Meeting With Staff and Families of Embassy Dar es Salaam

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
June 12, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Ambassador Lenhardt, for that introduction, but also for your leadership. I thank you and Jacqueline for your service here. You have a long history of service. I first met you when you were a outgoing general and an incoming sergeant (inaudible) – (laughter) – Sergeant of Arms for the Senate. And Ambassador Lenhardt became the Sergeant of Arms at the Senate one week before 9/11. And it was an incredibly challenging assignment that I remember all too well, and I’m very grateful to you for that service and grateful for your continuing service.

I also want to thank DCM Rob Scott for his commitment to this team and our important relationship in Tanzania, and Bob Cunnane, USAID mission director, thank you for all of your work and leadership.

As the ambassador said, I had the honor of taking a few moments to lay some flowers at the memorials of victims of that horrible bombing on August 7, 1998. I know that there are those of you here today who were serving in the Embassy on that awful occasion. Some of you lost your friends and loved ones, and all Americans grieved with you then, and we have not forgotten your losses.

And we have also not forgotten our pledge to seek justice against those who would commit such atrocities. Last month, al-Qaida suffered a major setback with the death of Usama bin-Ladin, and yesterday, we received news of another significant blow when Harun Fazul was killed in Mogadishu. He was actually one of the men, if not the leader, of those responsible for the attacks on this Embassy and the bombing of our Embassy in Nairobi and many other despicable acts that killed hundreds and wounded thousands of people, Tanzanians, Kenyans, Somalis, and our own embassy personnel, including the 12 Americans serving in Nairobi.

I know nothing can replace those who have been taken from us by such senseless violence, but I know that justice was served and I hope that can give you some measure of comfort. To those of us who look at your service over these last years, I thank you for persevering and thank you for continuing to work at this important embassy family. This is a wonderful country, and the work you do bolsters our partnership every single day.

I was last here 14 years ago with my daughter, Chelsea, and we had such a memorable visit. Many people I’ve seen here since I got off the airplane tell me they met me then. (Laughter.) And I had such wonderful memories, I assume they did. (Laughter.) I was very touched by the people that I met, particularly the women and the civil society groups, and we also enjoyed our time traveling around the country from the visit to Arusha, to the crater, to the Serengeti. Both my daughter and I saw so much optimism and promise, and today we see even more.

I can’t thank you enough, because we think this is such a critical partnership, and I heard what the ambassador and DCM told me, that with all these initiatives I’m going around announcing you may have to have a few more people to help you. (Laughter.) But thanks for supporting this country’s efforts to fight HIV and AIDS. With me today is Ambassador Eric Goosby and our local AIDS coordinator. Thank you for helping us upgrade roads and build new power lines. With us today in Dan*Neogunis, the president of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Thank you for leading our work on food security, malaria, and all the other essential areas of health and development from USAID and CDC and HHS through our Global Health Initiative.

And I want to say a special word of thanks to two people who are helping me and the President. One is be Ambassador Mary Yates, who is the senior director for Africa at the National Security Council in the White House, who has served in Africa, and my right hand and right brain about Africa, Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson, who has also served with great distinction on (inaudible). (Applause.)

Now, I have been told that serving in Tanzania is, for many of you, a labor of love. Despite the traffic – (laughter) – sometimes despite the lights not staying on – (laughter) – but I understand exactly why. Because we’re trying to support a country that really sees what needs to be done. There’s no sugarcoating the difficulties. There are lots of obstacles. We visited several sites today that are certainly committed to change, making a real effort, but face a lot of challenges.

And I want to thank our locally employed staff, because I have to say, Ambassador, ambassadors come and go – (laughter) – secretaries come and go – (laughter) – DCMs come and go – (laughter) – locally employed stay and outstay and are here to provide the continuity, the experience, and the expertise as really the backbone of any mission. And it will be especially important here, because we don’t want to miss a beat. We want to keep the momentum going, and we have to instill that commitment in all of our people, Americans and Tanzanians alike.

I especially want to recognize David Myungei. Where’s David? (Applause.) Now, there was a time when I wasn’t sure I was going to recognize David so nicely because he wore us out – (laughter) – about putting Tanzania into the Feed the Future initiative. He was one of the leading champions for including this country, and I thank you for that. I thank you for your strong condition and your commitment. And your efforts, you may or not know, have earned David this year’s USAID Locally Employed Staff of the Year Award here in Dar. (Applause.)

And I also know that as hard as you are working every single day, when somebody like me shows up it really doubles, triples, quadruples, the workload. (Laughter.) And when I come with so many people it makes it even more challenging. But you’ve done a tremendous job on this trip. It is, for me, a very gratifying and rewarding visit, because I believe that what we’re doing is important, and I get a chance to see it with my own eyes.

So I thank you for all the extra effort on this trip and I thank you for everything you do when I’m not award to get in your hair and cause you a lot of extra anxiety. So thanks for the long hours, thanks for the sacrifice, thanks to the families who are with you every step of the way as you serve, thanks to every agency and department of the U.S. Government represented here, because this is a team effort.

One of my goals as Secretary of State was to elevate diplomacy and development alongside defense and then to make all three aspects of our foreign policy work together in a smart way so that we could get the best out of what each of us could bring to the table, the contributions we can make to furthering American interest, protecting American security, and nurturing American values.

So I understand that wheels-up parties are common whenever I go out of the picture. (Laughter.) And I think you certainly earned one, so Ambassador, I hope that Embassy Dar gets a little time to let loose, relax, and look at each other and say we survived – (laughter) – another one of those VIP trips that are always coming our way. Unfortunately, more will be coming. (Laughter.) We’re going to do everything we can to show we can make it work here in Tanzania. Thank you all and God bless you. (Applause.)

PRN: 2011/T48-19