PRESS RELEASE from Hillary Clinton for President

December 7, 2007

Contact: Press Office

Statement on Letter by Former Ambassadors and Diplomats

The Clinton campaign is releasing a letter today signed by 32 former U.S. ambassadors and diplomats who served while Senator Clinton was First Lady that attests to her unique foreign policy experience.

During her tenure as First Lady, Senator Clinton traveled the world as a representative of the United States, meeting with Presidents and Prime Ministers, refugees and victims of war and genocide.  In her diplomatic role, she fought for human rights from China to Uganda to Kosovo, and helped pave the way for improved U.S. relations with countries such as India.

Having seen her activities first hand, these former diplomats and ambassadors write that Senator Clinton “is the candidate with the strength and experience to restore America’s standing in the world and to return the United States to a position of global leadership.”

The full letter follows below:

Letter from Former Diplomats and Ambassadors
on Senator Clinton’s Role as First Lady

            As diplomats and former Ambassadors who represented the United States to the rest of the world, we were personal witnesses to the important role Hillary Clinton played as First Lady in promoting American interests and values abroad.  During those eight years, in travels to over 80 countries, Hillary Clinton was America’s human face to people around the globe who looked to America as a beacon of inspiration, hope, and opportunity.

As First Lady, Hillary was a highly effective and passionate advocate on behalf of human rights around the world.  She met with the mothers and grandmothers of the disappeared in Argentina in 1997, survivors of the Rwandan genocide, and mothers of children kidnapped in Uganda. She advocated on behalf of women’s rights around the globe.  Perhaps most famously, in her historic speech at the UN Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, she declared that “women’s rights are human rights,” inspiring actions in every corner of the globe to raise the status of women.  Building on her overseas work, Hillary spearheaded U.S. efforts to combat human trafficking, and led the Vital Voices Democracy Initiative to support emerging women leaders who were advancing social, economic, and political progress in their respective countries.

Senator Clinton was also one of America’s most visible advocates for those struggling to gain the tools of opportunity.  She put a spotlight on U.S. development programs that were bringing solutions to global challenges. She recognized the potential of microfinance in creating self-sufficiency for the world’s poor, and she led efforts in the United States to fund microcredit programs in developing countries.

As First Lady she worked for reconciliation in the aftermath of wars and she led humanitarian efforts for Bosnia and on behalf of Kosovar refugees. She developed programs to aid the victims of war, including mine awareness in the Balkans, where land mines left over from the fighting were claiming the lives of innocent children, and she enlisted all sectors of society to aid in assisting the victims of the conflict. She supported the role of women in Northern Ireland in building the peace and creating a better life for their families.

Senator Clinton helped pave the way for important diplomatic initiatives.  Her 1995 trip to India, for example, helped foster good relations between the world’s two largest democracies.  She also played a leading role in supporting people in the new democracies from the former USSR to South America. She championed the important role of civil society and supported nascent nongovernmental organizations.

As former ambassadors and diplomats we believe the United States faces unprecedented challenges.  We need a President who will be ready to face them head on, beginning on Day 1. Senator Clinton’s diplomatic accomplishments as First Lady and her achievements in the Senate, including her service on the Senate Armed Services Committee, make her uniquely qualified to lead our nation at this time of great challenge.  She is the candidate with the strength and experience to restore America’s standing in the world and to return the United States to a position of global leadership.