes the way in which we help the neediest of nations around the world who are committed to democracy and the free enterprise system. The budget will also allow us to strengthen the U.S. and global commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS and other humanitarian hardships. It will allow us to combat illegal drugs in the Andean Region, as well as bolster democracy in Colombia. And I'll be meeting later this afternoon with President Bush with President Uribe to get a report from President Uribe on his strategy for going after narcotraffickers in Colombia.

It will also allow us to reinforce America's world-class diplomatic force. I have often said to this committee that I am not only foreign policy advisor, but leader and manager of the Department, and I take that charge seriously. We have done a great job in starting to hire people again. In the three years that I have been responsible for the budget and in the 25 months that I've been Secretary of State, over that period we have brought in some close to 1,200 now, a little over 1,100 new hires, over and above attrition. We're finally putting blood back into the Department, new people coming in, tens upon tens of thousands of young Americans are signing up to take the Foreign Service exam. I swore in another class last week. Three weeks ago on a Saturday, 20,000 Americans assembled to take the Foreign Service exam at sites all over the country. They want to be a part of this team. They are proud of what this team is doing and they want to be a part of it. And as result of the generosity and understanding and support of the Congress, we are now able to hire people.

For those who criticize the Department who were in Congress in the 1990s, they ought to take a look at their record as to how they spent part of the 1990s cutting the budget of the Department of State and prohibiting the Department of State from hiring individuals that were needed to keep strength and vitality within the Department.

I hope that you will continue to support me in those efforts, not only to bring first class people into a first class force, but also to bring state-of-the-art information technology to the Department. That was also one of my commitments. I wanted to make sure that every member of the Department of State, anywhere in the world, had access to the Internet. We are 24/7 instantaneous communications, instantaneous decision-making. We can't be just typing out cables on teletypes any longer. Before I leave as Secretary of State, I want the entire Department wired so we are talking to each other electronically and instantaneously through the power of the Internet in a completely secure, classified manner, and every member of the Department hooked up.

I also committed myself and to the President that we would wipe the slate clean and straighten out our overseas building operation. We have done that. And I think we can all be proud of the job that General Williams and his great team have done. Our embassies are coming in on time, under cost and secure. And beyond that, they are attractive and we are meeting the standards that the Congress set for us. I need your continued support and the support of all Members of Congress for embassy security and construction and other matters related to the infrastructure needs of the Department.

The number one priority with respect to our foreign affairs account is to fight and win the global war on terrorism. This budget furthers this goal by providing economic, military and democracy assistance to key foreign partners and allies, including $4.7 billion to countries that have joined us in the war on terrorism.

Of this amount, the President's budget provides $657 million for Afghanistan, $460 million for Jordan, $395 million for Pakistan, $255 million for Turkey, $136 for Indonesia, and $87 million for the Philippines.

In Afghanistan, the funding will be used to fulfill our commitment to rebuild Afghanistan's road network, especially the important ring road that really connects the country. And now that warm weather is there, paving will begin very soon, and I hope we will have most of the work done by the end of the year.

In addition, we are using funding of this kind to establish security throughout the country and putting in place an Afghan police force, border guards, and working with the Pentagon on the creation of an Afghan National Army.

Our assistance will be coordinated with the Afghan Government. We want to make sure the money is seen as going to the central government to empower President Karzai. We are also working with other international donors and with the United Nations.

I want to emphasize our efforts to decrease the threats posed by terrorist states, by terrorist groups, rogue states, other non-state actors, with regards to weapons of mass destruction and related technology. We have to strengthen our partnerships with countries that share our views in dealing with the threat of terrorism and resolving regional conflicts.

The budget also promotes international peace and prosperity by launching the Millennium Challenge Account. This will be an independent government corporation. It will have a board that I will chair with other cabinet officers, supervising the work of the corporation. There is a transition team now in the Department of State starting to put the corporation together and we'll be briefing the Congress regularly as this work proceeds.

As President Bush told African leaders earlier this year, this aid will go to nations, those nations that are committed to economic freedom, democracy, rooting out corruption, making sure their societies are resting on the rule of law, and which have respect for the rights of their people; and they just need help to get going, to get started, to get a leg up, so that they can then attract the kind of investment and participate in the kind of global trading activity needed to generate wealth within their country.

The President's budget request also offers hope and a helping hand to countries facing health catastrophes, poverty and despair. The budget includes more than more than $1 billion to meet the needs of refugees and internally displaced peoples; the budget also provides for more than $1.3 billion to combat the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, the worst tool of mass destruction, weapons of mass destruction on the face of the earth today.

The President's total budget for HIV/AIDS is over $2 billion, which includes the first year's funding for the new emergency plan for HIV/AIDS relief. The budget also includes almost $.5 billion for Colombia. The funding will support Colombian President Uribe's unified campaign against terrorists and the campaign that is also now directed against terrorists and the drug trade that fuels the activities of terrorists. The aim is to secure democracy, extend security and restore economic prosperity to Colombia. Our total Andean counter-drug initiative is $731 million, and that includes restarting the Airbridge Denial program and stepped-up eradication and alternative development efforts, and technical assistance to strengthen Colombia's police and judicial institutions.

You talked about the Middle East and how we have to move forward and bring hope to those people. In our budget we have included $145 million for the Middle East Partnership Initiative. This initiative gives us a framework and funding for working with the Arab world to expand educational and economic opportunities, empower women, and strengthen civil society and the rule of law. The peoples and governments of the Middle East face daunting challenges. Their economies are stagnant and unable to provide the jobs for millions of young people who are entering the workplace each year. Too many of their governments appear closed and unresponsive to the needs of their citizens. And their schools are not equipping students to succeed in today's globalizing world.

In the programs these dollars will fund, we will work with Arab governments, groups and individuals to bridge the jobs gap with economic reform, business investment and private sector development. We will close the freedom gap with projects to strengthen civil society, expand political participation and lift the voices of women. And we will bridge the knowledge gap with better schools and more opportunity for higher education.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I want to address the issue of hunger, famine and food aid. Historically, America has been the largest donor of assistance for victims of famine and food emergencies. Thanks to the help of the Appropriations Committees, Congress provided $1.44 billion in urgently needed PL-480 Title II Food Aid for fiscal year 2003.

Our 2004 food aid request of $1.19 billion will be complemented with a new Famine Fund, one of the funds that you touched on, sir, a famine fund initiative of $200 million. This initiative will provide emergency food, grants or support to meet crisis situations on a case-by-case basis, giving us that extra flexibility to respond where needed. I really need this fund. Too often, I find when faced with a sudden problem, I'm robbing Peter to pay Paul, and someone comes up short. This will give me and the President the needed flexibility to respond to crises.

Mr. Chairman, that ends my opening remarks and I am now pleased to take your questions or respond in depth to any of the particular issues you raised in your opening statements.

Released on April 30, 2003

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