Tags: US | US | Diplomacy

Former Top Diplomats Defend Foreign Affairs Budget

Tuesday, 27 Apr 2010 12:08 PM

One issue that unites all secretaries of state of either party is maintaining a strong U.S. profile in world affairs.

All eight living secretaries of state have reaffirmed this, signing a joint letter urging Congress not to slash President Barack Obama's proposed $58.5 billion foreign affairs budget. They called the request critical to America's security and global presence.

The letter was sent to the Hill after the Senate Budget Committee stripped $4 billion from the spending plan last week. The former top diplomats from Democratic and Republican administrations dating to 1973 argued that full funding of the spending plan is essential.

"Increasing the investment in our civilian international capabilities will keep America safer by, among other things, addressing the root causes of terrorism and extremism, supporting key allies, and demonstrating America's proud tradition of global leadership," they wrote.

"We urge you to support the funding level proposed by President Barack Obama for the International Affairs Budget and to oppose any effort to cut that request," the letter said. "This is one area where Democrats and Republicans can agree and should come together to help ensure a more secure and prosperous future for our nation."

The letter was released Tuesday by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a network of foreign policy experts that has advocated for greater spending on international affairs programs.

It was signed by former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger from the Nixon and Ford administrations, George Shultz from the Reagan administration, James A. Baker III and Lawrence Eagleburger from the first Bush administration, Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright from the Clinton administration, and Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice from the second Bush administration.

Current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have weighed in with similar appeals as Congress discusses the administration's funding requests for all government agencies.

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