Henry Kissinger

Address at the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the U.S. Diplomacy Center

delivered 3 September 2014, George Marshall Conference Center, Washington, D.C. henrykissingerdiplomacycenter

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[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

The organizers are anguishing at this moment to see how long it will take me to place my first verb.

Ladies and gentlemen, itís a great privilege to be here with four other Secretaries of State. We have shared common experiences of the indispensable role of the United States in working for peace and progress in the world; the privilege of working with the Foreign Service, the most distinguished group of public servants that I know; and we also know that we will never do anything more challenging in our life than to serve these objectives. I would say all of us except one1 have that -- but let me talk about diplomacy as a relationship.

In foreign policy, we read about dramatic encounters between Secretaries of State and diplomats. But the essence of diplomacy is to build permanent relationships.

It is essential to create confidence so that when the difficult issues come up and the close decisions have to be made, the -- there is a basis on which the minds can meet.

It is essential for diplomacy to deal with people before you need them, so that they have faith in what you are saying when you do need them. It is imperative to outline the concept of what you -- our country -- is trying to do, so as to prevent foreign policy from becoming a series of tactical issues.

For all of these reasons, the Diplomacy Center is a great -- great and imaginative idea.

Itís a privilege to be here for this occasion.

Itís an honor to have been able to serve in this institution, to share the concerns of so many dedicated people, and to realize that every great achievement was a vision before it became a reality.

And it is a great privilege to see how this vision has turned into a reality.

Thank you very much.


Book/CDs by Michael E. Eidenmuller, Published by McGraw-Hill (2008)

1 Facetious comment in reference to Hillary Clinton's (more challenging) presidential ambitions.

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