Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton At the Dinner for the OECD 50th Anniversary Ministerial

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Paris, France
May 25, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am delighted to welcome you to this OECD dinner commemorating the 50th anniversary. There are so many distinguished diplomats and government officials from across the world, and I am honored to see each and every one of you. I especially want to thank the secretary general for his leadership, and the Government of France and Foreign Minister Juppé for hosting the OECD here in Paris. We’re grateful to you both. (Applause.)

I’m also delighted to welcome you to this beautiful building, because it has seen so much history. It was here that Talleyrand and his colleagues negotiated to deliver Europe from years of war. And it was here more than a century later that the United States, under the leadership of President Truman and Secretary of State George Marshall, put together unprecedented resources in order to help Europe rebuild from the war. It is a place conceived by French genius and given new life by American generosity, and it well represents our partnership.

So it is fitting that we would be here to celebrate, because the OECD grew out of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation, and from the beginning it was George Marshall’s vision that the transatlantic partnership would be directed not against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. And that vision continues to guide us, and of course, it’s gone global. First came Japan and Australia, then New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea. And after the fall of the Berlin Wall, new democracies in Eastern Europe joined together to seek a transition to open economies and vibrant political systems. And last year, we were very pleased to welcome four new members: Chile, Estonia, Israel, and Slovenia. And Russia is well on its way to accession, and I just can imagine what General Marshall would say about all of that.

So in a world that is changing but whose values remain eternal, the OECD has emerged as a vital institution and a growing force for progress and prosperity. The United States is proud to chair this celebration, and we are very committed to the OECD’s future.

Now we are in the former home of one of history’s great gourmets. I cannot promise that we will have a meal commensurate with the Talleyrand’s expectations – (laughter) – but I do invite you to exchange views and relax in this very welcoming setting. And as we think about the past all around us, we can turn our thoughts to an even brighter future. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

PRN: 2011/T47-04