THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(New York, New York)
For Immediate Release
October 22, 1995
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
TO THE U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY
General Assembly Hall
United Nations Headquarters
New York, New York
10:30 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General,
excellencies, distinguished guests. This week the United Nations is 50
years old. The dreams of its founders have not been fully realized, but
its promise endures. The value of the United Nations can be seen the
world over -- in the nourished bodies of once-starving children; in the
full lives of those immunized against disease; in the eyes of students
eager to learn; in the environment sustained, the refugees saved, the
peace kept; and most recently, in standing up for the human rights and
human possibilities of women and their children at the Beijing
The United Nations is the product of faith and
knowledge: Faith that different peoples can work together for
tolerance, decency and peace; knowledge that this faith will be forever
tested by the forces of intolerance, depravity and aggression. Now we
must summon that faith and act on that knowledge to meet the challenges
of a new era.
In the United States some people ask, why should we
bother with the U.N.; America is strong; we can go it alone. Well, we
will act if we have to alone. But my fellow Americans should not forget
that our values and our interests are also served by working with the
The U.N. helps the peacemakers, the care providers, the
defenders of freedom and human rights, the architects of economic
prosperity, and the protectors of our planet to spread the risk, share
the burden and increase the impact of our common efforts.
Last year I pledged that the United States would
continue to contribute substantially to the U.N.'s finances.
Historically, the United States has been, and today it remains, the
largest contributor to the United Nations. But I am determined that we
must fully meet our obligations, and I am working with our Congress on a
plan to do so.
All who contribute to the U.N.'s work and care about its
future must also be committed to reform -- to ending bureaucratic
inefficiencies and outdated priorities. The U.N. must be able to show
that the money it receives supports saving and enriching people's lives,
not unneeded overhead. Reform requires breaking up bureaucratic
fiefdom, eliminating obsolete agencies, and doing more with less. The
U.N. must reform to remain relevant and to play a still stronger role in
the march of freedom, peace, and prosperity.
We see it around the world in the Middle East and Northern
Ireland -- people turning from a violent past to a future of peace; and
South Africa and Haiti -- long nights and fears have given way to new
days of freedom. Throughout this hemisphere, every nation except one
has chosen democracy, and the goal of an integrated, peaceful and
democratic Europe is now within our reach for the first time. In the
Balkans, the international community's determination and NATO's resolve
have made prospects for peace brighter than they have been for four long
Let me salute the U.N.'s efforts on behalf of the people of
Bosnia. The nations that took part in UNPROFOR kept the toll of this
terrible war and lives lost, wounds left unhealed, children left unfed
from being far graver still.
Next week, the parties to the war in Bosnia will meet in
Dayton, Ohio, under the auspices of the United States and our Contact
Group partners -- Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany -- to
intensify the search for peace. Many fundamental differences remain.
But I urge the parties to seize this chance for a settlement. If they
achieve peace, the United States will be there with our friends and
allies to help secure it.
All over the world, people yearn to live in peace. And
that dream is becoming a reality. But our time is not free of peril.
As the Cold War gives way to the global village, too many people remain
vulnerable to poverty, disease and underdevelopment. And all of us who
are exposed to ethnic and religious hatred, the reckless aggression of
rogue states, terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking, the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The emergence of the information and technology age has
brought us all closer together and given us extraordinary opportunities
to build a better future. But in our global village, progress can
spread quickly, but trouble can, too. Trouble on the far end of town
soon becomes a plague on everyone's house. We can't free our own
neighborhoods from drug-related crime without the help of countries
where the drugs are produced. We can't track down terrorists without
assistance from other governments. We can't prosper or preserve our
environment unless sustainable development is a reality for all nations.
And our vigilance alone can't keep nuclear weapons stored half a world
away from falling into the wrong hands.
Nowhere is cooperation more vital than in fighting the
increasingly interconnected groups that traffic in terror, organized
crime, drug smuggling and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. No
one is immune -- not the people of Japan, where terrorists unleash nerve
gas in the subway and poison thousands; not the people of Latin America
or Southeast Asia, where drug traffickers wielding imported weapons have
murdered judges, journalists, police officers and innocent passersby;
not the people of Israel and France. where hatemongers have blown up
buses and trains full of children with suitcase bombs made from smuggled
explosives; not the people of the former Soviet Union and Central
Europe, where organized criminals seek to weaken new democracies and
prey on decent, hard-working men and women. And not the people of the
United States, where homegrown terrorists blew of a federal building in
the heart of America and foreign terrorists tried to topple the World
Trade Center and plotted to destroy the very hall we gather in today.
These forces jeopardize the global trend toward peace and
freedom, undermine fragile new democracies, sap the strength from
developing countries, threaten our efforts to build a safer, more
So today I call upon all nations to join us in the fight
against them. Our common efforts can produce results. To reduce the
threat of weapons of mass destruction, we are working with Russia to
reduce our nuclear arsenals by two-thirds. We supported Ukraine,
Kazakhstan and Belarus in removing nuclear weapons from their soil. We
worked with the states of the former Soviet Union to safeguard nuclear
materials and convert them to peaceful use. North Korea has agreed to
freeze its nuclear program under international monitoring. Many of the
nations in this room succeeded in getting the indefinite extension of
the nonproliferation treaty.
To stem the flow of narcotics and stop the spread of
organized crime, we are cooperating with many nations, sharing
information, providing military support, initiating anticorruption
efforts. And results are coming. With Colombian authorities, we have
cracked down on the cartels that control the world's cocaine market.
Two years ago, they lived as billionaires, beyond the law; now many are
living as prisoners behind bars.
To take on terrorists, we maintain strong sanctions against
states that sponsor terrorism and defy the rule of law, such as Iran,
Iraq, Libya and Sudan. We ask them today again to turn from that path.
Meanwhile, we increase our own law enforcement efforts and our
cooperation with other nations.
Nothing we do will make us invulnerable, but we call all
can become less vulnerable if we work together. That is why today I am
announcing new initiatives to fight international organized crime, drug
trafficking, terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction --
initiatives we can take on our own and others we hope we will take
together in the form of an international declaration to promote the
safety of the world's citizens.
First, the steps we will take: Yesterday, I directed our
government to identify and put on notice nations that tolerate money
laundering. Criminal enterprises are moving vast sums of ill-gotten
gains through the international financial system with absolute impunity.
We must not allow them to wash the blood off profits from the sale of
drugs from terror or organized crimes. Nations should bring their banks
and financial systems into conformity with the international antimoney-
laundering standards. We will work to help them to do so. And if they
refuse, we will consider appropriate sanctions.
Next, I directed our government to identify the front
companies and to freeze the assets of the largest drug ring in the world
-- the Cali Cartel -- to cut off its economic lifelines and stop our own
people from dealing unknowingly with its companies.
Finally, I have instructed the Justice Department to
prepare legislation to provide our other agencies with the tools they
need to respond to organized criminal activity.
But because we must win this battle together, I now invite
every country to join in negotiating and endorsing a declaration on
international crime and citizen safety; a declaration which would first
include a no sanctuary pledge, so that we could say together to
organized criminals, terrorists, drug traffickers and smugglers, you
have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
Second, a counterterrorism pact, so that we would together
urge more states to ratify existing antiterrorism treaties, and work
with us to shut down the grey markets that outfit terrorists and
criminals with firearms and false documents.
Third, an antinarcotics offensive. The international drug
trade poisons people, breeds violence, tears at the moral fabric of our
society. We must intensify action against the cartels and the
destruction of drug crops. And we, in consumer nations like the United
States, must decrease demand for drugs.
Fourth, an effective police force partnership.
International criminal organizations target nations whose law
enforcement agencies lack the experience and capacity to stop them. To
help police in the new democracies of Central Europe, Hungary and the
United States established an international law enforcement academy in
Budapest. Now we should consider a network of centers all around the
world to share the latest crime-fighting techniques and technology.
Fifth, we need an illegal arms and deadly materials control
effort that we all participate in. A package the size of a child's
lunch bag held the poison gas used to terrorize Tokyo. A lump of
plutonium no bigger than a soda can is enough to make an atomic bomb.
Building on efforts already underway with the states of the former
Soviet Union and with our G-7 partners, we will seek to better account
for, store, and safeguard materials with massive destructive power. We
should strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention, pass the
comprehensive test ban treaty next year, and ultimately eliminate the
deadly scourge of land mines. We must press other countries and our own
Congress to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention, and to intensify our
efforts to combat the global illegal arms network that fuels terrorism,
equips drug cartels, and prolongs deadly conflicts.
This is a full and challenging agenda, but we must complete
it and we must do it together.
Fifty years ago, as the conference that gave birth to the
United Nations got underway in San Francisco, a young American war hero
recorded his impressions of that event for a newspaper. "The average
G.I. in the street doesn't seem to have a very clear-cut conception of
what this meeting's about," wrote the young John F. Kennedy. But one
bemedaled Marine sergeant gave the general reaction when he said, "I
don't know much about what's going on, but if they just fix it so we
don't have to fight anymore, they can count me in."
Well, the United Nations has not ended war, but it has made
it less likely, and helped many nations to turn from war to peace. The
United Nations has not stopped human suffering, but it has healed the
wounds and lengthened the lives of millions of human beings. The United
Nations has not banished repression or poverty from the Earth, but it
has advanced the cause of freedom and prosperity on every continent.
The United Nations has not been all that we wished it would be, but it
has been a force for good and a bulwark against evil.
So a the dawn of a new century so full of promise, yet
plagued by peril, we still need the United Nations. And so, for another
50 years and beyond, you can count the United States in.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 11:44 A.M. EDT
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