Today the United States and the 34 other nations of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) begin a dialog that is unique in history. The military leaders of our respective countries will meet together in Vienna to discuss national military policies, forces, and budgets.
It is difficult to imagine a better time or forum for such a dialog. Six months ago the peoples of Eastern Europe embarked on a course of changing the governments which had for so long denied their legitimate rights and contributed to perpetuating the division of Europe. Those who are leading the forces for change frequently cite the principles of democratic process, economic justice, and personal freedom that were articulated by the 35 CSCE states at Helsinki 15 years ago. It is natural, then, to turn to the CSCE and to the forum in which we discuss confidence and security-building measures to initiate a dialog among military experts on issues that are key to building a stable European security architecture for the coming decades.
The President has asked the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Colin Powell, to make the first presentation in the Military Doctrine Seminar on behalf of the United States. His presence in Vienna is tangible evidence of our transatlantic commitment not just to security but to openness and dialog among nations as a means to bring about peaceful change and a secure future for all of our peoples. We look forward to a fruitful exchange among all participants in this historic meeting.