Meeting with Embassy Staff and Their Families
Secretary of State
AMBASSADOR BRZEZINSKI: Madam Secretary, our colleagues at the U.S. Embassy and your families, Natalia and I and the entire U.S. Embassy staff welcome you to our home, which is also your home. Madam Secretary, thank you for making this historic visit. This is the first visit to Sweden in more than 30 years by a U.S. Secretary of State, purely for the purpose of enhancing, deepening, and honoring the relationship between our two countries. And that's what makes it historic.
I am proud to tell you, Madam Secretary, that Swedish-American relations have never been stronger or warmer. Sweden is in the very front ranks with us in direct engagement with the immediate global problems we all confront. As you already know, our Swedish hosts are both honored and very pleased you are here. They welcome you with the same enthusiasm that we do. We are proud of you, Madam Secretary. We are proud of America. You are most welcome. It is really great to have you here.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Secretary of State. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, Mark, thank you. Thank you. Well, this is great to see all of you here this evening, and to have a chance to say thank you to all of you, beginning with the ambassador and Natalia and Aurora, who I just got to meet, for their energetic and passionate work on behalf of this important relationship between our two countries. And they do so much together, co-authoring a blog, recording a welcome video to Swedes, raising their daughter. It's a great team. And I want to express my appreciation to all the great teams. To those of you who are part of this important mission, I thank you for being part of the family of Embassy Stockholm. And your family members who serve with you, I am grateful to you. And I was delighted to see so many young people here when I walked in. And I want to acknowledge and thank the locally employed staff. We truly could not do our work without all of you.
Sweden is one of America's top partners, one of our oldest friends. When it comes to priorities, whether it is Afghanistan, Iran, counter-terrorism, global economic reform, humanitarian assistance, the Swedes are right by our side. And it is a relationship based on not only shared values, but more than 200 years of friendship and a big migration of Swedes to America. Because today the Foreign Minister was telling me something like one out of every five Swedes at the beginning of the last century actually lived in the United States. Having grown up in Chicago, like Natalia, I knew a lot of Swedish-Americans. So I am well aware that government-to-government relations are important, but it is truly the people-to-people relations that keep the connections.
I also want to thank you, because you were among the first embassies to actively reach out to bloggers. Now, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and I are great champions of Internet freedom. And he is, as you may know, a prolific blogger himself. And he has called this embassy's social media platform a model for his own government to follow.
I think that the work that you are doing on economic statecraft -- and I thank the ambassador for that -- the work you are doing to increase American and Swedish clean tech cooperation that reached agreement on $350 million in U.S. exports to Sweden and $8 billion of Swedish investment in the United States supports President Obama's export initiative, and helps us take on global warming.
The deal you closed with the Swedish Armed Forces for 15 new Black Hawk helicopters is another example. The training and logistical support -- we will provide those Black Hawks through our foreign military sales -- will help bring our militaries even closer together. I had the chance to meet with the new defense minister today, and I think there is a lot of work that she is interested in pursuing, as well.
Now, your embassy-in-a-box program, I love that idea. (Laughter.) It gives Swedes living outside of Stockholm a chance to learn about study abroad opportunities and so much more. And I want to thank everybody who helped prepare for this visit. It is true, as Mark said, that it has been, I think, 36 years since a U.S. Secretary of State has come just on a bilateral visit. So I want to thank you all, particularly my control officer, Anna Stinchcomb* -- I don't know where Anna is. (Applause.)
Now, I hope the weather is better and you celebrate Sweden's national day on Wednesday. The Prime Minister told me that yesterday was the coldest day in Sweden in 84 years. (Laughter.) It wasn't what I was expecting. But, nevertheless, we are always prepared to make ourselves flexible as we move forward. So, I am very pleased I had a chance to be here.
And now I just want to shake some hands. And if I can ask somebody where I should start, where should I start?
PARTICIPANT: This is from the children, State of Illinois.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, how cute is that? There is an Illinois map with a heart where Chicago is. That is so sweet, I will take that home. (Applause.)