Kathleen O'Toole, News Service (650) 725-1939; e-mail: email@example.com
Albright seeks to enlist scholars' help in lobbying Congress
In an effort to gain leverage with isolationist members of Congress, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright brought her case for passage of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and President Clinton's foreign affairs budget request to a cosmopolitan crowd at the Hoover Institution Oct. 6.
The daughter of once exiled Czech diplomat Joseph Korbel, Albright also peeked into the Hoover Archives to take a look at her father's papers. Korbel spent part of 1974 on campus researching a book in the archives.
Albright, a former Georgetown University professor, spoke to a luncheon gathering of 125 Stanford and Hoover scholars, students and other guests of Hoover in Stauffer Auditorium. The event was planned less than two weeks ago and coincided with the opening of a conference in Vienna where diplomats from countries who have signed the test ban treaty are meeting to decide what to do if the United States and other nuclear powers don't get on board.
"The United States is there, but only as an observer," Albright said of the Vienna conference. "That is simply not right."
Flanked by two fellow Democrats her predecessor Warren Christopher, who oversaw negotiations of the treaty, and former Secretary of Defense William Perry Albright later met in a Hoover courtyard with reporters. She was asked to comment on Washington press reports that both Democrat and Republican leaders were trying to put off the treaty vote out of fear Senate Republicans would reject it.
Albright pleaded for Senate hearings to "better inform the public" on the treaty's benefits to U.S. security and repeated twice that "a no vote is a vote for testing everywhere in the world." It would "send a very bad signal," she said, "in terms of the diplomatic activity I must carry on with India and Pakistan, and in the discussions with our NATO allies who are in favor of it."
Christopher, a former president of Stanford's Board of Trustees, stressed that the U.S. drive against nuclear proliferation began under Republican President Eisenhower and would continue to be one of the country's priorities even if the Senate won't vote for the treaty. Perry pointed out that the joint chiefs of staff have supported the treaty. In addition, he said that although he could not guarantee North Korea would sign the treaty, the treaty would not go into full force until it does. Perry is a Stanford professor who is currently leading a reassessment team for the administration on U.S. policy toward North Korea.
Absent from the gathering were two prominent campus Republican voices on foreign policy. Former Secretary of State George Shultz was traveling out of the country, and Condoleezza Rice, a Hoover fellow and Stanford professor who is advising George W. Bush's campaign, was also out of town.
Hoover Fellow Larry Diamond, a student of democratization processes in other countries, suggested to Albright that bipartisan support for foreign policy ended with the Cold War, and he asked what could be done to revive it.
"You have put your finger on the major problem," Albright responded. During the Cold War, she said, foreign aid was used to "seduce countries to our side." But the security issues now are "more complex because of their interdependencies and they take more study time. I am quite shocked by the language of some of the people I have worked closely with in the Republican Party when they talk about slashing foreign aid and feeling that they have done a favor to the country. . . . The public has to go to its elected officials and say that a great country cannot carry on [this way]," she said.
Coit Blacker, associate director of the Institute for International Studies and a former Clinton adviser on Russia and Eastern Europe, suggested to her that press reports of corruption in Russia and Moscow's alleged siphoning off of International Monetary Fund loans did not help her case for foreign aid.
"The issue of corruption is plaguing the international system," she conceded, but "it cannot be turned into an excuse" for reducing U.S. involvement in world affairs. There has been "no corroboration" that IMF funds were misused, she said, and the U.S. "can account for what goes through its bilateral [aid] system."
The budget controversy in Washington revolves around many issues, such as education and health care, she said, but "the best leaders of both parties . . . know that American diplomacy belongs on the short list of budget priorities. . . and it should be a starting point in [budget] negotiations."
Albright hinted she would like to come back to Hoover Archives to finish a second book that her father started researching there about Czechoslovakian legionnaires who passed through Russia on the eve of the Communist Revolution. When Albright was a child, Korbel took his family to Great Britain to avoid Nazi aggression and later became a professor of international relations at the University of Denver.
"My father's dirty little secret was he planned to retire here, so you can just ask his daughter [to do so]," Albright joked.
By Kathleen O'Toole