Presidential Radio Address - 7 February 1998
Good morning. Today I am pleased to be joined by an honored guest of our Nation, Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom. We are speaking to you from the Map Room in the White House, where more than half a century ago President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill charted our path to victory in World War II.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, that was no ordinary time. But neither is the new era we are entering. At home, we must prepare all our citizens to succeed in the information age. And abroad, we must not only take advantage of real new possibilities but combat a new nexus of threats, none more dangerous than chemical and biological weapons and the terrorists, criminals, and outlaw states that seek to acquire them.
As we face the challenges of the 21st century, the alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom remains unshakable. I'd like to ask Prime Minister Blair to say a word about what we have achieved together this week.
[Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom.] Thank you. And thank you for asking me to share in your weekly address to the American people.
Britain and America have so much in common: language, values, belief in family and community, and a real sense of national pride. We share many problems, too, and it has been clear from our discussions that we are agreed, in general terms, about some of the solutions.
You took the tough decisions needed for long-term economic stability. We are doing so. You have focused on education, welfare reform, anew approach to crime. So are we. Together, we are breaking down boundaries of left and right and creating a new politics of the radical center.
But no issue has been more pressing in our discussions than the threat to world peace and stability posed by Saddam Hussein. I stand foursquare with you in our determination to bring Saddam into line with the agreement he made at the end of the Gulf war. This is a man who has already compiled sufficient chemical and biological weapons to wipe out the world's population.
When he invaded Kuwait, people could see easily a wrong being committed. But what he is doing now, in continuing to defy the international community, in continuing to develop his program for weapons of mass destruction, is potentially far more dangerous. Simply, he must be stopped.
We are pursuing all the diplomatic avenues open to us. But if they fail and force is the only way to get him into line, then force must be used. If that happens, Britain will be there, as we have been in the past, at the forefront in our determination to uphold international peace and security.
[President Clinton.] Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. On Iraq, as on so many issues, the United States and Britain speak with one voice.
Since the end of the Gulf war, the United Nations inspectors in Iraq have done a remarkable job. They have found and destroyed 38,000 chemical weapons, more than 100,000 gallons of the agents used in those weapons, 48 missiles, 30 warheads specially fitted for chemical and biological weapons, and a large plant for producing deadly biological agents on a massive scale.
But their job is not yet done. Iraq continues to conceal chemical and biological weapons and missiles that can deliver them. And Iraq has the capacity to quickly restart production of these weapons. The United States and Britain are determined to prevent Saddam Hussein from threatening the world with weapons of mass destruction again. Now, the best way to do that is to get the inspectors back on the job, with full and free access to all the sites, so they can root out whatever else needs to be destroyed and then continue to monitor suspect sites. It's up to Saddam to make that happen. If he doesn't, we must be—and we are—prepared to act. As we speak, the British aircraft carrier Invincible is patrolling the waters of the Persian Gulf with America's 5th Fleet. United with our allies abroad, we are also united here at home. I thank the many Republicans and Democrats who have expressed strong support for our stand against this menace to global security. No one should doubt our resolve.
Throughout the 20th century, the alliance between the United States and Britain made all the difference between tyranny and freedom, chaos and security. Now, we are turning to face the challenges of a new century. And together, we will again prevail.
Thanks for listening.