Archive for October, 2011

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Remarks at the 2011 Annual Conference on U.S.-Turkey Relations


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Washington, DC
October 31, 2011

Thank you. Thank you so much, and it is a great pleasure for me to be here this evening. I want to thank Ambassador Rich Armitage for that introduction and for his long service to our country. I also want to thank Tom Kennedy and Jim Holmes and everyone at the American-Turkish Council. I am delighted that our respective ambassadors are here, Ambassador Ricciardone and Ambassador Tan. And I am pleased to welcome Defense Minister Yilmaz. Thank you, sir, for being here.

As has already been reported, Deputy Prime Minister Babacan could not make it because of plane trouble, but I was able to speak with him earlier today, and he extends his warmest greetings to all of you. And I will be seeing him when I’m in Istanbul on Wednesday.

Before I begin, I want to say, on behalf of President Obama and the American people, that our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost loved ones and their homes in the recent earthquake, also with the rescuers and with the people of Turkey, because of the scenes of heart-wrenching suffering, but also exhilaration, bravery, and compassion that lift the spirit: the tiny baby girl who was pulled alive after being trapped for 48 hours, then her mother and her grandmother being saved, and then a 13-year-old boy. These great testaments to the resilience of the human spirit were very touching to all of us.

Now, sadly, the recent earthquake is not the only time we have grieved together. Less than two weeks ago, two dozen Turkish soldiers were killed in a vicious terrorist attack by the PKK. The United States stands with Turkey in the fight against violent extremism. And I was proud to join with Foreign Minister Davutoglu just last month to co-chair the new Global Counterterrorism Forum. That is just one example of the breadth and increasing sophistication of our partnership. I think President Obama set the tone when he addressed the Turkish parliament during his first foreign trip as President and underscored the importance of this relationship to both of our countries.

Now, I have to confess that some Americans, including quite a few on Capitol Hill, have questions about the future of this vital partnership. And they wonder about its durability and they wonder about the future role that Turkey will play in the region. And from what I have read, I know that there are many Turks who also have questions about our partnership. I think it’s the responsibility of the leadership of both of our countries to answer those questions. So I want to emphasize that the United States welcomes Turkey’s growing role in the region and on the world stage. Now, we do not always see eye-to-eye. In fact, no two nations – or two friends or even two members of the same family – ever do. But we are confident that as Turkey assumes the responsibilities that come with increased influence, our partnership will become even more productive in the years ahead.

Tonight, I want to focus on an aspect of our relationship that sometimes receives less attention but is increasingly central to our future together; that is, U.S.-Turkish economic ties and Turkey’s growing economic leadership in the region. As I explained in a speech earlier this month in New York, the Obama Administration is elevating economic statecraft as a pillar of American foreign policy so we can continue to lead in a world where power is often exercised in boardrooms and on trading floors as much as in battle space.

The context for this discussion is the remarkable growth that Turkey has experienced in recent years. The Turkish economy tripled in size over the past decade. More people found jobs, started businesses, bought homes. And when I talk with Turks, from students to entrepreneurs to government officials, I see a confidence and optimism – and it is for a good reason. Turkey can be proud that it has become the 17th largest economy in the world, with ambitions to reach the top 10 in the coming years.

This story – sometimes called the Turkish Miracle – is well known. But its strategic implications are perhaps less well understood. So I would like to make four points: first, that a strong U.S.-Turkey relationship has contributed to Turkish prosperity; that, in turn, Turkey’s economic growth should further strengthen our partnership; that for Turkey to take full advantage of its new opportunities, it will have to consolidate democratic progress at home and peace and stability in its neighborhood; and finally, that Turkey’s economic leadership can be a powerful force for progress across the region.

First, the role of our alliance in supporting Turkey’s prosperity. There is no doubt that the lion’s share of the credit rests with this generation and preceding generations of Turkish people whose talent, ingenuity, and hard work made it possible. Over the last decade, successive Turkish governments made important economic reforms that paid off. They opened the economy to foreign investment, curbed inflation, sought closer economic integration with Europe, and extended development beyond the major cities. These steps were crucial. But I would argue that a strong partnership with the United States also played a role.

This starts with security, which, after all, is the foundation of stability and prosperity. Our work together in NATO has helped keep the shipping lanes of the Mediterranean open and safe. We faced down aggression in the Middle East. We helped bring stability and prosperity to the Balkans and Central Europe, allowing Turkey to establish profitable new trade and investment relationships.

Our expanding cooperation on counterterrorism, our work together on 21st century threats through the new NATO Strategic Concept, and the new missile defense radar that NATO will deploy are reminders of the continuing contributions that the alliance makes to Turkey’s security and that Turkey makes to the security of the alliance.

But it’s not just security. It’s also access to a global economic system that is open, free, transparent, and fair – one that the United States pioneered and continues to protect. Turkey has thrived in this system as a member of the G-20, which the Obama Administration has helped to elevate as the premier forum for international economic cooperation and for greater involvement in the global marketplace as well. In the long run, we believe that Turkey would enjoy even greater prosperity if it one day joins the European Union – a step that the United States has consistently supported.

My second point is that just as our alliance has contributed to Turkey’s prosperity, that prosperity can in turn strengthen our alliance. For too long, our economic relationship has lagged behind our security partnership. But there is reason to hope that is starting to change. In the first eight months of this year alone, our bilateral trade grew by nearly 50 percent. Members of the American-Turkish Council, such as Boeing, Sikorsky, Raytheon, are doing more and more business in Turkey. That has benefited workers and consumers in both countries. But I believe we can do even better. With the help of those of you in this room, we can take this relationship to the next level and build a partnership for prosperity as durable and dynamic as our security alliance.

That is why, under the leadership of President Obama and President Gul, we have intensified our diplomatic engagement, including through our joint Economic Partnership Commission, which brings together experts from across both governments to discuss everything from protecting intellectual property rights to boosting energy trade along the southern corridor, to positioning Istanbul as an international financial center. And I would applaud the recent signing by Prime Minister Erdogan and President Aliyev of Azerbaijan of a very important energy agreement. We are exploring the ways the United States can help Turkey take advantage of advanced bond and capital markets in a way that would have been impossible only five years ago.

The Obama Administration also puts a premium on reaching beyond traditional diplomacy to engage directly with the private sector, civil society, and diaspora communities. We believe that these partnerships can help us leverage new energy, innovation, and resources. President Obama hosted the first Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Washington last year, and we are pleased that Prime Minister Erdogan will be hosting the second summit in Istanbul this December. And in fact, Vice President Biden will be representing our government there. The Global Entrepreneurship Program we launched last year is already working with the Turkish business community to train and support the next generation of entrepreneurs there.

And we are pleased that, just last month, the new U.S.-Turkey Business Council held its first meeting. And on my last visit, in July, I met with the Istanbul chapter of Partners for a New Beginning, a public-private initiative that the United States helped launch to build new ties between businesses, NGOs, and communities. Under its auspices, the Coca-Cola Company, Cisco, the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, and other partners are working with Turkish women entrepreneurs to provide new seed grants, training, and mentoring. Intel is promoting technology entrepreneurship at Turkish universities, and numerous other joint ventures are underway. The more Turkey grows, the more we can trade, build, and prosper together. And for Americans, eager to drive our own economic recovery, that is vitally important.

The third point is that Turkey’s ability to realize its full potential depends upon its resolve to strengthen democracy at home and promote peace and stability in the neighborhood. The ongoing constitutional reform process is a valuable opportunity, and I’ve had very productive conversations with President Gul, Prime Minister Erdogan, Foreign Minister Davutoglu, and others about this process, about its inclusivity and transparency that results in a document that deepens respect for human rights for all Turkish citizens, including the right to speak and worship freely. All minority groups need to have their voices heard and their concerns addressed. I was particularly impressed by Prime Minister Erdogan’s statement during Ramadan that property would be returned to religious minority groups, and we also hope to see other positive steps, such as reopening of the Halki Seminary.

A vibrant economy depends upon the free exchange of ideas, the free flow of information, and the rule of law. Strengthening due process, cracking down on corruption, helps any country grow more rapidly, and also protecting a free and independent media, which plays a role that is very important. And of course, true prosperity must be shared widely. And for me, that means that all of the strong and accomplished women leaders in government, business, and civil society in Turkey should be given the opportunity to fully participate, and, in turn, they, along with their male counterparts, should further empower all women that will be critical for Turkey’s continued development. This requires, as we know from our own experience, unrelenting effort.

Looking beyond Turkey’s borders, there are concerns, and we have worked closely with our Turkish counterparts, because we know that Turkey has a unique opportunity in this time of great historic change, with the so-called Arab Awakening, to demonstrate the power of an inclusive democracy and responsible regional leadership. For example, we have worked closely with Turkey on supporting the central institutions of Iraq and helping to integrate Iraq economically into a larger region. Turkey has been vocal in its condemnation of President Asad’s brutal campaign of violence against its own people, and Syrian opposition groups have met and organized in Turkey. And Turkey has opened its arms and hearts to more than 7,000 Syrians who have found refuge across the border. The Turkish Government understands that the longer President Asad stays in power and oppresses his own people, the more the risk rises that Syria descends into chaos and conflict that threatens not only Syrian but those beyond its borders.

The United States is also encouraged by the signs of progress between Turkey and Greece, including last year’s joint cabinet meeting and the establishment of a strategic cooperation council. But we have been concerned by the deterioration of relations between Turkey and Israel. We believe this relationship has served both countries well over the years, and it is positive that both governments have left the door open to reconciliation, and we continue to urge both countries to look for opportunities to put this important relationship back on track.

We also are focused on Cyprus. All parties agree on the fundamental goal of achieving a lasting settlement on the island that results in a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. The United States supports the UN’s mediation on the Cyprus issue, and we believe that public rhetoric on all sides must be kept to a minimum to give the parties space needed to achieve a solution. And while we recognize the right of the Republic of Cyprus to explore for natural resources in its exclusive economic zone, including with the assistance of U.S. companies, we look forward to both sides benefiting from shared resources in the context of an overall agreement.

Similarly, improving relations between Turkey and Armenia would be a positive step, and we hope that the Turkish parliament will ratify the protocols during its current session and normalize ties with Armenia. These festering conflicts hold back progress and development in the region. Reducing tensions with neighbors, increasing stability, is a recipe for expanded growth and influence. Turkey’s leaders understand this, which is why they have been reaching out over the last years. But it does take bold choices and strong political will, not only on the part of Turkey, but on the part of all of the countries.

Now, the final point I want to make – and it is related – is that we believe Turkey’s economic leadership has the potential to support positive change far beyond Turkey’s own borders or own neighborhood. Turkey sends more than a quarter of its exports to nations in the Middle East and North Africa. Its companies are, therefore, investing heavily across the region. Turkish businesses are helping to rebuild Iraq. They are one of the largest sources of foreign direct investment in Egypt. And Turkish planes have already resumed flights to Libya. Along with political change and reform must come economic reform in this region. To succeed, the Arab political awakening must also be an economic awakening.

President Obama has outlined a comprehensive economic agenda to support the democratic transitions now underway, and Turkey is a valuable partner in this effort. We want to increase access for transitional democracies to U.S., European, and Turkish markets. We want to open the door for those countries that adopt high standards of reform and trade liberalization to construct a free, open, and integrated trade and investment area. Increasing trade would help diversify economies and create opportunities, particularly for young people.

So for Turkey, with its investments across the region, the benefits of greater integration, economically and politically, are substantial, and its capacity to support this integration is likewise substantial. In fact, Turkey’s growing influence is key to helping integrate and modernize the economies of the Middle East and North Africa. This vision is, we believe, what should be the hallmark of our partnership in the years ahead, because if we look at this important relationship through an economic lens, we see even more promise than we have seen in the past.

In fact, we see Turkey’s growing leadership holding great potential benefits – yes, first and foremost for the people of Turkey, but then far beyond your borders. For the United States, this is reason for optimism. As I leave you here and set out again for Turkey, I am confident about the state of our alliance and the alignment of our interests, proud of what we have accomplished together, and hopeful for what we will achieve in the future together.

I thank all of you for your commitment to this relationship. The banner behind me says 30 years, and 30 years has seen a great deal of change, not only inside both of our countries and between us, but in the world that we are now facing. And I am convinced that the work you are doing to bring our two nations closer together, to deal with the challenges and seize the opportunities before us, is absolutely essential, certainly for my country, for our security, for our future, and I believe also for Turkey.

So thank you for welcoming me tonight, and I look forward to continuing to work with you. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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Remarks With Secretary of Commerce John Bryson Before Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Monroe Room
Washington, DC
October 31, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone. How are you? Well, I am thrilled to welcome our new Commerce Secretary here to the State Department. John Bryson comes to this position with a great deal of experience in industry and business that he is now going to be putting to work in the Commerce Department and with the Obama Administration to help create jobs here at home and to expand the export initiative that we are working on. And I’m particularly pleased because I know he will be a great partner with us in the government doing everything we can to try to make sure that we see more jobs more quickly for more Americans.So, John, welcome.

SECRETARY BRYSON: Thank you very much. So this is my sixth full-time day on the job, and I’ve been – feel very honored and pleased to be able to come by and join Secretary Clinton at her invitation over lunch today. The jobs – the jobs will be my most principal focus. We all know that, notwithstanding some modest increase in jobs, this is a crisis. This is something that we have to intensely address in every possible way. So the way I will prioritize my time, and I’ll prioritize ruthlessly, is focusing on a whole series of initiatives that will make a difference with respect to jobs. So that goes to the National Export Initiative of the Commerce Department I was asked to lead on – we’re underway reasonably well there, but we can’t relax for a moment on that; and this foreign direct initiative, Select USA, encouraging U.S. companies, overseas companies to invest and invest in facilities here in the U.S. with a particular accent on manufacturing, a relatively neglected slice of our economy, an incredibly important one; and once again, job compensation in these areas, small and medium-size businesses.

The President has set out these priorities, and I hope to be able, in practical terms, reaching out, building on my experience in the world of dealing with each of these areas of business, meet with people to get views and to do everything we can to take this further. So thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Welcome aboard.

SECRETARY BRYSON: A pleasure. It’s a pleasure.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all. Thanks very much.

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Public Schedule for October 31, 2011

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
October 31, 2011

1:00 p.m.
Secretary Clinton meets with Secretary of Commerce John Bryson, at the Department of State.

2:15 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with the assistant secretaries, at the Department of State.

7:45 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers keynote remarks at the 2011 Annual Conference on U.S.-Turkey Relations, hosted by the American-Turkish Council, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on 22nd Street in Washington, DC.

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Finally, and with good reason, the mainstream press acknowledges the role our Secretary of State played in the liberation of Libya where I hear she is being called the “Liberatress of Libya.”

For decades, feminists have been trying to relegate that {-ess} suffix to history,  and the influence of the French and their forward role in the liberation certainly play a role in this designation since these gender-specific morphemes are even more embedded in French than they are in English.   All of that said,  I will translate her role to “Liberator of Libya,”  and say to our superb Mme. Secretary, “Baby, take a bow!”  (Don’t be distressed that I called her “Baby” – she is “Baby”  – as in “Dirty Dancing.”  And nobody puts Baby in a corner!)

Thanks to Jen for sharing this from WaPo!

Clinton credited with key role in success of NATO airstrikes, Libyan rebels

By , Updated: Sunday, October 30, 7:01 PM

TRIPOLI, Libya — At 5:45 p.m. on March 19, three hours before the official start of the air campaign over Libya, four French Rafale jet fighters streaked across the Mediterranean coastline to attack a column of tanks heading toward the rebel city of Benghazi. The jets quickly obliterated their targets — and in doing so nearly upended the international alliance coming to Benghazi’s rescue.

France’s head start on the air war infuriated Italy’s prime minister, who accused Paris of upstaging NATO. Silvio Berlusconi warned darkly of cutting access to Italian air bases vital to the alliance’s warplanes.

While in Tripoli, Libya, Hillary Clinton spoke to young Libyans, telling them that their future was full of possibilities. (Oct. 18)

While in Tripoli, Libya, Hillary Clinton spoke to young Libyans, telling them that their future was full of possibilities. (Oct. 18)

“It nearly broke up the coalition,” said a European diplomat who had a front-row seat to the events and who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters between allies. Yet the rift was quickly patched, thanks to a frenzied but largely unseen lobbying effort that kept the coalition from unraveling in its opening hours.

“That,” the diplomat said, “was Hillary.”

Read more >>>>

Hillary’s army could not be more edified than to see this article!  Thank you, Washington Post!
Now exactly whom do you want answering that 3 a.m. phone call?

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Mme. Secretary has another busy week ahead with an evening event on Monday.   Then she hits the tarmac again for a few days.  Safe travels, Mme. Secretary.  We love you!

Secretary Clinton To Deliver Remarks at the 2011 Annual Conference on U.S.-Turkey Relations on October 31

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 28, 2011

On October 31, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver remarks at the opening dinner of the 2011 Annual Conference on U.S.-Turkey Relations, hosted by the American-Turkish Council.   Secretary Clinton’s remarks will begin at approximately 7:45 p.m.

The theme of the 30th Annual Conference is “Honoring the Past, Building for the Future.” The conference is the largest annual gathering of public officials and private business people dedicated to the promotion of a strong U.S.-Turkey relationship. The American-Turkish Council expects several hundred Turkish and American government, business and military leaders will attend.

In addition to Secretary Clinton, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, and Minister of National Defense Ismet Yilmaz will deliver remarks.


Secretary Clinton to Travel to London, United Kingdom and Istanbul, Turkey

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 27, 2011

Secretary Clinton will travel to London, United Kingdom, November 1, 2011, to deliver a keynote speech at the London Conference on Cyberspace, hosted by the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague. While in London, Secretary Clinton will also meet with Foreign Secretary Hague to review a range of issues on our shared global agenda.

Secretary Clinton will then travel to Istanbul, Turkey, on November 2, to participate in the Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan: Security and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia. The conference will be co-chaired by Afghanistan and Turkey and will include Afghanistan’s neighbors and other key regional partners. The United States is attending as a supporter and welcomes regional efforts to demonstrate support for Afghan priorities of transition, reconciliation, and economic growth.

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Mme. Secretary, fresh from a trip that included stops in Libya, Afghanistan, and Pakistan,  testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week in her signature elegant, informed, and informative fashion.  That testimony could have received better press coverage from my POV.  What did get everyone’s attention was the Time Magazine (where she is this week’s beautiful cover girl) poll pitting her and Obama against the GOP candidates showing that she would trounce all comers.


Hillary Clinton and the Limits of Power

By Massimo Calabresi | October 27, 2011

… we polled her against Romney and Perry, and found that she does better, by far, than Obama, leading Romney by 17 points and Perry by 26*. Her closest aides strongly dismiss any 2012 ambitions and say 2016 is very unlikely: she’d be 69 the day of the vote that year. We don’t speculate on the source of her popularity.

New York, New York!!!! The Daily News picked up on this a couple of times. Here is the original article.

Hillary Clinton would perform better than Barack Obama for President in 2012 against GOPers: poll 

Secretary of State scores higher against Mitt Romney and Rick Perry in head-to-head matchups, Time Magazine poll finds

BY Aliyah Shahid

Friday, October 28 2011, 4:37 PM

It’s a good thing she’s on his side! President Barack Obama (r.) speaks during a Cabinet Meeting as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton listens in the Cabinet Room of the White House earlier this month.

Pool/Getty Images

It’s a good thing she’s on his side! President Barack Obama (r.) speaks during a Cabinet Meeting as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton listens in the Cabinet Room of the White House earlier this month.

It looks like Democrats are having some buyers’ remorse.

Hillary Clinton performs better than President Obama in head to head match-ups with Republican presidential hopefuls, according to a surprising new poll by Time magazine

The Secretary of State would beat Mitt Romney by 17 percentage points – 55% to the former Massachusetts governor’s 38%. She’d also win against Rick Perry by 26 percentage points – 58% to the

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WaPo also joined the hue and cry with this article.

Posted at 12:27 PM ET, 10/28/2011

Hillary 2012? Better bet than Obama, some say

By Nia-Malika Henderson

Let the Hillary Clinton 2012 chatter begin in earnest. A new poll out by Time magazine showed that the secretary of state would trounce any of the top contenders in the GOP field.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. (Anjum Naveed – AP)

Since leaving the hyper-partisan political world and focusing on international affairs, Clinton has enjoyed across-the-board popularity that was unimaginable just a few years ago.

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So did Politico.

Poll: Hillary Clinton crushes Rick Perry, Mitt Romney

Hillary Clinton, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are pictured. | AP Photos

Hillary Clinton has repeatedly said ‘no’ when asked if she would run for president. | AP Photos Close
By TIM MAK | 10/27/11 9:18 AM EDT

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would trounce Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney in hypothetical head-to-head matchups for the presidency, a new poll shows.

Clinton would beat former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by 17 points, 55 percent-38 percent, according to Time magazine. And the former first lady would blow away Texas Gov. Rick Perry by 26 points, 58 percent-32 percent.

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Newsmax, in its own idiosyncratic way, has a third party seeking to draft our girl.  No one who knows anything about Hillary Clinton could seriously be entertaining this idea.  But it does appear that everybody loves and wants Hillary!

Third Party Group Mulls Hillary as Presidential Candidate


Friday, 28 Oct 2011 02:23 PM

By Jim Meyers

… Americans Elect is a collection of Republicans, Democrats and independents who say they are disgusted by the polarization that has poisoned American politics, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The group is collecting signatures to put itself on the ballot in every state, and claims it has collected 1.6 million signatures in California.

Among the figures frequently mentioned as a possible Americans Elect candidate are New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. The group could reportedly seek to draft Hillary Clinton.

Read more on Newsmax.com: Third Party Group Mulls Hillary as Presidential Candidate
Important: Do You Support Pres. Obama’s Re-Election? Vote Here Now!

Finally, Perez Hilton also gets into the act. He likes the idea a lot!

Hillary Clinton Would Beat Rick Perry and Mitt Romney If She Ran For President!

hillary clinton would beat rick perry and mitt romney

Go Hillary!

… We know you’ve said several times that you won’t run for president, but look at those numbers, Hillary! The American people LOVE you!

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The emphasis is mine.  He is correct.  I love his picture of Hillary and am snatching it!  Mme. Secretary we love you and need you.  PLEASE think about this?  Chelsea,  plead with your mom for us?  We are on our knees!

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I waited all day yesterday to see the State Department post pictures from this event.  They finally are up,  but so far I do not see a video.  If they do post video, I will add it here.   This event was listed on her Thursday schedule.

6:20 p.m.  Secretary Clinton hosts a gala dinner celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms and the completion of the Patrons of Diplomacy endowment campaign, at the Department of State. Secretary Clinton is joined at the event by former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell.

Opening Remarks at the Gala Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms and the Completion of the Patrons of Diplomacy Endowment Campaign


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
October 27, 2011

Thank you and good evening. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you for joining us this evening. Thank you, Mr. Franklin, for being here tonight. I often reference your portrait when we hold events here in this room named for you, and I never thought I’d be able to thank you in person for all you have done. (Laughter.) And let us thank again the incomparable Jesse Norman who has thrilled audiences all over the world. And I especially wish to thank Secretaries Kissinger, Albright, and Powell, and representatives of the families of Secretary Eagleburger and Secretary Christopher.

In just a short time they will all be receiving an award commemorating this occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Diplomatic Rooms, and I want to personally thank each of them for being with us. I also wish to recognize all of our ambassadors from the diplomatic community and Madam Chen, a special visitor from China, who are with us this evening.

And I want especially to thank the chairs of the Patrons of Diplomacy Initiative, the members of the Endowment Fund, and all of you who have contributed to these rooms for joining us and being a true patron of diplomacy. You are making a contribution to the work that we do every single day in this building and particularly here on the Eighth floor. Because of your efforts, we are able to celebrate two milestones: the 50th anniversary of these historic rooms, and the $20 million raised for the Patrons of Diplomacy Endowment. (Applause.)

When I was first honored to be Secretary of State and came here in that capacity to the State Department, I was surprised to learn there was no permanent funding to support the Diplomatic Reception Rooms or the collection that includes such treasures as that desk and the critical preservation and conservation work that is needed in order to fulfill our obligations to the stewardship that we hold as we assume this position. And each year, Marcee Craighill, our curator for the rooms, was forced to make very difficult decisions about which objects would be conserved and which would not.

And we thought that it would be appropriate, as we moved toward the 50th anniversary and commemorated the great work that Clement Conger got us started on 50 years ago, for I to ask my predecessors to assist us in this effort. All of them agreed, including those who could not be with us this evening.

So with Marcee’s guidance and with the extraordinary commitment of Under Secretary Pat Kennedy, Ambassador Capricia Marshall, the Office of Protocol, we launched Patrons of Diplomacy last October. And this special initiative has, for the time, created this endowment that will care for the preservation and maintenance of the 42 diplomatic reception rooms here at the State Department. I am so grateful to each of you. I also hope that at some time, if you weren’t able this evening to see the new Secretary’s Terrace, you will take a look there, because thanks to the generosity of the Endowment Fund and individual donors, we’re now able to make greater use of one of the best outdoor spaces with clearly the most amazing views in Washington.

So now we will turn to a great meal. Chef Jose Andres donated his talents. (Applause.) He and Jason Larkin, our State Department chef, they have put together a historic meal for us, which is described in tonight’s program. After dinner we will have a few additional words from each of our Secretaries. And I just want to conclude where I started, with a great thank you. We are so appreciative for your understanding the importance of these rooms to the work that each of us has been privileged to do on behalf of the country we love. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Closing Remarks at the Gala Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms and the Completion of the Patrons of Diplomacy Endowment Campaign


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
October 27, 2011

Well, this has been quite an evening and we have thanked everyone for the extraordinary contributions that each of you has made. I am deeply grateful. For me, it was such a pleasure to be with my colleagues. When I was on my way in to becoming Secretary of State, Madeleine held a dinner at her home and invited all of the other Secretaries of State, and we sat around her dining room and each proceeded to give me excellent advice. For example, Warren Christopher told me never plan a vacation in August because a crisis seems to always happen in August. (Laughter.) And that has proven to be true, I must say. But it was a welcome into an extraordinary experience that I have only come to both relish and cherish even more as the months have gone forward.

It is, as each – Henry and Madeleine and Colin – have said, the most wonderful honor to represent our country. Wherever we go, whatever we’re doing, the fact that we are there on behalf of the United States of America never ceases to humble me, and also provide an extraordinary sense of responsibility.

So I am grateful to have this time to serve in this position. We all want to be good stewards of our capacity to pass on to those who come after the opportunity to use these rooms and to be part of the history that they represent. So for all of that we are each deeply grateful to you, the Patrons of Diplomacy. And on a personal note, I want to thank one more person for coming, a colleague in the Cabinet of mine, Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who is here. (Applause.)

If you’re dealing with health care as I can attest from experience, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan – they seem easy in comparison. (Laughter.) But we are delighted Kathleen could join us, and, of course, she has the best seat in the house some would argue, sitting next to Michael Douglas, who’s been either referenced or introduced about five times. (Laughter.) But Michael, thank you for being here as well.

So as you leave this evening, we promised that it would be an evening that you would remember, but not be here for breakfast. (Laughter.) And so we have tried to keep to that promise and to give you a chance to be with those like you who support this work and understand its importance. We are all deeply, deeply grateful and we’ll gather again in 10 years for the 60th anniversary, assuming that then Secretary of State invites us all back. But for all of us, and those who could not be here with us thank you, good evening, and god speed. (Applause.)

Here is a related article with great pictures about the planning of the cake for the event.

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