Updated: 05-May-2000 NATO Speeches

At the ACE
Change of
3 May 2000


by SACEUR General Ralston

Secretary General Lord Robertson, Admiral & Mrs. Venturoni, Ministers, Excellencies, Chiefs of Defense, Regional Commanders, Mr. Mayor, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, men and women in uniform:
Your presence is an acknowledgement of Allied Command Europe's vital role in promoting peace, stability, and freedom … I am humbled by your confirmation of me to carry out the duties of the office of Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.

I will do my best to remain worthy of your confidence.

In assuming this command I am well aware that ours is an Alliance of 19 sovereign nations dedicated to a set of common objectives centered on trust.
The basis for that trust is spelled out quite clearly in the preamble of The North Atlantic Treaty where it states that Alliance members agree to "unite their efforts for collective defense and for the preservation of peace and security."

I believe that the key word is "unite" … because it is in unity that we find might.

Unity … of principle.
Unity … of purpose.
Unity … of effort.

NATO's chief strength is not in its military forces but in the unified spirit of a free European people … and it is clear that by its very unity NATO has been a catalyst for peace, stability, freedom, and prosperity.

It is my pledge to each of you that my service to the Alliance will be focused on nurturing and strengthening this spirit of unity … that we all may continue to enjoy and build upon our collective success.

Mr. Secretary General, I consider it a great privilege to be working for you and with you ... as you lead the Alliance into the future.

Admiral Venturoni, I pledge to you my commitment to work with you and the military committee to provide the highest quality military advice to the North Atlantic Council.

General Clark and Gert, thank you for the years of service you've given this Alliance and our Armed Forces … both of you have earned the gratitude and esteem of the Alliance and of free peoples everywhere … and Dede and I wish you every happiness as you embark on the next phase of your lives.

Men and women of Allied Command Europe … we have a tough job ahead.
We must come together with our national military forces in a way that gives us greater combat power than we could hope to have individually.

And if our Alliance needs to employ that combat power - we must be ready.
You have my enduring commitment to our combined combat capability; to the readiness of our forces; and to a higher quality of life for you and your families.
Friends, neighbors, allies, partners … I look forward to working with you … to improve the security environment we all share.

Thank you for making this day memorable for Dede and me.

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