Clinton Visits USS Fitzgerald in Manila

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2011 — Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton vis­it­ed the crew of the USS Fitzger­ald in Mani­la today as she com­mem­o­rat­ed the 60th anniver­sary of the U.S.-Philippines Mutu­al Defense Treaty.

Clin­ton not­ed the vast­ly dif­fer­ent world the two coun­tries faced when the treaty was signed in 1951. Their sol­diers had fought togeth­er in World War II, and the two coun­tries again were unit­ed against the spread of com­mu­nism.

“This treaty was a tes­ta­ment that we stood unit­ed against the chal­lenges of a dan­ger­ous world,” Clin­ton said. “Our hope was that we could pur­sue the peace togeth­er. And that com­mon devo­tion to peace has sus­tained our alliance through the years.”

Over the past six decades, the treaty “has pro­vid­ed for our com­mon defense and helped to cre­ate coop­er­a­tion between our two coun­tries,” she said, “not only mil­i­tary coop­er­a­tion, but also polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic, and not only between gov­ern­ments, but most impor­tant­ly, between our peo­ple.”

Clin­ton empha­sized the need for the treaty to stand up to cur­rent threats such as weapons pro­lif­er­a­tion and ter­ror­ism.

The Unit­ed States and its Philip­pine allies are eval­u­at­ing ways to update the alliance � like oth­er alliances in the region — to ensure they are “nim­ble, adap­tive [and] flex­i­ble” to “deliv­er results in this new world,” she said.

Clin­ton under­scored the need as part of that effort for the treaty to pro­vide the col­lec­tive defense capa­bil­i­ties and com­mu­ni­ca­tions infra­struc­ture capa­ble of deter­ring provo­ca­tion from a full spec­trum of state, as well as non­state, actors.

She not­ed, for exam­ple, the need to sup­port the Philip­pines in the mar­itime domain as it improves its ter­ri­to­r­i­al and inter­dic­tion capa­bil­i­ties. In August, the Unit­ed States trans­ferred a Coast Guard cut­ter to the Philip­pines and is con­sid­er­ing trans­fer­ring a sec­ond one, she said.

“We must ensure that this alliance remains strong, capa­ble of deliv­er­ing results for the peo­ple of the Philip­pines, the Unit­ed States and our neigh­bors through­out the Asia-Pacif­ic [region],” Clin­ton said.

The sec­re­tary paid trib­ute to the Fitzger­ald crew as an exam­ple of the close rela­tion­ship between the two coun­tries’ mil­i­taries.

The Arleigh Burke class guid­ed mis­sile destroy­er tran­sit­ed with the Philip­pine navy’s new flag­ship, Gre­go­rio del Pilar, dur­ing its maid­en voy­age across the Pacif­ic this sum­mer, she not­ed. Over the course of 16 days, the crews trained togeth­er in emer­gency response and onboard med­ical pro­ce­dures.

“By the end of the exer­cis­es, the offi­cers and crews onboard both ves­sels achieved new lev­els of pro­fi­cien­cy and part­ner­ship,” Clin­ton said.

“That is just one exam­ple of the work we do every day togeth­er, not only between our mil­i­taries and our gov­ern­ments, our diplo­mat­ic corps, but between our busi­ness­es, our uni­ver­si­ties and our cit­i­zens,” she said. “As always, the foun­da­tion of what we do is real­ly based on the ties con­nect­ing our peo­ples.”

Clin­ton called it an hon­or to meet the Fitzger­ald crew and thank them on behalf of the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

“You pro­tect us faith­ful­ly and coura­geous­ly, often from far­away cities or remote cor­ners of the ocean,” she said. “And it’s been a great hon­or of my life to be able to work with you to ensure that you’re giv­en the sup­port and the treat­ment you deserve from a grate­ful nation.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)