(Washington, DC) “Forging a new NATO in the 21st century will help fulfill the commitment and the struggle that many of you in this room engaged in over the last 50 years,” said President Clinton at a White House ceremony on March 20, 1998 during which he called on the Senate to promptly ratify NATO expansion. President Clinton continued by stating that, “Remember, this [Bosnia]was one of the largest, single operational deployments of American troops in Europe since World War II. It was staged from a base in Taszar, Hungary. It simply would not have happened as swiftly, smoothly, or safely without the active help and support of Hungary.”
Senator Roth (R-DE), Chairman of the Senate NATO Observer Group, remarked that “NATO enlargement will eliminate immoral and destabilizing lines in Europe, a division established by Stalin and perpetuated by the Cold War.”
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Shelton, National Security Advisor Samuel L. Berger, among others, addressed top national security officials, key senators, foreign diplomats and representatives of ethnic, veteran, business, and religious groups who endorse the expansion of NATO to include Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. The Hungarian American Coalition was represented by board member Anne Bader and executive board member Frank Koszorus, Jr.
Reflecting on the decision by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MISS) to postpone further debate on NATO until other bills are considered, Mr. Koszorus noted that “the Senate should swiftly ratify enlargement considering the vital security interests that are involved. If the vote is delayed until the Hungarian national elections in early May, steps must be taken to prevent the Senate vote to be used as a political football in Hungary.”