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Diplomacy in Action

Meet and Greet with the Staff and Families of the U.S. Consulate General Munich and Embassy Berlin

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Munich, Germany
February 6, 2011


AMBASSADOR MURPHY: Good morning once again, everybody. You didn’t come out to see me this morning, so I’ll be very brief. Good morning to Mission Munich, and we’ve got – as the Secretary knows, we’ve got folks from all over Germany, all of our missions, in to support this security conference. And you’ve done a fantastic, as usual, fabulous job.

How lucky are we at these moments when the agenda is shifting and growing and the challenges getting more complicated that we have Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton leading and standing up and representing our country around the world? It is – we are blessed, Madam Secretary. And secondly, there is no one – I can say this with great conviction – first of all, you brought the weather. (Laughter.) Let there be no doubt about that. And secondly – I mean this sincerely and without any hesitation – you are the hardest working human being I have ever met.


AMBASSADOR MURPHY: And with that, ladies and gentlemen, let’s give it up for our leader. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thanks very much, Phillip. Well, that just reminds me how tired I am. (Laughter.) Thank you so much, Phil, and thank you for the wonderful job that you’re doing here in Germany. We greatly appreciate it. I also want to thank Conrad Tribble, who I have seen along the way of my careers in many different capacities and places. And thanks to all of you.

This is kind of a perfect storm of responsibility. It’s bad enough when a Secretary of State comes, but a huge CODEL. I mean, that’s – on top of it, that’s quite a challenge. And once again, you have risen to the occasion and I’m so appreciative.

It is wonderful to be back here in Germany and in Munich. I’ll be in Berlin later for a NATO ministerial, where I will see some of you once again. And I am very proud of the work that all of you are doing. It really demonstrates the greatest sense of commitment and responsibility year in and year out. I know that you’ve come from all over Germany for this conference. I think it’s been a really important gathering. I met this morning for breakfast with our congressional delegation, who are very, very pleased that they could participate. And I don't know how many bilats I’ve done, but it’s a convenient way to see a lot of leaders from around the world, particularly from here in Europe. I had the opportunity to meet with both Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Westerwelle yesterday. And our relationship just gets stronger and deeper as the days go on.

Now, nothing could have happened without your support, and you did so much – they gave me a list of all the different responsibilities, from motorcade to booking hotels to processing badges and doing so much more, and it showed. You know too that the work you do every single day when we are long gone from this conference is essential. And I want to thank you for what you’re doing to support our personnel and missions outside of Germany. I know that William Caulfield and Ray Buford worked through the night with colleagues in Frankfurt to get food and bottled water so it could be shipped to Cairo. I know that a consular officer here in Munich, Aaron Hellman and Berlin Consular Section Chief James Fellows flew to Istanbul to help incoming Americans who we were evacuating from Egypt.

I know that a lot of the stress that we are feeling in much of the rest of the world is alleviated by the outreach that many of you do for us. And sometimes even the smallest thing can make a huge difference. And I know there are many, many stories. One that I was told about the evacuation of Americans concerned a 17-year-old exchange student who was understandably quite worried and hadn’t been able to call home, and Aaron Hellman got her a phone, got her in connection, and it was those moments where her mother could hear her voice that made all the difference. And the fact that it was her American Government that was facilitating that and protecting her demonstrates clearly what we do and what we stand for.

I especially want to thank all of the German nationals who have worked for this mission here in Munich and Berlin, Frankfurt, around the country. We couldn’t do what we do without you. I am reminded often that ambassadors come and go, secretaries of state come and go, presidents come and go, but the Foreign Service Nationals stay. You provide the continuity, you provide the mentoring, you provide the support that our Americans from across our government – not just from the State Department and USAID but across our government – really look to you to be working to support them. And I know that it is not a hardship post living in Germany – (laughter) – in fact, it’s pretty nice. But it is far from home for many of you. And I just want you to know how much we appreciate your service – your service to our country and your service to this relationship.

Now I see some very patient children sitting here and standing here. (Laughter.) And so before we tax their patience, I will go and take a picture with them because they look so terrific and they had to get up early on Sunday morning and come in. And then I want to meet as many of you as possible, but again, thank you so much for what you do every day. (Applause.)

PRN: 2011/T40-4

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