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Secretary of Defense Speech

Meeting with Polish Minister of National Defence Macierewicz

Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense James Mattis, The Pentagon, Washington, DC, Sept. 21, 2017

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Welcome Minister Macierewicz. I’ll just tell you your officers and the members of your delegation are most welcome here in the Pentagon. It is good to see you again so soon after the NATO Defense Ministerial in June.

Listening to our national anthems outside the Pentagon today, I’m reminded that Poland and the United States have a long shared history of military cooperation and understanding. Here in Washington we have statues of Polish Generals Pulaski and Kosciuszo. These officers came to our aid during the Revolutionary War when our upstart country sought independence.

In more modern times, the Polish people demonstrated their strength of resolve when you fought on after Poland was occupied during World War Two. From cities and from the forests, your guerilla warriors resisted with grit and courage.

Flying out of England and jumping paratroopers into Ardennes, Polish soldiers fought all through the war. But the victory achieved against the fascists was lost to Soviet occupation.

But Poland never gave up. Your solidarity showed that the Polish people will never accept domination.

And today you are a valued member of NATO, and Poland leads by example. An American-led NATO battlegroup with troops from the United Kingdom and Romania stands with the nation that came to our aid in 1776.

So the work to protect freedom continues as we stand together against any threat from the east – two countries that are bound by democratic values and the NATO alliance.

Our government here in Washington notes proudly that Poland continues to meet the Wales Pledge, leading by example. So today, we look forward to discussing how we can further strengthen our military relationship – strengthening both defense capabilities and NATO interoperability for the future.

So Minister, members of the delegation, you are very welcome here. Thanks again for traveling here for these discussions.

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