AMBASSADOR MURPHY: Good afternoon. As I just said to some of you on the side, you didn’t come here to see me, so I’ll be very brief. (Laughter.) Before I introduce the Secretary of State, I see Ivo Daalder. Ivo, you and your team at this NATO ministerial have been fabulous to work with for our folks. I saw Liz Sherwood-Randall, who was here, I believe, from the White House – an indispensable partner. I don’t know if Phil Gordon – Phil, are you here? Phil Gordon is also in town. And it’s been a real, real honor and a very unusual and very productive week.
No one works harder for our country and no one stands up more strongly, both globally and back home with our Congress and with other Americans, in staunch defense of our global interests and the diplomatic work done by our men and women both in the Foreign Service and among our locally engaged staff than our Secretary of State. It’s my great, great honor and privilege to introduce to you Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States of America. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all so much. Well, I cannot imagine a better way to be introduced to a better group of people than as representing the United States to those of you who work day in and day out on behalf of this important relationship between the United States and Germany. I want to thank Phil for his leadership and for his enthusiasm, which seems never to lag. I want to thank your DCM. Where’s Greg? There you are. Greg, thank you very much. I, too, want to thank Ivo Daalder for the great work that his team did on behalf of this important NATO ministerial. And I am delighted that I’ve got this second time to visit you, my third visit to Germany in my term as Secretary of State. And I know that Phil, who’s a marathon runner, has never stopped running, and all of you are running along with him. (Laughter.) And I can see the results of all this hard work that you’re doing.
We just finished two very productive days here in Berlin on matters ranging from Afghanistan to Libya to missile defense. And I know that when someone like me comes to town, you have to work a lot more than you do even ordinarily, and that was especially difficult since we were trying to figure out whether we’d have a government shutdown or not. (Laughter.) So I just wanted to make it a little more complicated for you. (Laughter.) And I want to thank each and every one of you for everything you contributed to making this trip a success.
But more importantly, I want to thank you for all the ways that you contribute to America’s work: advancing our values, protecting our security, furthering our interests. We really count on each and every one of you. You are at one of the most complex missions we have at the State Department. Eleven federal agencies are housed here in Berlin, five consulates around the country, and you are working on every issue, literally, under the sun, from the global economic crisis to climate change. And you’re working not only with our partners in government but you’re working with civil society, with business, with teachers, with activists, with students. And I appreciate your efforts to organize educational and cultural exchange programs like this weekend’s urban art project in an area of Berlin, or the Meet US program that sends Americans out to schools to talk about life in our country. And the outreach you’re doing – the town halls, the interviews, the public discussions, even the soccer diplomacy that the ambassador is so proud of – (laughter) – is breaking through where we especially need it, with young people.
The world is increasingly young – (laughter) – in many parts of it. It seems younger by the minute as I get older by the minute. (Laughter.) And it really is important that we find new ways to connect, because certainly as we’ve seen social media be used for everything from organizing protests and demonstrations in Tahrir Square to using cloud collecting of information to find victims of the earthquake in Haiti, it’s important we keep upping our game all the time. What can we do more? What can we do better?
I especially thank you for the 250 locally employed staff who have provided the backbone of our diplomatic efforts. I’m well aware that secretaries come and go, ambassadors come and go, DCMs come and go, but the locally employed staff stay and keep the mission running and provide the continuity and direction that is so necessary. I know a few of you were even requested by name from Embassy Kabul and have spent long periods of time there, and I very much appreciate that.
I think there are about 15 U.S. NATO staff present. Are you all here? Is anybody here from the U.S. NATO staff? Back there? (Cheers.) Thank you very much for your work. You’ve put together a complicated NATO schedule. And I know that every NATO meeting is a little bit of a puzzle, and you put it together extremely well.
I understand that the control officer for my three visits, Stan Otto – where’s Stan?
PARTICIPANT: That way.
SECRETARY CLINTON: There you are, Stan. You’re leaving Berlin soon, and you’re going to leave a big hole in the political affairs section, particularly in the embassy singers. (Laughter.) And I can’t carry a tune, so I’m delighted to know that we have people like you – (laughter) – with all of your talents in the State Department.
I want to spend just a minute talking about the budget discussions in Washington, because I’m sure you’re hearing all kinds of things. I want you to know that I will keep making the case and fighting for the support and resources that you need to do your jobs. The level of dedication that I see here and around the world is such a hallmark of our Foreign and Civil Service officers. I know the sacrifices that you and your families make to serve our country abroad – the late nights, the long hours, the weekends, the CODELs, everything that has to be done to perfection. You deserve all of the support that we can get you, and we will keep fighting for every single dollar.
So thanks again for your hard work. I hope that we’ll find new and better ways to deepen and broaden our relationship with Germany, one of the most important in the world. But now I’d like to just go shake some hands and say hello to some of the people I see, especially the young people who are here, and thanks to you and thanks to your families as well. (Applause.)
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