Department Seal Assistant Secretary for European
and Canadian Affairs Marc Grossman
Statement before the House International Relations Committee
October 29, 1997

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(As prepared for delivery)

Mr. Chairman, it is an honor and a pleasure to appear before you and the committee today to discuss the United States, relationship with Europe.

Before I begin, I,d like to say how much I have benefited from the advice and counsel given to me over many years by you and other members of this committee. I believe in the closest possible consultation between the Congress and the Administration and hope you will find me living up to that standard in my present position.

Mr. Chairman, my philosophy is a simple one: I want to promote and protect the interests of the United States of America in Europe.

America,s relationship with Europe is vital to our country. NATO is the most successful alliance in history. Under the leadership of President Clinton and Secretary Albright, NATO has initiated the enlargement of the Alliance, while ensuring that the door remains open to other partners aspiring to membership. Other institutions will help us make Europe undivided, democratic, and prosperous, including the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Council of Europe.

As Secretary Albright stated in her Harvard commencement speech this summer, "In Europe, we are striving to fulfill the vision Marshall proclaimed, but the Cold War prevented -- the vision of a Europe, whole and free, united -- as President Clinton said, OEnot by the force of arms, but by the possibilities of peace.,"

Some people may ask why, in this time of relative peace and security in Europe, we are so focused on the U.S.-European relationship and projects such as the enlargement of NATO. The answer is that we want the peace to last. We want freedom to endure. We must prevent the dangers of Europe,s past from returning. We must manage the dangers we see in today,s Europe. Let us not forget that Europe has already buried more victims of war since the Berlin Wall fell than in all the years of the Cold War.

We must consider the danger of Europe,s future. As Secretary of State Albright said last week before the Senate Appropriations Committee, one thing we do not have at the State Department is a crystal ball. We do not know what new challenges and dangers to our interests may arise in and around Europe. But what we do know is that whatever the future may hold, it will be in our interest to have a vigorous alliance with those European democracies that share our values and our determination to defend them.

U.S. engagement in Europe is based on our own interests, not altruism. U.S. exports to Europe support several million American jobs. More than 4,000 European-owned firms in the United States employ an additional 3 million Americans, while U.S. firms employ about the same number of Europeans. Together, we are involved in a global struggle against crime, terrorism, narcotics trafficking, pollution, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. On these issues and many others, we cannot make progress alone. We need Europe as a partner.

In the conduct of foreign policy, we spend much time dealing with crises or managing disagreements with nations that do not see the world as we do. But we must also not take for granted those upon whom we can rely. The first commandment of foreign policy is much the same as the first commandment in politics: Secure your base. Whether it be the life of the family and neighborhood or the politics of the nation or international stage, when we want to get something done, we start by banding together with those who are closest to us in values and outlook. That,s why Europe and NATO must remain at the core of our policy.

Mr. Chairman, I want to tell you how impressed I am by this committee,s efforts to work more closely with European Parliamentarians, as evidenced by the delegation you hosted last month and the trip many on the committee took to Bucharest for the meeting of the North Atlantic Assembly.

I am grateful for attention you have paid to the New Transatlantic Agenda. We look forward to continuing the work with you and the staff of this committee on initiatives that can further extend the exchange concept in practical ways, both in the legislative area and beyond.

I,d also like to pay tribute to the outstanding work of my predecessors and the many others who participate in guiding and shaping U.S.-European relations.

One of my goals as Assistant Secretary is to ensure that we have "a real conversation" with our European allies and that we communicate our goals and objectives in a clear, persuasive manner. As I have explained to my European counterparts, my objective is to have a U.S.-European dialogue that is friendly, productive, and effective. This does not mean, Mr. Chairman, that we will always agree with all Europeans on every subject, but we want to make sure that we are producing results by our diplomacy.

Mr. Chairman, since my swearing in this August, Secretary Albright and I have had a series of conversations about our foreign policy priorities in Europe. She has charged me with carrying out a policy to Europe which has at its core five major priorities.

In recent weeks I have explained those priorities to our European allies as I have traveled to many European capitals across the continent. With your permission, I would like to present these priorities to you and then, of course, answer any questions you might have about them or any other subject on our relations with Europe.

My first priority as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs is to get NATO enlargement and adaptation right. A larger NATO will make America safer, NATO stronger, and Europe more peaceful and united.

A larger NATO will make us safer by expanding the area in Europe where wars simply do not happen. Today no part of Europe faces any immediate threat of armed attack for perhaps the first time in all of European history. NATO enlargement will help keep it that way.

Enlargement will also make NATO stronger and more cohesive. The three countries we have invited to join the Alliance are committed to NATO and share its principles of shared risk and responsibility. They are asking to assume the obligations of being an ally of the United States. That is an offer we should not refuse.

The enlargement of NATO encourages prospective members to resolve their differences peacefully, and that will reduce the chances of further conflicts in Europe. Some may be concerned that a larger NATO may involve us in border and ethnic disputes such as Bosnia. But the decision to expand the Alliance has already encouraged the resolution of such disputes. The three states we have invited, for example, have resolved every potential problem of this type.

Finally, enlarging NATO will erase the artificial line in Europe drawn by Stalin at the end of World War II. As Secretary Albright has said, why would America choose to be allied with Europe,s old democracies forever but its new democracies never?

NATO enlargement is the culmination of years of hard work -- by the United States, by NATO, and by the new democracies that wish to join the Alliance. All 16 NATO leaders have endorsed it. Many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have urged it. In recent weeks, the process of advice and consent of the Senate has begun. We recognize that the U.S. Constitution grants the Senate a unique role in ratifying treaty obligations. We also recognize that this is a national debate in which this Committee and the House of Representatives also have a very important role to play. We know that the commitment that enlargement entails will be meaningful only if the American people and their representatives accept it.

What does getting NATO enlargement right mean in practice? I would offer four points:

First, we must get NATO enlargement right for the United States and for our current allies. We have spent time -- and properly so -- talking about those countries that we have invited to join NATO and those countries which we did not invite. But the alliance must continue to work for the United States as well as for the current Allies. This means we must speak clearly about the costs of enlargement. The Madrid Declaration lays out our position extremely well. Every leader signed on to the statement in Madrid which said that there would be costs of enlargement, that those costs would be manageable, and that those costs would be met.

NATO is currently engaged in an intensive effort to assess the force requirements and costs of enlargement. In their testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee last week, Secretary Albright and Secretary Cohen emphasized that the first and most important principle guiding this process be that the amount we and our allies pay be a function of concrete military requirements. We need to focus on the level of military capability we and our new allies should have in this changed security environment. As Secretaries Albright and Cohen stated last week, it now appears, based on assessments being conducted by NATO military authorities, that the portion of enlargement costs born by NATO,s own common-funded budgets likely will be less than the Administration estimated in its report of last February.

In addition to getting the cost issue right, we will also need to continue the work the alliance has started to adapt to the future. This means deciding new command structures and choosing the right direction for the Alliance in the 21st century. The key components of this are enlargement, internal adaptation, and new roles and missions.

Second, we also must get NATO enlargement right for those countries whom we have invited to join the alliance: Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic. NATO is not a charity. We expect these countries to make their contribution. As Secretary Albright said in Prague in July, if you want first-class security, you have to make a first-class contribution. At the same time, these countries do not need to recreate the defense structures of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Working with our NATO partners and the invitees, we are already coming up with the right plan for these three invitees to make a real contribution to the alliance. I am working closely with my counterparts at the NSC, the Department of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to make this so.

Third, we must also get NATO enlargement right for those countries we did not invite to join the alliance at this time. One of the accomplishments of the Madrid Declaration was the clear statement that the door to NATO remains open. We cannot let those countries without a current invitation fall into a "gray zone" where they may worry about their security and their connections to an undivided Europe. I have spent a great deal of time consulting with our allies in Europe on U.S. ideas and thinking about how to move forward both in northern Europe and in southern Europe to assure countries such as the Baltic States, Romania, Bulgaria, and Slovenia that their security is tied to the West and that we want them to keep coming toward Western and transatlantic institutions.

We have been clear with everyone that the United States has not decided when there should be a second round of NATO enlargement and is not in the business of pre-designating candidates. We wish to be misunderstood by no one. But since the door to NATO membership remains open, we want to make sure that countries of importance to us stay connected to us.

Fourth, getting NATO enlargement right also means getting NATO,s relationship with Russia and Ukraine right. Pursuing NATO enlargement and a new NATO-Russian relationship are both parts of our overall European strategy. One of the greatest challenges of diplomacy is how a country structures its relations with its former adversaries. And today there are few challenges more important that structuring our relationship with Russia in a manner that serves U.S. national interests and promotes U.S.-Russian cooperation.

We recognize that many Russians leaders still oppose enlargement. The Alliance is nonetheless committed to working with Russia in spite of that disagreement, and Russia also appears committed to working with us. With Russia, NATO has created through the Founding Act a Permanent Joint Council which met for the first time in ministerial session during the UN General Assembly in New York. This meeting approved a work-plan through the end of the year and was an important step forward in setting the course for a new level of NATO-Russia cooperation.

I would also like to note the strong contribution Partnership for Peace has made to the Alliance. Before the Madrid Summit, NATO decided to build on this success by establishing the U.S.-proposed Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), giving partners a greater voice in political consultation and planning.

The Secretary has also charged me, as my next [second] priority, with doing all I can to support the President, the Secretary, and the President,s Special Representative, Ambassador Gelbard, in getting Dayton implemented. When in Europe, I tell my counterparts that Dayton implementation is key to how Americans will view their involvement in Europe. I review the Secretary,s six requirements for Dayton implementation which she laid out in her speech May 22, in New York on the U.S.S. Intrepid. You will recall these six items:

  1. Promoting a stable military situation to minimize prospects for renewed fighting;
  2. Bringing to justice more of the persons who have been indicted for war crimes and other atrocities; and
  3. Improving the ability of local law enforcement authorities to provide public security;
  4. Advancing the development of democratic institutions that govern in accordance with the rule of law;
  5. Securing the safe return of more refugees and displaced persons to their homes and enabling Bosnians to move freely throughout their country;
  6. Enhancing economic reconstruction and inter-entity commerce.
As a part of our efforts to accelerate implementation of the Dayton Agreement, we have increased pressure on the regional guarantors of Dayton -- Croatia and Serbia -- to improve their cooperation on peace implementation. Last month,s Bosnian Municipal elections had a high turnout and no significant incidents of violence, thanks in part to lessons the OSCE learned in running national elections last year. This major step toward normalcy and democracy is encouraging and will help as we turn to the challenges of implementing the results and of preparing to hold Assembly elections in Bosnia,s Serb Republic. Supporting mass media that are unbiased and professional is another key component of Dayton implementation and we have recently made strides in keeping inflammatory nationalist rhetoric off the air.

Dayton implementation is reinforced by our broader efforts to promote regional cooperation, security, and development throughout southeast Europe. Following through with commitments made in Madrid, we will build upon existing engagement. In our efforts to place greater focus on the region, we will work on the basis of three central principles: first, supporting broad integration into the key institutions including NATO, the EU, OSCE, and the Council of Europe; second, securing the peace in Bosnia by pressing ahead with Dayton implementation; and third, by encouraging regional cooperation. This month at the Atlantic Treaty Association in Sofia, I reiterated our desire to serve as willing and active partners to countries of the region working together to further regional stability, intensify cooperation, and solidify reforms.

The U.S. deployment in the UNPREDEP peacekeeping mission in The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has been a major stabilizing force for the region. The Southeast Europe Cooperation Initiative -- the US. Initiative SECI -- is gaining steam and now includes 11 participating states. In its first ministerial meeting in New York last month, the Secretary stated, "Our goal is clear: We want to work with you, the nations of southeastern Europe, in making this a region where democracy flourishes, human rights are respected, prosperity is growing, and good-neighborly relations are so common that they are routine." The SECI self-help program is developing regional solutions to practical problems like transportation and customs, creating new areas of cooperation and stabilizing the region, with no large cash grants. We are also pleased to say our U.S. Information Agency,s Center in Pristina has been doing great outreach in the region.

Third, we are focused on relations between Greece and Turkey and the situation in Cyprus. I look forward to continuing to being part of our effort to make progress in the relations between Greece and Turkey and pushing toward a settlement in Cyprus. I am delighted that Ambassador Richard Holbrooke has agreed to be the President,s special envoy and that Tom Miller is serving as our special coordinator for Cyprus. Along with our ambassadors in Athens, Nicosia, and Ankara, they will be a powerful team to help the Secretary and me make progress in this area. As the Secretary announced in Cyprus, we consider the planned meeting between President Clerides and Mr. Denktash on security issues a significant step. The situation in the Aegean and Cyprus is too dangerous to allow it to be untended. I imagine that members of the committee will have questions on this so I will not go into detail here, but allow me to say that you have our commitment to a full effort in this area.

Fourth, relations with the European Union are of increasing importance and complexity. Often, it is our trade disputes and differences over trade sanctions, for example, those embodied in the LIBERTAD Act (known as the Helms-Burton legislation) or the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA), that catch the headlines. But the European Union is playing a growing role in world affairs, and we share many common interests with EU members. The EU can serve as a powerful force for rapprochement among former antagonists and for democratic and market reforms in prospective members.

The EU is already the largest contributor to central European development and has proposed spending $50 billion in central Europe over the next 10 years. The EU is also a major supporter of the Middle East Peace Process ($433 million in 1995), Russian reform ($1.5 billion in 1995) and third world development (almost $2 billion in 1996). Also significant are various EU free trade initiatives, including the "Barcelona Process" which embraces a dozen Mediterranean nations with an assistance budget of $11 billion through 1999.

A strengthened partnership with the European Union, then, helps to advance a variety of key U.S. foreign policy goals. That is why in December 1995, President Clinton and EU leaders adopted the New Transatlantic Agenda aimed at developing cooperative efforts to promote peace and democracy around the world, to address global challenges such as drug trafficking and environmental degradation, to promote transatlantic and global trade, and to build stronger people-to-people contacts. I want to make a commitment today to advance this ambitious transatlantic agenda and make our partnership produce results. But I will not gloss over differences when we have them, as we do now over our approaches to Iran and Cuba. I will ensure the EU knows where we stand on key foreign policy issues.

Under Secretary Eizenstat is, of course, an energetic and intelligent proponent of U.S. economic and trade interests. I can assure you that advancing our trade goals -- and resolving problems which arise -- will receive high priority in the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs under my management. Through the New Transatlantic Agenda, we have already achieved significant results, working with groups such as the Transatlantic Business Dialogue. But there are rich deposits to mine, and I want to contribute to the NTA,s success.

Fifth, I want to say a word about the management of the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs. This will be a major priority for me. I want to do everything I can to let the tremendous people who work in EUR -- civil service and foreign service, at home and abroad -- do the jobs they are capable of doing. I look forward to making this an explicit part of my conversation with members and staff on this committee. We want a bureau of which the tax payers can be proud.

Mr. Chairman, this short review obviously does not convey our views on all of the important issues we try to manage in the bureau. For example, I have not described our intense and vital relations with Canada, our support for the Northern Ireland peace process, or our energetic efforts to resolve lingering asset issues of WWII, our work, with your support, to provide the right kind of assistance to central and eastern Europe. But what I wish to do for you today is give you as clear a statement as possible of my priorities and my plans for pursuing them. I hope this will be a useful introduction to our conversation. Again, Mr. Chairman, may I thank you for this opportunity to address the Committee and say that I am prepared to answer any questions that you might have.

[End of Document]

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