[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text
version below transcribed directly from audio]
Good afternoon, all.
I received a call today from the President of the United States, at a
little after noon time, from Air Force One.
And I've also spoken to
White House Chief of Staff Kelly to
ensure we have clarity as to the days ahead. What is most important is
to ensure an orderly and smooth transition during a time that the
country continues to face significant policy and national security
As such, effective at the end of the day, I'm delegating all
responsibilities of the Office of the Secretary to
Deputy Secretary of
State Sullivan. My commission as Secretary of State will
terminate at midnight, March the 31st.
Between now and then, I will address a few administrative matters
related to my departure and work towards a smooth and orderly transition
for Secretary of State-designate
Iím encouraging my policy
planning team and undersecretaries and assistant secretaries, those
confirmed, as well as those in acting positions, to remain at their post
and continue our mission at the State Department and working with the
I will be meeting members of my front office team
and policy planning later today to thank them for their service. They
have been extraordinarily dedicated to our mission, which includes
promoting values that I view as being very important to the safety and
security of our State Department personnel: accountability -- which means
treating each other with honesty and integrity; and respect for one
another -- most recently, in particular, to address challenges of sexual
harassment within the Department.
I want to speak now to my State Department colleagues and to our
interagency colleagues and partners at DOD and the Joint Chief[s] of Sta[ff], most particularly.
To my Foreign Service officers and civil
service colleagues: We all took the same oath of office. Whether youíre
a career employee or a political appointee, we are all bound by that
common commitment to support and defend the Constitution, to bear true
faith and allegiance to the same, and to faithfully discharge the duties
of our office. As a State Department, we are bound together by that
oath. We remain steadfast here in Washington and at posts across the
world, many of whom are in danger-[placed] situations without their
The world needs selfless leaders like these -- ready to work
with long-standing allies, new emerging partners and allies, who now,
many are struggling as democracies, and in some cases are dealing with
human tragedy, crisis of natural disasters -- literally crawling
themselves out of those circumstances. These are experiences that no
lecture hall in a[n] academic environment, or a think tank can teach you.
Only by people going to the front lines to serve can they develop this
kind of talent.
To the men and women in uniform, Iím told for the first time in most
peopleís memory the Department of State and Department of Defense have a
close working relationship -- where we all agree the U.S. leadership starts
with diplomacy. The men and women in uniform at the Department of
Defense under the leadership of
Secretary Mattis and
General Dunford protect us as Americans and our way of life daily,
at home and abroad. As an all-volunteer military, they do it for
love of country; they do it for you; and they do it for me -- and for no
other reason. As Americans, we are all eternally grateful to each of
them, and we honor their sacrifices.
The rewarding part of having leadership and partnerships in place is
that you can actually get some things done, and I want to give
recognition to the State Department and our partners for a few of their
accomplishments under this Administration.
First, working with allies,
we exceeded the expectations of almost everyone with the DPRK maximum
pressure campaign with the announcement on my very first trip as
Secretary of State to the region that the era of strategic patience was
over, and we commenced the steps to dramatically increase not just the
scope but the effectiveness of the sanctions.
The Department undertook a
global campaign to bring partners and allies on board in every country
around the world, with every embassy and mission, raising this to the
highest levels. And at every meeting Iíve had throughout the year, this
has been on the agenda: to discuss the adoption of the South Asia
strategy with a conditions-based military plan as the tool to compel
the Taliban to reconciliation and peace talks with the Afghan
government -- finally equipped our military planners with a strategy which
they can execute, as opposed to a succession of 16 one-year strategies.
This clear military commitment attracted the support of allies broadly
and equipped our diplomats with a whole new level of certainty around
how to prepare for the peace talks and achieve the final objectives.
In other areas, while progress has been made, much work remains.
Syria, we did achieve important cease-fires and stabilizations which we
know has saved thousands of lives. Thereís more to be done in Syria,
particularly with respect to achieving the peace, as well as stabilizing
Iraq, and seeing a healthy government installed, and more broadly in the
entire global campaign to defeat ISIS. Nothing is possible without
allies and -- and partners, though.
Much work remains to establish a clear view
of the nature of our future relationship with China. How should we deal
with one another over the next 50 years and ensure a period of
prosperity for all of our peoples, free of conflict between two very
And much work remains to respond to the troubling
behavior and actions of -- on the part of the Russian government. Russia must
assess carefully as to how its actions are in the best interest of the
Russian people and of the world more broadly. Continuing on their
current trajectory is likely to lead to greater isolation on their part,
a situation which is not in anyoneís interest.
So, my colleagues in the State Department and the interagency much
remains to be done to achieve our mission on behalf of the American
people, with allies and with partners.
I close by thanking all for the
privilege of serving beside you for the last 14 months. Importantly, to
the 300-plus million Americans: Thank you for your devotion to a free
and open society, to acts of kindness towards one another, to honesty
and the quiet hard work that you do every day to support this government
with your tax dollars. All of us, we know, want to leave this place as a
better place for the next generation.
I'll now return to private life as a
private citizen, as a proud American, proud of the opportunity Iíve had
to serve my country.
God bless all of you.
God bless the American people.
God bless America.