Hungarian American Coalition Meets with White House Officials

Representatives of the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC), an organization representing more than 20 million Americans, met with Samuel R. Berger, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. on Thursday, October 10, 1996 to discuss the Clinton Administration’s position on NATO expansion and its vision relating to the overall security for the region. Daniel Fried, Senior Director for East Central Europe at the National Security Council also attended the one hour meeting at the White House.

Mr. Berger said that President Clinton was committed to NATO enlargement and that the President wants to build on our relations with the emerging democracies of Central Europe. Mr. Berger unequivocally stated that the protection of national minorities is an important factor in evaluating a country’s readiness for NATO membership.

Frank Koszorus, Jr., of the Hungarian American Coalition stressed the necessity of having President Clinton publicly announce that if reelected he will undertake every effort to obtain the consensus of our allies to finalize the first stage of NATO expansion before the end of his second term in office.

Other questions asked of Mr. Berger concerned reports that Secretary of Defense, William Perry was quoted in Bergen as approving the Russian request that NATO enlargement be postponed until agreement is reached over strategic cooperation between the Russians and NATO. Mr. Berger stated emphatically that this report was false, and stressed that Russia will have no veto over NATO matters. Russia has to accept the reality that NATO will be enlarged, Mr. Berger noted. He also stated that most of the answers to questions on exactly how and when NATO enlargement will proceed will be decided at the summit meeting which is to be called in the spring..

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