Closing Remarks at the Gala Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms and the Completion of the Patrons of Diplomacy Endowment Campaign

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
October 27, 2011

Well, this has been quite an evening and we have thanked everyone for the extraordinary contributions that each of you has made. I am deeply grateful. For me, it was such a pleasure to be with my colleagues. When I was on my way in to becoming Secretary of State, Madeleine held a dinner at her home and invited all of the other Secretaries of State, and we sat around her dining room and each proceeded to give me excellent advice. For example, Warren Christopher told me never plan a vacation in August because a crisis seems to always happen in August. (Laughter.) And that has proven to be true, I must say. But it was a welcome into an extraordinary experience that I have only come to both relish and cherish even more as the months have gone forward.

It is, as each – Henry and Madeleine and Colin – have said, the most wonderful honor to represent our country. Wherever we go, whatever we’re doing, the fact that we are there on behalf of the United States of America never ceases to humble me, and also provide an extraordinary sense of responsibility.

So I am grateful to have this time to serve in this position. We all want to be good stewards of our capacity to pass on to those who come after the opportunity to use these rooms and to be part of the history that they represent. So for all of that we are each deeply grateful to you, the Patrons of Diplomacy. And on a personal note, I want to thank one more person for coming, a colleague in the Cabinet of mine, Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who is here. (Applause.)

If you’re dealing with health care as I can attest from experience, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan – they seem easy in comparison. (Laughter.) But we are delighted Kathleen could join us, and, of course, she has the best seat in the house some would argue, sitting next to Michael Douglas, who’s been either referenced or introduced about five times. (Laughter.) But Michael, thank you for being here as well.

So as you leave this evening, we promised that it would be an evening that you would remember, but not be here for breakfast. (Laughter.) And so we have tried to keep to that promise and to give you a chance to be with those like you who support this work and understand its importance. We are all deeply, deeply grateful and we’ll gather again in 10 years for the 60th anniversary, assuming that then Secretary of State invites us all back. But for all of us, and those who could not be here with us thank you, good evening, and god speed. (Applause.)

# # #

PRN: 2011/1828