Secretary Clinton Hosts the Swearing-in Ceremony for Joe Macmanus, U.S Representative to the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna and the International Atomic Energy Agency
Secretary of State
Chief of Protocol
The video below is available with closed captioning on YouTube
As Ambassador Marshall has said, we are delighted to be joined by a small percentage of Joe’s family – (laughter) – starting with his wife Carol and his son Chris, who also serves here at the State Department, continuing that family tradition, and brothers and sisters and in-laws and nieces and grand-nieces, and it’s just fabulous to have you all here. And as Joe said, it’s a large Irish Catholic American family, so when you meet one, you can call them Joe, Mary, Chris, Pat – (laughter).
I also want to acknowledge members of Joe’s work family, and there are so many here today, including those from the Bureau of Legislative Affairs where Joe has served multiple tours, including most recently as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, everyone from the Office of the Secretary, both past and present. Several generations of Special Assistants are here today, because, as many have conveyed to me, working with Joe was one of the great experiences of their lives. And that really says it all. People love to work with Joe Macmanus.
I met Joe right at the start of my time as Secretary. He had served for the last six months or so as Executive Assistant to Secretary Rice before me, and I had heard excellent things about him, but coming into the building, not knowing anybody, knowing that we would have to work closely together, I just wanted to get my own assessment. Well, little did I know Joe wanted to get his own assessment, too. (Laughter.) So we’re sitting there kind of eyeing each other. Is this someone we wanted to work with closely? Is this someone we wanted to travel with around the world? Is this someone that we could rely on? So Joe sat down to talk to my chief of staff and counselor, Cheryl Mills, and me. And literally within seconds, we knew the answers to our questions were yes. It took longer for Joe to decide. (Laughter.)
But it was clear from the start that Joe is a special kind of person, calm, collected, impeccable judgment, just the person you want in charge of the non-stop blur of activity that is our office. He’s also warm and gracious and tries to put people at ease, and he does say things he thinks are funny, which we all go along with. (Laughter.) I mean, everybody has their little flaws. (Laughter.) And in a burst of enthusiasm one day, Joe said to me, “I did not know what to expect when you became Secretary. I mean, I’d heard all these things about you.” I said, “Yeah, I know.” (Laughter.) I said, “But Joe, you can’t believe everything you read in here. You’ve got to stop listening to talk radio.” (Laughter.)
And I told him that I was so happy he had made the decision to stay on with me. And I said, “Look, you’re not only a great Foreign Service officer. It’s really clear that you’re one of the guys.” And Joe looked crestfallen. I said, “Well, what’s the matter?” He goes, “Well, am I not also one of the girls?” (Laughter.) Well, he’s been great on every count for the last four years.
Now, we did come to quickly realize there are two Joes – there’s the office Joe and the road Joe. Now, Carol, I hope I don’t get him into trouble about any of this. Now, both Joes are – how shall I put this – a little quirky. (Laughter.) Office Joe prefers a monastic environment, no decorations of any kind, not even the glorious view of the Lincoln Memorial outside his window. The blinds are always drawn because that room is for work and work alone. He doesn’t even eat in there. (Laughter.) It’s too unprofessional. (Laughter.) When he needs to refuel – and we know, this, Joe – he sneaks into the autopen closet off the kitchen – (laughter) – to scarf down a Kashi bar. (Laughter.)
But Road Joe – now, Road Joe is a looser kind of guy. (Laughter). Road Joe calls himself “the Mayor of Staff Van 2.” (Laughter.) He seeks adventure. (Laughter). He narrates nonsensical English translations of Korean television shows in Moscow – (laughter) – to confuse whoever is eavesdropping on us. (Laughter.) He urges motorcade drivers to floor it because he lives in fear of missing planes. He refuses to give in to jet lag so he takes micro naps, sometimes standing up at strategic intervals to stay on Washington time so he is refreshed to work, to chat, to joke, to help. And the rest of us are so worn out because he can be chirpy at the most inconvenient times. (Laughter.)
So both Office Joe and Road Joe are exacting about the quality of material that his team sends to me. He pores over every piece of paper that comes to our office, every speech, every briefing memo, to make sure every word, every comma, everything is right about it. And when an occasional mistake happens, as it does even with a staff as talented as ours, he will talk through with a special assistant or whomever, for as long as it takes to have someone understand what should have been done. He is simply a phenomenal teacher and mentor.
And I guess, for me, that may be one of the greatest contributions Joe has made, because I have heard so many stories of the kindness he has shown to young people who have worked on our team over the years. They remember how Joe made them practice walking into my office so they would do it with confidence – (laughter) – how Joe stuck up for them when somebody unfairly made a comment. They treasure Joe’s encouraging emails. They are literally read over and over again, and it has made a huge difference to morale and productivity.
So now Office Joe is hitting the road. Now, we believe in expeditionary diplomacy. It’s just unfair that people don’t accept that we need to send our people into dangerous, difficult environments. And Vienna – Vienna – is at the top of my list of concerns. (Laughter.) This is a real hardship post. (Laughter.) He’s going to have to learn and like wearing white tie. He’ll have to show up and even waltz at the opera ball. (Laughter.) Sometimes the stores only carry three kinds of tortes. (Laughter.) The Ambassador’s residence hardly gets any southern light. (Laughter.) It took a lot to convince Joe to go. (Laughter.)
But seriously, we’re sending him to a post that is so critical right now. It’s on the front lines of all of our efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, to hold Iran accountable for refusing to live up to its international obligations. No challenge is more urgent, and we know Joe will be working closely with the Director General, his counterparts from partner countries, to ensure that the IAEA inspectors thoroughly monitor Iran’s nuclear activities. And as our voice on the Board of Governors, he will keep up the diplomatic pressure.
Sending him is not only smart, it’s very much right because although we’re going to miss him, his humor and his big heart, his pension for translating random English phrases into Polish, hearing endless reminiscences about growing up in Buffalo which I love, and even about his old car that he named Dieter – (laughter) – we will not miss your obsession about Notre Dame. (Laughter.) (Applause.) I mean, really, Joe. There are two kinds of people in the world – those who love Notre Dame, and the vast majority of the billions of people who live on this planet who do not. (Laughter.)
I grew up in such a family in the larger majority of the world’s population. (Laughter.) Now tomorrow, Notre Dame is playing Boston College. The last time you were undefeated, ten years ago, you lost to Boston College. So I know where you’ll be tomorrow. (Laughter.) Actually, Joe is not the first Notre Dame man to serve as the Ambassador to the IAEA. Father Hesburgh, the revered president of Notre Dame for 35 years, served as a Vatican’s representative to the IAEA from 1956 to 1970. In fact, Father Hesburgh signed the treaty that established the agency. Notre Dame is everywhere. (Laughter.) And I want to make sure that we send you off right.
Okay. Although Father Hesburgh was appointed by a Pope, you’ve got me and the President. (Laughter.) He was a priest, you are a layman, but you follow in his very big footsteps. And all of our love and gratitude goes with you. And just so you’re not lonely, and I’m sure you’ll be up all night – (laughter) – properly attired on the internet – (applause) – a coffee cup for the French-pressed coffee you make yourself – (laughter) – a supply of Kashi bars to get started – (laughter) – (inaudible) picked up by diplomatic pouch in Vienna, and of course, your very own Notre Dame football. (Applause.)
So now, if you’re ready, Ambassador-to-be, let’s swear you in.
AMBASSADOR MACMANUS: (Inaudible.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah, I --
AMBASSADOR MACMANUS: (Inaudible.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: I would probably get some kind of complaint from somebody, which – (laughter) – we would ignore, but still we don’t want to get it.
(The oath was administered.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Congratulations. (Applause.)
AMBASSADOR MACMANUS: (Inaudible.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: I worried about that.
AMBASSADOR MACMANUS: Well, I’m not going to look at my watch, but I know the Secretary is on a tight schedule, and I told her that depending up on how this went, I was going to stretch this out so she’d have to leave and I’d own the microphone. (Laughter.) Because there are a number of things that I think I need to correct, but – (laughter) – I do have formal remarks. I do want to make them. I spent enough time working on them that I think they deserve to be read at least once . . .
Madam Secretary, Ambassador Marshall, and our NRC Chairman Macfarlane, thank you for being here today. Of course, my wife Carol, our son Chris, my brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces joining with us here today, to Jack and Ellen Krumbach and other members of our far-flung family who could not be here – and yes, there are more of us – (laughter) – colleagues and friends, thank you all for your warm greeting.
Madam Secretary, the first disappointment an ambassador faces is to learn that you only get three to five minutes for these remarks. (Laughter.) Chris helpfully reminded me that most of my voicemail messages are longer than three to five minutes. (Laughter.) I think my staff could confirm that as well. So I will be regrettably brief. Madam Secretary, your remarks, your extensive comments, were heartfelt. A couple missed the mark. (Laughter.) I’ve been told by Stratcomm that I have until noon to put forward any clarifications – (laughter) – before this goes up on the website, so I did take notes.
Madam Secretary, today marks the end of a nomination process that stretched nearly a year. It should have been as easy as 1-2-3, but as some of you know – (laughter) – as some of you know, sometimes 1-2-3 isn’t that easy. (Laughter.) But with your support and your leadership, Madam Secretary, we have now come to this good place, and I’m grateful for all that you and others did in helping move my nomination forward.
Of course, no nomination process, lengthy or short, is without lingering anxieties. For instance, I keep having this recurring nightmare that it’s January and the entire seventh floor has moved in with us in Vienna. (Laughter.) Now we’re happy to receive guests – in fact, so much so that, thanks to Kris Balderston, the residence in Vienna is now part of the Starwood Alliance of hotels. (Laughter.) Chris had two reminders: Book early, and no, we don’t take government rates. (Laughter.)
Madam Secretary, while today marks my first day as an ambassador, it’s also my last day in your office, and if this moment is bittersweet, such an unadorned sentiment cannot begin to capture the experiences of the last four years. From earliest days, you genuinely received my contributions, however modest, as of real value. Thank you again for this opportunity to serve.
I began this day as I have so many others, in steadfast partnership with my wife Carol. Now this is somebody who knows what it’s like to live with a nominee for 13 months. (Laughter.) So we will depart for Vienna in the coming weeks, and as we go, we will go as we always have – our hands clasped together, wading now into a rising tide of Viennese pastry cream and high-density lipids – (laughter) – and we will thrive. (Laughter.)
Many of you here today are long-time associates from Public Diplomacy, from Legislative Affairs, from my years in the Secretary’s office. Others are newer colleagues from international organizations and the arms control and disarmament bureaus that are central to the work of the mission I assume today. While I might fail to mention each of you by name, I could never lose sight of the help you have given me, and I will continue to rely on your help as I begin this new assignment.
Madam Secretary, you and the President have placed great confidence in me to lead the UNVIE mission in Vienna. It comprises a unique team of experts and diplomats from State, from the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the national labs, universities, and elsewhere. And they share a common purpose – to advance the Administration’s leadership in advocating policies and actions that secure verifiable nonproliferation in all states.
I’m eager to take up this charge, mindful of the nonproliferation commitment that you and the President have not only eloquently articulated, but insisted upon. I follow in the steps of Ambassador Davies and his predecessors and others who have served there, and I look forward to working with Congress closely on all these issues.
In closing, Madam Secretary, I want to extend a heartfelt word, however brief, to your senior staff and colleagues, Deputy Secretaries Bill Burns and Tom Nides, Under Secretaries Wendy Sherman and Pat Kennedy, and the under secretaries and assistant secretaries who are the backbone of our diplomacy. When I got things right for you, Madam Secretary, it was because I got things straight from them.
Let me add a grateful word to all who worked in your inner office during these past four years and the 10 special assistants who came to us, two by two, for exhausting one-year tours and then went on to apply the lessons they learned in this unique experience throughout the Department and abroad. They were stars, they are stars, one and all.
And finally, a very special word of gratitude and farewell to Cheryl Mills, to Huma Abedin, and to Jake Sullivan. It was a challenge to keep up with you; it was a success to get a word in edgewise – (laughter) – and what a benefit you were to me and my work. I hope that benefit was returned. It was always intended for the same good cause.
Thank you all. (Applause.)
AMBASSADOR MARSHALL: Well, on behalf of the Ambassador and his entire family, we thank you for joining us for this very special ceremony. We will now have a receiving line in front of the podium so that you can offer your own personal congratulations. Thank you so much.
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