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Announcement Naming USS Nitze
Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, Pentagon Briefing Room, Wednesday, January 10, 2001

Mr. Secretary [of the Navy, Richard Danzig], thank you very much. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen. Yesterday, I stood at this podium and said it was my last appearance as Secretary of Defense in this room. And now by popular demand, I've decided to come back. But I learned that this ceremony was going to take place, and I couldn't wait to come here to spend just a few moments with all of you to say what an honor it is for me to be here with Paul [Nitze]. He happens, I think, still to have a very strong connection to Maine. And he used to spend a good deal of his summer in Maine and help me out, as I recall, at a few fundraisers up there as well. So we have a strong Maine connection.

But I wanted to be here to say there's another Maine connection. This ship, which is the DDG-94, will be built in Maine. And any ship that is Bath-built, we always say, is best-built. I say that in front of Senator [Trent] Lott from time to time as well.

But the 94, as Richard allowed me to point out the significance of a 94, it's the DDG-94, but it also will be -- Ambassador/Secretary Nitze will be 94 next week. And so this has a particular relevance to our honored guest.

In awarding him the medal of freedom, President Reagan called Paul Nitze -- he said he was "the wisest of counselors, exemplifying the powers of mind, commitment and character needed to fulfill America's world responsibilities." And I think to put his name on this ship which will sail the world I think will be a great symbol to the world itself, to the men and women who are serving us in the Navy, in the military. And it will remind people, I think, of Paul's passionate commitment to avoid war by being prepared to fight it.

He has always had that, certainly, as a key principle to keep us out of conflict, to always be prepared. And he was one of those architects -- and I say an architect because during World War II he was a surveyor of the campaigns of the Second World War. And then he became an architect of the containment policy during the Cold War, which helped us to win that long twilight struggle. And he's been a pathfinder for peace and a nuclear negotiator who sought a route to a safer world through -- I guess you took a "walk in the woods" -- which you were also responsible for.

So from Roosevelt to Reagan and beyond, he's been, I think, perhaps the preeminent voice in American security policy -- five decades of being a wise counselor. So we honor him today. For the last half century, our nation really has had the honor of having Paul as one of our wisemen.

So, Paul, on behalf of a very grateful nation, let me say what an honor it is for me to be here to see this ship being named for you. Your legacy will sail around the world and remind us exactly the contribution you have made to our country.