by the US Secretary of State, Madeleine K.Albright
at the North Atlantic Council
Mr. Secretary-general, Mr. President d'Honneur, fellow ministers, distinguished
colleagues: I am very pleased to speak with you here this morning on behalf
of the United States.
In eleven months our leaders will gather in Washington to celebrate
NATO's 50th anniversary and to welcome the first new democracies from
central Europe as full members of our alliance. President Clinton is looking
forward to hosting your heads-of-state and government for this historic
Two weeks ago in Berlin, the President laid out his thinking on a new
Euro-Atlantic partnership for the 21st century. He reminded us that the
destinies of America and Europe are joined today and in the future no
less than they were fifty years ago when NATO was founded. His speech
was an invitation to start a conversation on how we can shape that partnership
The history of the 20th century has taught us that we need a partnership
in which you can count on us and we can count on you. Our goals are enduring
-- providing security, ensuring prosperity and defending democracy. The
institutions that unite us in pursuit of these goals are well-established.
They include not only NATO but the OSCE and the relationship between the
United States and the European Union.
The immediate challenges we face together are ambitious. They include
completing the integration of Europe, including Russia and Ukraine; deepening
the ties between the U.S. and Europe; and establishing more effective
mechanisms for America and Europe to pursue common interests in Europe
In 1999 our leaders will come together to address these challenges at
the NATO summit, at two U.S.-EU summits as well as the OSCE summit. This
is the right time to start a discussion about how we can use these events
to set the purpose and direction of our partnership for the 21st century.
The need for that kind of discussion was brought home to me when our
Senate was debating NATO enlargement last month.
As you know, an overwhelming majority of Senators from both political
parties voted to ratify the admission of new members. This means that
almost a decade after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the American people
have decided not just to preserve our commitment to the security of Europe,
but to extend it.
At the same time, the debate that preceded this decision raised many
serious questions. Americans are as interested in the future mission of
NATO as they are about its makeup. They are happy to see the flags of
capable new allies flying outside our headquarters. But they also want
to see Americans and Europeans act together to solve the most pressing
real-world threats to our security.
For the last several years, our leaders have been meeting to adapt our
alliance to these challenges and to a transformed Europe. They set the
specific goals at summits in 1991, 1994 and 1997. And we have largely
met those goals. We have streamlined NATO's command structure and increased
European responsibilities; we have undertaken new missions; we have created
the Partnership for Peace and the EAPC; we have redefined NATO's relations
with Russia and Ukraine; and later today we will meet at 19 with the first
of our future allies from central Europe.
This adapted NATO is not just an instrument through which Americans
help Europeans secure Europe. Its purpose is to defend our common interest
in transatlantic security.
As President Clinton said in Berlin: "Yesterday's NATO guarded our borders
against direct military invasion. Tomorrow's NATO must continue to defend
enlarged borders and defend against threats to our security from beyond
them -- the spread of weapons of mass destruction, ethnic violence and
regional conflict." It must do so in part because the very nature of potential
Article V threats is changing. But it must also do so because non-Article
V threats can become Article V threats if they are not addressed early.
I know that some people have suggested that our intent is to alter the
original intent of the Washington Treaty, or to create some kind of new
"global NATO." If I could use a polite American diplomatic term, that
is just hogwash. All we are talking about is continuing the adaptation
of NATO to the realities of the post-Cold War era.
Let me say that I am a conservative and a hawk when it comes to protecting
the sanctity of the Washington treaty. I have made it clear to the U.S.
Senate and I want to be clear today that NATO's primary mission must remain
collective defense against aggression. This is the heart of our commitment
under the Washington Treaty.
But we have also always had the option to use NATO's strength beyond
its borders to protect our security interests. NATO's founders recognized
this. In fact, 50 years ago my predecessor Dean Acheson pointed out that
while the Washington Treaty involves commitments to collective defense,
it also allows us to come together to meet common threats that might emanate
from beyond the North Atlantic area.
That was a wise approach in 1949, and it should help frame our discussions
If joint military action is ever needed to protect vital alliance interests,
NATO should be our institution of choice. After all, in such a crisis,
it would be foolish not to use the unified command that we have already
built; it would be strange not to rely on the habits of cooperation that
we have already developed after 50 years in this alliance.
As in the past, we should approach these issues in a manner that is
evolutionary, not revolutionary. We should move forward step by step,
and recognize that we have already taken many important steps - from the
1991 revision in NATO's strategic concept, which emphasized outreach to
new democracies, to our decision to deploy NATO forces to defend common
interests in Bosnia. Such missions have become part of what NATO is all
about, as is our commitment to undertake them with our Partners whenever
What does all this mean for our work together over the next eleven months?
First, at the Washington summit I hope our nations will issue a political
declaration on NATO's rationale and purpose for the 21st century that
reflects these considerations.
Second, we should agree on a revised strategic concept that reflects
that rationale and which gives our military planners the guidance they
need to address the full spectrum of military contingencies NATO forces
are likely to face in the future.
Third, we must ensure that NATO can do what it says. We must expand
our efforts to deal with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
to address the interoperability challenges across the Atlantic and to
promote greater defense industrial cooperation in an age of shrinking
defense budgets. Those efforts should culminate in a set of concrete initiatives
to which our heads-of-state can agree next April.
The point is to ensure our alliance has the means to accomplish its
task: to protect security, and thus to allow freedom and prosperity to
flourish. But of course, for this formula to work, our nations must have
the resolve to act together as well.
The recent nuclear tests in India are an example of a problem that requires
our joint action and resolve. Only by acting together to impose a price
on this kind of behavior can we deter others from pursuing the nuclear
option. Only by rewarding restraint with tangible support can we encourage
nations with the capacity to go nuclear to join the overwhelming majority
that have chosen not to do so.
Last week's North Atlantic Council statement on South Asia was a good
beginning. We must keep working together to show we understand the gravity
of this threat and to shore up the global non-proliferation regime we
In all these ways, I believe we can continue constructing an inclusive,
outward looking Euro-Atlantic community that builds stability in Europe
and that projects a sense of security more broadly around the globe. But
we also have unfinished business closer to home that demands our attention.
We still have work to do to strengthen and modernize the partnership
between Europe and North America. This is partly an economic challenge
-- it requires moving step by step toward truly free and open trade across
the Atlantic. But it is a political challenge as well. It requires an
effort to work through our occasional differences and to find effective
ways to advance together the countless interests we share.
Another vital goal remains to complete the integration of Europe. By
this I do not just mean fitting the right countries into the right bureaucratic
arrangements under the right acronyms. I am talking about the need to
build in all of Europe what we have built together in western Europe in
the last 50 years.
I mean extending as far as possible a community that upholds and enforces
common standards of human rights, a community where borders are open to
travel and trade, a community where nations cooperate to make war unthinkable.
I mean defining Europe in the broadest and most inclusive way and overcoming
the barriers that old conflicts and past prejudice have etched in our
minds and on our maps. The addition of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic
to our alliance is a huge step in the right direction. We are erasing
the last vestiges of the Iron Curtain, and we have established once and
for all that this alliance and the community it represents will be open
to those nations able to help advance its goals.
This means that the first new members of NATO shall not be the last.
If a European country is important to our security, and if it demonstrates
that it is ready -- politically, economically, and militarily -- to contribute
to our security, it will be in our interest to welcome it through the
open door. This is central to the logic of a larger NATO.
It also means that our approach to future rounds should be as pragmatic
as our approach to the first. Our timetable should be driven not by political
calculations, but by the performance of aspiring countries. There should
be no artificial deadlines or premature promises. A country's place on
the European map should neither rule it in nor rule it out.
Nor can we assume that our parliaments will always agree. The U.S. Senate
rejected an arbitrary pause in the process of enlargement, but I can tell
you there is zero chance it will ratify the admission of future candidates
unless they meet the high standards we set for Hungary, Poland and the
Czech Republic. Success in future rounds depends on protecting NATO's
reputation -- as an alliance of nations willing and able to share military
and financial burdens.
It will also require working actively with candidate nations to help
them reach the finish line, instead of moving the line closer and waiting
for them to cross. We have to operationalize the commitment we made in
Madrid - to give aspiring countries not promises but a process that helps
them understand what they must do to make membership a real possibility.
NATO is not the only organization that has begun to welcome new members.
We fully support the expansion of the European Union. We welcome the start
of EU accession talks with the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary,
Poland, and Slovenia, and trust this process will eventually embrace others
in central Europe as well as Turkey. We hope the EU will move forward
as rapidly as possible, for NATO cannot guarantee military security where
there is not economic security as well.
America has supported every European effort toward deeper economic integration
from the Coal and Steel Community to the single market. We support the
creation of a single currency today. We do so with confidence that the
EU will expand on the basis of openness of outlook and access. And we
are hopeful that as the EU lowers its barriers to the more prosperous
countries in central Europe, it does not oblige these countries to raise
barriers to other nations.
As our institutions expand eastward, we must avoid creating a new dividing
line, a new gray zone, a new strategic and economic limbo further to the
That is why NATO's Partnership for Peace has never been more vital.
It is why when NATO takes action, we should strive whenever possible
to do so with our partners in the EAPC -- and why the United States will
welcome each of the EAPC's member countries to the Washington summit.
The new NATO has to be better equipped to cooperate with partners, an
interest that must be reflected in our new strategic concept.
It is why we have long recognized our interest in a stable and free
Ukraine. We can be proud of our success in cementing cooperation between
NATO and Ukraine. But we must also keep in mind that Ukraine is facing
a major economic challenge in the weeks ahead. The greatest threat to
its security comes from within; it can only be overcome through reform
To complete our vision, we have also been working hard to encourage
Russia's integration with Europe as a nation that upholds and defends
the rules of the international system. We want Russia to be part of this
new partnership. Taking the next steps in NATO's transformation will further
underscore that NATO has an enduring purpose, that its mission is directed
not at or against Russia, but one we can foresee pursuing with Russia.
A new strategic concept will demonstrate that our military planning is
no longer preoccupied with a real or imagined Russian threat.
Of course, it us up to Russia to choose how it will engage with NATO
and the world. But Russia is far more likely to make the right choices
about its future if we continue to make clear that its future lies with
Each of us and Russia as well should be working to give the OSCE a more
substantial role, to make it more operational than conversational, to
give it the money and the mandate not only to establish democratic standards,
but to defend them on the ground. NATO cannot do this. The EU cannot do
this. None of us can do it alone. But the OSCE has already begun to play
this role in Bosnia, Albania, Croatia, Armenia and the Baltics. As President
Clinton proposed in Berlin, we should strive to expand its presence in
the Caucasus and Central Asia.
No less a challenge will be to preserve and strengthen military stability
and openness in Europe by updating the CFE treaty. Progress in the CFE
adaptation negotiations should be a priority for the Alliance during the
remainder of the year. Having made an excellent start last year, the Alliance
now needs to follow through in filling out our negotiating proposal in
Vienna. We must do so in a way that reinforces NATO's role in European
security. I recently wrote Foreign Minister Primakov to reaffirm our readiness
to move forward with Russia to reach a CFE agreement that takes fully
into account the interests of all parties involved. This will require
creative thinking and tough decisions from all of us.
In short, we have a big agenda ahead of us. But it is not too ambitious
for a partnership that defended freedom in Europe for half a century,
a partnership that is unifying this continent, a partnership that against
the expectations of so many people has survived and even flourished through
a time of breathtaking change.
The Washington summit is just 11 months away. The new millennium will
follow just eight months later.
My goals for the NATO summit are simple. We will be meeting not just
to celebrate past achievements, or to have just another ceremony welcoming
the admission of new allies. This is not just going to be the last successful
summit of the 20th century. It is going to be the summit that defines
the NATO of the 21st century.
Our task is to make clear what our alliance will do and what our partnership
will mean in a Europe truly whole and free, and in a world that looks
to us for principled and purposeful leadership for peace for prosperity
and for freedom.
In this spirit, I look forward to our discussion today and to our work
together in the months and years to come.
Luxembourg, May 28, 1998