THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE VICE PRESIDENT IN RADIO ADDRESS TO THE NATION
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good morning. On Thursday, the President's mother passed away. This morning he's in Arkansas for her funeral. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows how painful that is. I got to know Virginia Kelley over the last year and a half. She was a warm, incisive woman with a wonderful sense of humor and an inspiring life story. All of us who knew her will miss her. And I'm sure all Americans join me in expressing our sorrow to the President and his family. And so I'm filling in for him this morning.
President Clinton leaves tonight on Air Force One for a trip to Europe that can help make our nation and our world more secure in every way. And in his absence today, the President's asked me to share his views directly with you about the trip because at this point in history, all of Europe stands at a turning point with deep implications for our own security and prosperity.
Before I talk about the goals of his trip, I want to talk about the commitments that are at the core of our foreign policy. We believe that to be strong at home we must be engaged abroad as well and that average working families benefit when we are. We must work with other nations to get the world's economy growing and open foreign markets to our products and services. That means more jobs, better paying jobs, and more secure jobs for American workers.
We must work with other nations to lock in the end of the Cold War so we won't have to spend more on defense and less on the domestic investments we need. And we must promote the growth of democracy and free markets around the world, because it's the right thing and the wise thing to do. Democracies are less likely to declare war on each other and they make better partners in trade and world affairs.
We reaffirm these commitments at time of astounding hopeful changes. After a half century of standing firm against Soviet expansionism, the Cold War is over and the Soviet Union is gone.
I visited Russia and Eastern Europe this past year, and I've been inspired by the heroic example of the democraticallyelected leaders whom I've met, such as Boris Yeltsin, Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel. And after years of praying for reconciliation between black and white and South Africa and between Arab and Jew in the Middle East, suddenly we've seen handshakes of hope that rivet the world.
In the past year while we've been promoting peace and democracy around the world, we've also put the economic interest of the American people back at the heart of our foreign policy. This past year we passed the North American Free Trade Agreement, and we reached an historic new agreement in the GATT world trade talks that will get the world economy moving again, open foreign markets to our goods and services, and create hundreds of thousands of American jobs.
And so President Clinton prepares for his trip with these commitments very much in mind. His first goal will be to reinvigorate NATO, the greatest military alliance in human history, our bulwark of strength in the Cold War.
Now that the Soviet Union is gone, it is time for NATO to address Europe's new security challenges, such as consolidating democracy's gains among NATO's eastern neighbors and working to prevent ethnic conflict.
At the NATO summit in Brussels, the President will propose that NATO create a Partnership For Peace. This Partnership will invite Europe's former communist states in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the states of the former Soviet Union to take part in military planning, exercises and cooperation. It creates an evolutionary process so that NATO can help spread the blessings of peace to more of Europe.
President Clinton's second goal will be to show our support for those people and leaders in former communist states working to build democracy and lay the building blocks of free societies -- meaning political parties, labor unions, business associations and a free press. In Prague he will meet with leaders of the Czech Republican, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia that are playing such leading roles in Europe's wave of reform. In Minsk, the President will voice our support for the leaders of the democratic reform underway in the nation of Belarus. In Moscow, President Clinton will meet with President Boris Yeltsin and other Russian reformers who are steering their nation toward a democratic, marketbased and peaceful future.
We must not lose faith in the process of reform simply because it moves slowly or has setbacks. Changing an entire society is the work of generations.
President Clinton's third goal will be to help reduce the danger of weapons of mass destruction. When the Soviet Union dissolved, four states were left with its nuclear weapons: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. We're working with the leaders of these states to make sure there's only one nuclear successor state to the Soviet Union. And by visiting Belarus, President Clinton will show our support for that nation which has agreed to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction.
And the President's final goal is to support the democratic progress toward market reforms throughout the former communist states and to work for a greater Europe that is more economically vibrant. Most of Europe is now in deep recession. And if those nations start growing again, we will be able to export more of our products and create more jobs for Americans.
Twice in this century we have sent our sons and daughters to Europe to repel aggression and protect the survival of democracy. Two world wars left us with a lesson that is understood in every VFW and American Legion Hall across our nation. When Europe fights, we suffer; when Europe is free we thrive here in the United States.
Tonight the President travels to Europe to promote America's historic goals of peace and prosperity and democracy -- not only for ourselves, but for all the peoples of the world. And I know I speak for all Americans when I say our hopes and our prayers are with our President as he begins this important journey.
Thank you for listening.