Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Embassy Hanoi’

Meets with Staff and Families of Embassy Hanoi


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Hanoi, Vietnam
July 11, 2012

Thank you so much, David. Well, that was a long time ago. But who knows where the people out here on this meet and greet line will be in 16 years, David, and I want to thank you for your tireless, dedicated service to our country and all that you’re doing to improve and broaden and deepen our relations with Vietnam and the people of Vietnam.

I remember talking with you last October about how excited you were to be coming to Vietnam, and you put together that video greeting even before you arrived, which reached 20 million Vietnamese viewers. And I know you’re still trying to figure out how you’re going to reach the other 67 million at least. (Laughter.)

But it is exciting to be here on my third visit as Secretary of State. And the reason I keep coming back is because we think that there is an enormous amount of potential in our relationship. And I want to be sure we’re doing everything we can to explore how far we can go. Just yesterday, I think we’ve demonstrated once again we’ve reached a level of engagement that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago. We have two-way trade reaching $22 billion, increasing every year, working on everything from HIV/AIDS to disaster relief to trafficking in persons to recovering the remains of our soldiers. And our military-to-military ties, as evidenced by Secretary Panetta’s very successful visit, are also intensifying. We are working toward a strategic partnership agreement that will give us a framework to deepen and broaden this engagement.
But none of it would be possible without the energy and enthusiasm and the expertise of this team and your colleagues throughout Vietnam. When you launch programs that show farmers how to get more productivity out of their land, you’re helping them not only feed their families but earn more money and continue to rise into the middle class. When you connect Vietnamese companies with American investments, you’re helping to create jobs back home and produce economic growth for both countries. When you talk to students about opportunities to study abroad, you’re helping build bridges between our people, and with very tangible results, because I can remember back in the Clinton Administration, which is when I first met you all those years ago in Tokyo, just 800 Vietnamese were studying in the United States. Today 15,000 are, and we would like to double, triple, quadruple that number in the years ahead.

Now, look, I understand your work is not always easy. There are issues of government control and censorship that you have to work through and over and around every single day. It makes your jobs and your lives more difficult. We raise these issues and concerns in every single meeting that we have with Vietnamese officials and we will continue to raise them, because we happen to believe it’s not only part of American values, it’s universal values. The Declaration of Universal Human Rights is not just for Americans or Westerners. It’s for Asians and Vietnamese and everyone else. So we make the argument that as economic progress continues the opening of political expression and political space, the protection and respect for human rights is absolutely essential.

And I know that where you work has an impact on how you work. Being separated from each other can make it harder to operate as a team, and we’re going to keep working to finalize agreements for a new embassy compound. That is something we’ve been focused on and hopefully someday soon people will be able to work in one state-of-the-art location.

I want to say a special word of thanks to our locally employed staff. Ambassadors come and go, Secretaries come and go, but the locally employed staff here in Vietnam, like those around the world, are really the memory bank and the experience base for everything that we do, and we are very grateful that you’re part of this team.

So again, let me thank you and let me thank you especially for having to organize and implement three separate trips from me, the Secretary of Defense, and a continuous stream of high-level officials. I know it’s always extra work when that occurs, but we are deeply grateful, because we want to show at a high and visible level the importance we place on this relationship. So again, thank you very much, and let me shake some hands. Thank you, David. (Applause.)

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This meet and greet was held yesterday. I like to post these as a thank you note for the folks who were there as well as the ones who were occupied working because of her visit. Every place she goes, the embassy personnel are the ones she depends on to make arrangements and keep things running smoothly. Those of us who love and follow the Secretary of State appreciate their hard work. Thank you, Embassy Hanoi!

Meeting With the Staff and Families of Embassy Hanoi

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Embassy Hanoi
Hanoi, Vietnam
July 21, 2010

AMBASSADOR MICHALAK: Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my great honor and privilege to welcome back to Vietnam the Secretary of State, Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
AMBASSADOR MICHALAK: All I want to do, Madam Secretary, is introduce you to what I think is the best mission in the world, with some of the most creative, intelligent, award-winning officers, LES’s, civil service, foreign service, other agencies — and if I forgot anybody, I’m sorry. But anyway, ladies and gentlemen, welcome Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Well, it is wonderful to see all of you here, and to have this chance to be back in Vietnam and in this beautiful city. Thank you so much — where did the ambassador go? There he is. Thank you so much, Ambassador. And it’s a delight meeting Yoshiko, as well. Thank you all for everything you’ve done in preparation for this trip. It’s an exciting time to be here, on the 15th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties, and to see all of the progress that our two countries are making together.
And I have to echo the ambassador. The extraordinary nature of our relationship and so much of what we have done over the last 15 years would not have been possible without all of you and your predecessors. You have worked tirelessly to overcome the legacy of war, restore trust, and build a strong, vibrant relationship. And our cooperation has grown to encompass more than $15 billion in bilateral annual trade, significant investment in health to fight HIV/AIDS, a 16-fold increase in the number of Vietnamese students studying at colleges and universities in the United States, and so much more. You have really helped to create bonds, not only between our governments, but between businesses and academic institutions and, most importantly, our people.
The ASEAN regional forum, which is meeting here as well, showcases the work you’ve done to cultivate a greater U.S. presence in Vietnam, and demonstrates American commitment to the Pacific region. So thank you for all the extra work that you have put in, in preparation for my visit. I hope, when I finally leave Vietnam, that you will get some time to rest and catch up on what you have had to do.
I really want to recognize Ambassador Michalak and DCM Virginia Palmer. They have been dedicated leaders for this mission over the last few years. And I really congratulate the ambassador for his recent departmental award and your more than 30 years of service to our nation. We wish you well as you move toward a really well-deserved retirement. You will be missed, but your work and legacy will be remembered.
And the ambassador was not the only award winner from Embassy Hanoi last year. Andrew Hera and Jane Bakledge were recognized for their outstanding achievements as well. And congratulations to you. Where are Andrew and Jane? Are they here? They’re at their site. So maybe I will see them and congratulate them. If I miss them, tell them I mentioned it.
And I also want to thank our locally engaged employees, as well. We have had several FSN of the Year award winners from our Vietnamese staff in recent years and everyone knows that you’re doing a tremendous job. The work that you do, your dedication, is really at the heart of the spirit of this relationship. We have nine different U.S. Government agencies working here together, and that cooperation is fundamental to any of the advancements in our foreign policy that we have seen.
Now, of course there is more work to be done. I wish I could wave a magic wand and improve the conditions in which you work. Not only do you need a bigger staff, you need a chancery that matches your workload. And as the ambassador can tell you, I raised that directly with the foreign minister earlier today. We are doing everything we can to get you what you need, and we will continue to request that the Government of Vietnam work with us so we can improve the staffing situation and secure a new embassy site.
In the meantime, I wish to thank not only those of you who work, but your family members as well, including the children that I see down here. Everybody makes sacrifices to serve overseas. And please know how much President Obama and I and the entire Administration value your dedication, your sacrifice, and the long hours you put in.
Now, I have been around long enough — sometimes longer than I care to admit — so I know that there is such a thing known as a wheels up party. And I think it’s only fitting, especially since I am going to be leaving on a Friday, that there be such an occasion here in Hanoi, Ambassador. So I will leave it to your imagination to envision and plan such a wheels up party. But as I continue the rest of my program today and tomorrow, I will have the benefit of seeing your work. And I will remember, as I leave, the extraordinary commitment and dedication that you show to this mission.
And now, I would like to come down and shake your hands and personally thank you. Thanks again.
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