I hope that many or even all of you will have a chance to visit the Office of the Secretary of Defense of the United States, hopefully, while I am still in office. And if you do, you will see behind the desk of the secretary a portrait of George C. Marshall. Every day when I come in the office, I see that portrait. He serves as a constant inspiration for me as the secretary of defense. He was the third secretary of defense of the U.S., and he serves as my role model.
Marshall was not only a great military leader, but he was a visionary. His vision, I think, was best expressed by the vision of one of the first American revolutionaries, Thomas Payne, back in 1776 at the beginning of the American Revolution. He said, "We have it in our power to begin our world over again."
George Marshall wanted to do just that after the Second World War, after the destruction of the Second World War. He devoted his considerable energies to beginning our world over again. He wanted to begin a Europe free from the fear of war, a Europe free of the hatred and suspicions which had dominated it during the previous century a Europe united by the bonds of mutual security, stability and democracy. He succeeded in achieving those goals and rescued Europe through the mechanism of what came to be called the Marshall Plan.
But the vision was only partially realized, because the Soviet Union and its allies elected not to join the Marshall Plan and Cold War settled on the Continent. The Cold War was characterized by mutual suspicion and distrust. The Cold War was characterized by an arms race. The Cold War was characterized by a defense policy by both the U.S. and the Soviet Union that came to be called mutual assured destruction. Mutual assured destruction was like two angry men standing a few meters apart with guns pointed at each others head. The guns were loaded, the fingers were on the triggers, and they were shouting insults at each other. Now the Cold War is over. These two men have removed their guns, put them back in their holsters and have started removing the bullets from the guns.
Today we have a chance and an opportunity to fully realize the vision of George Marshall, the vision of a united Europe that is both stable and secure. And that is why we have invited all of you to the Marshall Center to help us realize that vision. That is why we launched the Partnership for Peace Program in January 1994.
This partnership has become a dynamic force to building trust and cooperation among our nations, and you, the graduates of the Marshall Center, will be the instrument to realize that Partnership for Peace vision. As an indication of how far we have come since the partnership was launched just last January, today the flags of your countries and the flags of NATO countries now fly over the Partnership Coordination Cell in Mons, Belgium.
Forty flags -- those 40 flags represent 40 countries which have started making the joint commitment and doing the hard work in creating the more secure Europe. We saw a lot of this commitment and hard work during the three exercises conducted last year, organized by the Partnership for Peace. These exercises focused on security challenges we must face together in the future -- challenges of peacekeeping, search and rescue missions, and humanitarian assistance. Twenty nations and 15 ships and almost 2,000 soldiers trained and worked together during those exercises. These exercises were a tremendous success, and they established the blueprint for future military cooperation. And they were just the beginning. We are going to test that blueprint this coming year as we conduct over 10 live partnership exercises and more than 100 kinds of other activities.
In August, the United States will host one of these exercises, one which we call Cooperative Nugget. We are expecting at least 12 partner and four NATO countries to participate. We are truly excited about this exercise, since it will be the first time that units of the partner nations will conduct peacekeeping training in the United States. And dozens more national exercises are being held in the spirit of partnership and peace.
In fact, tomorrow I will be leaving for the Ukraine to participate in a bilateral exercise between the United States and the Ukraine, an exercise where our troops and Ukrainian troops will prove their skills in a small-unit peacekeeping mission. And this exercise is truly in the spirit of the Partnership for Peace. Four other countries besides the two of us in the exercise are sending senior military observers. These types of exercises are essential to helping our forces learn how to work together. And the only way to succeed in facing today's security threats is to face them together.
But our partnership is more than just cooperating on exercises. We know that many of your leaders, many of you, are looking at new ways of organizing and managing your military establishments. In some areas, the Western military have experiences we want to share with you, as you are the future of your armed forces. One of these areas, for example, involves defense budgets. Applying the right amount of money to military forces in the right area at the right time is one of the most important and one of the most difficult issues any government faces. The NATO countries face this difficult question every year.
We face it with our defense establishments when they submit a budget from our elected officials. These elected officials then determine the actual size of the budget and where the money will be spent. In the United States we say we propose. Our government proposes, but the Congress disposes. They make the final decision. It is a critically important process, because it allows the elected representatives of our people to make the decisions about where to spend the money. We are the experts. We tell them where we think it ought to be spent. They -- the representatives of the people -- make the final judgment.
Each year I go before six different committees of the U.S. Congress to defend my budget. I am in the middle of that process right now. Just yesterday, before I came here, I spent two hours with members of my Congress defending part of the budget submission which I made to them two months earlier. It is a difficult job. They ask tough questions. When I finish -- when I finally have the budget -- I have a budget that the representatives of the American people support. It is not my budget, it's the budget of the American people.
This kind of budget process is also useful because it is completely public and completely open. All of these budgets, or nearly all of them, occurred in public hearings. Some of them were televised. They are available to not only our public, but to the publics of the world. And this openness is reassuring. It is reassuring to our country's citizens, because they have an opportunity to see that their money is being well spent and their security is being well looked after. But it is also reassuring to neighboring countries, because they can better assess their own security situation when they know the size and capability of the security forces in the region.
One of the factors which drove the arms race during the Cold War was misestimates of the capabilities and the intentions of other countries, because of the secrecy in which each of our arms budgets were shrouded. And in the face of that secrecy, each military leader faced what we call the worst-case estimate. They image the worst about what the other country is doing and then try to build up their forces to accommodate the worst. And then that is reflected back to the other country, and you see an arms race going on. Your countries are facing a lot of tough decisions in the size of the budget, to the size of the military forces. These tough decisions are not only going to affect your security, but the security of all of Europe.
That is one of the reasons we have set up the Marshall Center. This center is the place where military officials from countries all over Europe can explore today's security issues. It is also a place where the NATO countries can discuss our military organizations and methods with members of the Partnership for Peace.
Many of your countries are looking at restructuring of your organizations and the management of your armed forces. You may be interested in seeing how we in NATO organize and manage our forces. You may also be interested in our experiences and the lessons we have learned as our armed forces developed -- both the good lessons and the bad lessons.
So I urge you to take our experiences and our ideas with you and study them and sort through them. You may find some of them useful as you continue developing your own military organizations and methods. You can profit from the things we have done right, and you can avoid the things we have done wrong.
For exercises and public budgets are just two important examples of confidence-building measures that are designed to create strong relations between our countries and to enable us to work together for the common security of all of Europe. Clearly, the partnerships help with these and other areas to make Europe a more secure and more stable place. Partnership for Peace is the here and now for our militaries to work together.
You will also have the fear of potential new NATO members with the responsibilities of membership. NATO is examining a process of enlargement for one simple reason. That is, over the past half century, the alliance has created a zone of peace, stability and security in Western Europe. And we in NATO will like to see this zone of peace, stability and security extended to all of Europe. This is the promise of NATO enlargement.
The issue of how to do NATO enlargement is very complex and will take time to sort through the details. But in the meantime, for the countries that are interested in joining NATO, there are some basic principles designed to keep the alliance as successful as it has been for the last 40 years.
The key principle, of course, is that NATO is a military alliance and that each of the members has to be able to contribute to the defense of the alliance. A second principle is to establish professional military forces that are under civilian control. That is the essence of a military in a democracy. Military is under civilian control. That means that ultimately the military must report to the parliaments of the nations involved.
I have described for you already how we report, how we are instructed by the parliaments in the preparation of our defense budgets. Other central features of NATO member countries are that they have democratic governments and that they have a free enterprise economic system, that they protect freedom and human rights inside their borders, and they respect sovereignty outside their borders.
Democratic governments and mutual respect are crucial to NATO, because the alliance has always operated -- and always will operate -- on the principle of consensus. All members must agree to major decisions made by NATO. No one nation dominates the decisions in NATO. Consensus does not mean that all NATO members have to agree on everything, but they must respect all members, and they must hammer out their differences in a spirit of cooperation.
In parallel with NATO enlargement, we also are committed to a NATO-Russia dialogue and cooperation, and we are working to develop a framework for a NATO-Russia security relationship. Russia can make a unique contribution to building a stable European future, and, as you see, NATO enlargement is a means of enhancing European stability and security.
Let me state this as clearly as I can and directly and honestly as I can. NATO does not see Russia as a threat. Nor should Russia see NATO as a threat to it. NATO does not intend to draw new dividing lines in Europe. We want to extend the security lines, extend the stability to all of Europe, not to draw new lines.
For Russia to see that NATO is not a threat, it must become actively involved with NATO. So we applaud NATO's recent commitment at the U.S-Russia summit to take an active part in Partnership for Peace activities and direct NATO-Russia outside activities for Partnership for Peace. We are now working with Russia to take practical steps toward its involvement with NATO. I am very hopeful in this regard, because I believe that Partnership for Peace and the NATO-Russia relationship will build trust and cooperation throughout the region benefiting all our countries.
In the beginning of my talk, I talked about having the power to begin the world again. Today these words ring true for Europe. We do have it in our power to bury old hostilities and bring forth a newfound trust and cooperation.
We have it in our power to remake a stable and secure Europe, and you are the key to remaking that Europe. You could not find in one room a set of people who are more critical to the future security and stability of Europe. You and your generation have an opportunity that the Cold War denied to my generation -- the opportunity to carry out Marshall's vision of creating a unified, secure and stable Europe.
The British novelist Graham Greene once wrote there always comes a moment in time when a door opens and lets the future in. The ending of the Cold War has opened such a door. But the future is out there waiting; that future can be a unified, secure and stable Europe. You have the opportunity to define that future and have it come in. You have already begun that task by your presence here.
I urge you to use this time wisely to get to know one another, to understand each other's ideas about the period, so when you return home you will be better able to complete that task. If you succeed in that task, your country will benefit, Europe will benefit, and your children and your grandchildren will thank you for it.
I thank you.
Q. (Question concerning the security of Central and Eastern Europe.)
A. I believe that the security and stability of all of Eastern and Central Europe will be profoundly affected by the Partnership for Peace; and that should be the vehicle for extending the security and stability that NATO now has into Eastern and Central Europe. Whether or not a nation joins NATO, it has the opportunity to participate in this zone of stability and security through the Partnership for Peace -- that applies to Romania, it applies to Poland, it applies to Russia. Even after a nation joins NATO, it would continue to participate in the Partnership for Peace.
I had a discussion with the Hungarian defense minister just a month or so ago, and he said that his country very much wanted to become a member of NATO, but he said, even after it becomes a member of NATO, it sees the Partnership for Peace as an important part of its future contribution to security and stability in Europe. So the major single message that I would leave with you today is that security and stability through all of Europe -- in Central and Eastern Europe and including Russia -- the major single contribution to that will be the Partnership for Peace and the active participation of your countries, including Russia, including Ukraine, including the Central European countries in that.
Q. (Question concerning NATO enlargement and Russia.)
A. My own view in that is that doors to NATO ought to be open to any nation that can meet the set of principles which I listed in my talk. In my discussions with the Russian defense minister and the Russian prime minister, they have not expressed to me an interest in becoming a member of NATO anytime in the foreseeable future. Neither did they want to be excluded from membership if they decide sometime in the future that they want to join. I think both those are very reasonable attitudes.
I have told both [Defense] Minister [Pavel] Grachev and Prime Minister [Viktur] Chernomyrdin that I believe the most constructive role for NATO to participate in European security at this stage has three elements: First and most important is a vigorous participation in Partnership for Peace. Not just participation, I urged Russia to play a leadership role in the Partnership for Peace, not just participating in exercises but in initiating and sponsoring them and in inviting other countries to join them in exercises.
Secondly, to form with NATO a special agreement, a special relationship -- Russia to NATO -- for discussing those security issues beyond the Partnership for Peace. For example, how to work cooperatively to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Russia brings a special, unique background of principle and a capability to bear. So that is the second principle.
The third principle, from the U.S. point of view, I urged the continuing deepening of the bilateral security relationship between the U.S. and Russia. In that regard, I will say that since I have been secretary, I have visited Russia, I think, four times already. I've had the Russian defense minister and deputy defense minister visit me in the United States three or four times. We have formed joint exercises with Russia last year. We have a joint exercise coming up in the United States this year. So I regard not only these Partnership for Peace and NATO relations as important for us, I also value the bilateral relationship between our Defense Department and the defense ministry in Russia.
Q. Concerning NATO enlargement, has anything changed since your visit last October?
A. I have the same attitude about NATO enlargement now that I had then. I think the discussion and the rhetoric on NATO enlargement has been somewhat off the point and off the mark. NATO enlargement is, first of all, not the most important dynamic that is going on today in European stability, it is Partnership for Peace. That is here and now, and that is what we should be concentrating our efforts on. The second point I would make is that simply considering the dynamics of what is required for adding additional countries to NATO, it is some years away, and most nations that are considering it do not appreciate that fully.
I have listed the principles that are needed to become a NATO member, and many countries are going to have to continue to develop to qualify to become NATO members. Secondly, I told you that NATO operates on consensus on important matters. In particular, they operate on consensus on whether a new member will join. What that means is, in effect, that one new nation joining NATO will have to be approved by the parliaments of 16 different nations, any one of which can either turn it down or delay it.
So I see this as a long, complex and difficult process. And those countries focusing on participating in NATO security should focus their primary energies on the Partnership for Peace. The enlargement is coming, but it is many more years in the future. And in any event, the enlargement is not instead of Partnership for Peace; it is something that could be in addition to it. So it's a matter of emphasis, I think, that I would like to make now, because I've seen many nations that look at it as an either/or, and it's not either/or.
Q. Do you think there should be a new Marshall Plan for Georgia and the smaller nations of the former Soviet Union?
A. Yes. I do. Let me elaborate on that answer. I am interested that you come from Georgia. I just talked yesterday with Gen. [John] Shalikashvili, who is the chairman of our Joint Chiefs of Staff and who was in Georgia yesterday. He spent several days visiting and meeting with the defense officials and the military officials in Georgia as part of our effort to reach out and establish a security relationship with Georgia. This had special meaning for Gen. Shalikashvili, because his family is from Georgia. So for him it was a sentimental trip home. His family is from Georgia, and he spent part of his youth in Poland. So he brings a very interesting background to the United States.
I believe the Cold War truly is over, and I do not think it is in danger of restarting. But we have not yet achieved the full benefits of the peace that is possible from it. Countries like Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia still have armed conflicts going on, and they are far from settled either politically or economically.
Back in 1989 and 1990, when it seemed clear that the Cold War was ending, I wrote several papers and made several speeches recommending that a new Marshall Plan be formed. It is a matter of history that that was not done. And it is, I believe, not going to be done. There are, however, many actions under way which, while not fully equivalent to a Marshall Plan, do provide important assistance to the newly formed democracies of Eastern and Central Europe. Some of them are making better use of these than others. Let me just mention a few of them.
In the economic field there is the International Monetary Fund and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, neither of which existed back in the days of the Marshall Plan. They provide an important vehicle in that regard. In the United States, there is a program called the Nunn-Lugar Program, which has been helping four of the nations of the former Soviet Union, and there is the Marshall Center, which is a very important contribution to security, helping new nations get started to develop security apparatuses. All of this falls short of the Marshall Plan, but nevertheless, all are important steps in this direction.
The most important development, I believe, to achieving economic reconstruction in these countries is being done on a company-to-company basis in nations all over Eastern and Central Europe. Here, U.S. companies, European companies, Japanese, Korean companies, are responding to the drives of the free market system, are looking to these newly emerging countries as market opportunities. And they are sending their representatives, bringing their capital into these countries to form joint enterprises. This will be, I believe, the vehicle for economic reconstruction in these countries.
What can our governments do about that? In the case of the United States, we have formed with some of the countries of Eastern and Central Europe joint government-to-government working groups to try to facilitate the forming of joint enterprises between companies in our countries.
But I emphasize, this is not like the Marshall Plan where the U.S. government is putting up the resources. In this case, the U.S. government is simply facilitating the flow of private capital into these countries, and it is working generally very effectively.
So the primary vehicles today for economic reconstruction in these countries are private capital investment, and the primary role for governments like that of the United States is in facilitating the flow of capital. And the primary role of international institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the EBRD????? is providing the vehicle for loan guarantees -- providing a vehicle for promoting and facilitating the flow of capital.
We are not going to have another Marshall Fund, and I regret that, but I think we can do quite a bit with the institutions that do exist and which are already being used.
Q. (Comment on visit to Ukraine.)
A. Thank you for those good wishes. I would just like to give you one perspective on my forthcoming visit to Ukraine to illustrate the importance which I place, which the United States places, on the integration of Eastern and Central Europe into the Western security establishment. Since I have been in the Pentagon in the last two years, I have visited our traditional allies, England, France, Japan, South Korea, one or two times. I have visited Russia four times. I have visited Ukraine four times. That gives you some indication of the importance that I place on the integration of Eastern and Central European countries into the Western security establishment. And that is not counting the visits that your defense ministers and other officials have made to the United States.
Q. What kind of help can you provide to Tajikistan and Chechnya in the name of peace?
A. We don't have direct security actions we can take or are taking in either one of those countries, as we do not envision that the United States has or should have a role in providing military forces in either of those countries. We have had very substantial, ongoing discussions with the Russian government, offering our views on the best way of affecting peace and security in those areas. And we have worked as an important member of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] to facilitate the role of the OSCE in facilitating a peace in those two countries. But I repeat, we do not see a unilateral role of the United States military of being involved in either of those countries.
Let me just clarify my last statement; it could easily be misinterpreted. I talked about not being involved in the country of Tajikistan. Chechyna is, of course, not an independent nation, it is a province of Russia. I want to be sure the record stands corrected on that point.
Q. If the conflict in the south of former Yugoslavia should spread into the Kosovo region, what would be your position?
A. The United States has issued an unambiguous and a stern warning that we regard the security of Kosovo as an important U.S. national security objective and that the war should not spread into Kosovo. We have left unspecified what action we would take if that were to happen, but we have made it very clear that we consider that would be a very serious security violation.
We have underscored the seriousness of that commitment by sending troops, as part of a U.N. peacekeeping force, into Macedonia. We consider of all of the security objectives which the United States has in the former Yugoslavia, we consider the most important being preventing the spread of the war now going in Bosnia beyond the Bosnian borders. That includes the spread into Macedonia or the spread into Kosovo or certainly any threat to Albania.
Q. You have spoken before about the main role of NATO to provide peace and stability in Europe. The Partnership for Peace is not providing any kind of security warranties to our countries in Central Europe, ... just consultations. NATO provided [incentives] to some European countries like Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Spain, which weren't in the best position considering democracy and a market economy, ... to develop real democratic states with the rule of law and a free market economy.
Don't you think that our countries from Central Europe are needing most this important incentive of membership in NATO in this transitional period to realize finally their main goals and tasks to realize the Western-style countries? That's the first question.
At the same time, everybody's speaking about NATO's enlargement; it seems that we now face a slowdown of this process because of a strong opposition from the eastern side of Europe concerning this issue. But nobody speaks about the reinforcement of the military cooperation between the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States within the CIS. Did not the United States have an agreement considering the military and security cooperation within the former Soviet states?
A. The Partnership for Peace does not provide an explicit security guarantee, as you correctly pointed out. Partnership for Peace is an important element implicit security extension, and no one should underestimate the importance of the Partnership for Peace in that regard.
The second point is that Romania is a viable candidate for becoming a member of NATO, and the principles which I laid out on my talk are the principles by which Romania and other countries would be considered for membership in NATO. I pointed out in my talk that meeting those principles and going through the complex parliamentary approval process required will take some years.
Third, the slowdown that you are discussing here is not a slowdown in response to objections from other countries. The slowdown is inherent in the process that I've described. It took a long time for Spain and Portugal to become NATO members, too. And I would invite each of you who are concerned on the time scale to look at the time scale of the entry of Spain into NATO to get some indication of the complexities and the timing of the process.
And fourth, finally, no, there is no agreement between the United States and Russia relative to the timing of the process in NATO, of entry of members into NATO. The process has been discussed publicly among NATO members; it will be discussed again at the NATO ministerial meetings coming this December, and the whole process will be laid out for the public to see.
There will be no secret codicils, no secret agreements as to the membership for NATO. I might tell you that the NATO decision process is so open and public that we could not keep a secret if we wanted to. It's just not inherent in the system. There's an inability to keep that kind of secret.
Q. During our meeting, questions have been raised about NATO membership from European and East European countries. Kazakhstan has a very long border with Russia, and the processes which take place in Russia reflect on Kazakhstan and on other republics of the former Soviet Union, or as they call them, CIS countries. Any country has the right to join any organization if it's worthy, but if a country from Central Europe joins or Eastern Europe joins NATO, then maybe it will mobilize some reactionary forces in Russia, because the country is unstable.
The image of NATO is associated in the former Soviet mind with the image of the enemy. The result will be a recreation of the old confrontation. How do you view this problem?
A. I regard the security of Kazakhstan as vital to the security of European nations, an integral part of it. I have visited Kazakhstan four times, twice since I've been secretary of defense. I value the relationship between our two ministries. I personally value the relationship with Gen. [Sagadst] Nurmagambetov, your minister of defense. We have established ... a bilateral working group on security issues between the United States and Kazakhstan. We've had several meetings; we work cooperatively on defense issues involving the two countries, most recently in assisting Kazakhstan in establishing a coastal patrol force which will operate in the Caspian Sea.
Kazakhstan is a valued member of the Partnership for Peace and, therefore, is a part of the security and stability zone in Europe. And indeed, I expect to meet your defense minister and your other delegates at the partners meeting in Brussels, which is coming up in three weeks from now. So I value Kazakhstan's role very highly, both from a bilateral basis and from the basis of its participation in the European security zone through the Partnership for Peace.
Published for internal information use by the American Forces Information Service, a field activity of the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), Washington, D.C. Parenthetical entries are speaker/author notes; bracketed entries are editorial notes. This material is in the public domain and may be reprinted without permission. Defense Issues is available on the Internet via the World Wide Web at http://www.defenselink.mil/speeches/index.html.