Secretary Kerry Meets With Mission Indonesia Staff

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Grand Hyatt Bali
Bali, Indonesia
October 8, 2013


MS. BAUER: Welcome.

SECRETARY KERRY: Hi, Kristen. How are you? Nice to see you.

MS. BAUER: Hi, I’m well. Well, let me welcome everyone.

SECRETARY KERRY: Like an interview here. “How are you?” “I’m fine.” Right. (Laughter.)

MS. BAUER: As many of you know, I’m from Boston, Massachusetts, so it gives me special pleasure to introduce to you the man who represented my state for 28 years in the U.S. Senate. He’s of course our Secretary of State and has led us through this very successful APEC. Please join me in welcoming Secretary Kerry.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, Kristen. Thank you very, very much. (Applause.) I’m too far away here. I don’t want to come – I can’t even see you with these bright lights. Am I screwing up? Is this all right? It’s okay, you can do that? Now I feel closer, and this is like I’m talking to people. How are you?


SECRETARY KERRY: That’s fantastic. Isn’t it great that she’s from Boston, Massachusetts? (Laughter.) Yeah, I know. That’s not loud enough – yes, it’s great! I want to hear. (Cheers.) Anyway, I want you to know – she doesn’t know this, but she had the job that my father had at the Embassy in Oslo, Norway.

MS. BAUER: Oh, no, I didn’t know that.

SECRETARY KERRY: See? She was the political counselor there, political and economic affairs. And years ago, when I was in my teens, my dad was stationed as a Foreign Service Officer in Norway for a while, which we loved, and I’m sure you did too. Wasn’t it great? Yeah, it was fabulous.

Anyway, I am really happy to be here. And this also deserves applause - she just got promoted to Minister-Counselor, so that’s fabulous. (Applause.) Really excellent. And she’s doing a fabulous job as our charge, and shortly, Ambassador Bob Blake will be here as we get Washington doing what Washington is supposed to do, which is send people out to work and pay them, right, when they do it. It’s not a bad idea. By the way, did you all order your turkeys, those of you who – (laughter) – I know this is – you got your order in, didn’t you? I'm sorry, but I know you've been here working really hard. Thank you.

I guess it’s hard coming to Bali. Was it? (Laughter.) Whoa. Who’s laughing about that one? I know what goes into this. It’s really a tremendous amount of work, a conference like this. Thank you for making it really easy. Everything just worked so well. This is really one of the best international meetings I’ve been to, and I heard a lot of the other leaders saying how organized they thought it was and how effective. So we’re really grateful to all of you. Thank you very, very much, Embassy Jakarta, for doing so much for us here.

And thank you for – I know it was really hard when you were chosen to come to Bali for a few days, and you groaned and said, “I don’t want to,” right? No. You’re all happy, and I know it’s great. Did you get any time off? Anybody get to the beach? None at all? (Laughter.) We worked – all right.

PARTICIPANT: (Off-mike.)

SECRETARY KERRY: I beg your pardon.

PARTICIPANT: To breathe for a little bit.

SECRETARY KERRY: To breathe only a little bit. Well, thank you very, very much. I mean that. This is a special place. It’s pretty incredible to come out here. As I said the other day when I gave a speech that I worked very hard in 2004 to replace a president of the United States, but this is not what I had in mind coming here. (Laughter.) And I know President Obama very, very much regrets not being able to be here, but for all the obvious reasons, he’s back home and focused on the debt crisis and on the question of the government shutdown as he ought to be.

And I apologize to all of you. I am sorry for all the disruption, I’m sorry for the questions that it raises and that you have to answer about what’s going on in our government and at home, and I am particularly sorry that many of you are facing difficulties in terms of pay and what is going to happen over these next months and big question marks. So my apologies to you for what is not being decided and what is not happening that should be.

Obviously it was on the minds of many of the leaders that I met with and talked to, but I am convinced and I do believe that when we get beyond this, the presence of the United States in this region will be as strong as ever, that we will continue to do the rebalance to Asia. We are focused on this; we worked at length today on the TPP. We had a very strong meeting with very good results, and I promise all of you that your hard work and your devotion and commitment to this effort will pay off in the long run. So thank you very, very much for what you’re doing.

On another level, it is amazing to be in a country where so many young kids run around wearing a t-shirt with the President of the United States on it. It’s pretty amazing, and to have a president who can speak some local dialect and who has the kind of connection that he has here, you can just feel it in my conversations with the President that there’s a pride, and there’s a real sense of connection to the United States of America. And our relationship with Indonesia today because of the work that all of you do, because of the relationship with the President, because of the work that Indonesia has done with the United States in terms of environment, economy, our relationship, our security interests, military-to-military, all of these things are working really, frankly, better than they ever have. I’d say the relationship with Indonesia is as strong as it’s ever been and growing stronger.

So I thank every single one of you for being here. I think we have about 276 Americans assigned to the Embassy in Jakarta and about 1,400 or so local staff. All the local staff, raise your hands, please, those of you who are local. Thank you profoundly from all of us. (Applause.) We’re very, very grateful to you. Thank you very, very much.

So I want you to continue to be the optimists that brought you to this kind of mission in the first place. You’re all people who believe in making a difference. You believe in helping countries to come together, people to come together, bridge the gaps, create stability, build a future for all of us not just as Americans, but as global citizens, and I thank you very, very much for caring about that and being part of this great adventure. I look forward to saying hello to all of you now personally. Thank you very, very much. Look forward to it. (Applause.)


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PRN: 2013/T15-09