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Address to the Annual Convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), New York City, July 13, 1999.
Thank you, Mr. Shelton, for that introduction. President Mfume, Chairman Bond, Mrs. Myrlie Evers Williams, Representative Conyers, Rev. Genevise-Tweed, Ms. Louise Simpson, Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, members of the Board, and members of the NAACP: Good morning to you all. I am delighted to be here.
I am proud to have with me my colleague Johnnie Carson, America's next Ambassador to Kenya, and Peter Burleigh, our Ambassador to the United Nations. And I am pleased to see so many young people. The NAACP is 90 years old, but clearly your eyes are focused on the next 90 years. In that spirit, can I do a little recruitment? I hope that some of you here today will consider joining the Foreign Service or encourage others to do so. I can testify that it is a great honor to represent the United States.
As for the A.R.C. Gospel Choir, your singing brings to mind the saying that music is the sound of God breathing in and out. May your voices never lose their strength or their power to inspire.
I appreciate deeply the chance to speak with you this morning, because your 90 years of hard work have made your name a synonym for justice. Year in and year out, you have helped America to confront its contradictions and move closer to its ideals.
And your message has been heard far beyond classrooms and courtrooms here at home. The NAACP long ago went global.
Your founding inspired the creation of the African National Congress. And you helped forge an invaluable partnership between the people of the United States and the people of Africa. It is this partnership that I would like to discuss this morning. I do so at a time when the United States and NATO have made a big commitment in southeast Europe to reverse ethnic cleansing, return refugees, and help a war-tom society to rebuild. That is the right approach for Kosovo and the Balkans.
In the wake of that commitment, it is no surprise that some of you are asking--and comparisons are being made with our policy toward Africa. But no one would say that we must do the same thing everywhere. And no reasonable person would say that we should have done less in Kosovo because we could not do the same everywhere.
It is true that we have been able to do far more to end conflicts in Europe than in Africa. In Europe the United States has allies to …