Some of the most distinguished Americans - Democrats
and Republicans like Daniel Patrick Moynihan, George H.W. Bush,
and Henry Cabot Lodge - have served with honor in this position.
Yet, there is one man from my home state of Illinois
whose experience as Permanent Representative is quite relevant today.
Adlai Stevenson served in this position during the
Cuban Missile Crisis. And, as we all know, it was Stevenson's presentation
to the U.N. Security Council that proved to the world that the Soviets
were moving intermediate range missiles into Cuba. Using charts
and photos to build a compelling case, Stevenson declared to Soviet
Ambassador Zorin that he was prepared to wait "until Hell freezes
over" for Zorin's response to the U.S. charges.
What few people remember is that Stevenson's presentation
came on the heels of what one might call an "intelligence failure."
A year earlier, Stevenson had been misled by the White House and
the CIA into publicly stating that the United States was not behind
the Bay of Pigs invasion. Stevenson almost resigned over the incident.
This series of events is important to keep in mind
today. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, we were able to succeed
diplomatically because of the stature and integrity of our Permanent
Representative to the United Nations. In fact, President Kennedy
said that, "the integrity and credibility of Adlai Stevenson
constitute one of our greatest national assets."
As a result, Adlai Stevenson was able to get tough,
isolate the Soviets, and convince the world we were right.
Today, we face a similar situation. With the rest
of the world questioning our intelligence capabilities, and nuclear
proliferation threats from Iran to North Korea that may require
action by the U.N. Security Council, we must be able to convince
the world that we are right. Now, more than ever, we need a credible
messenger at the U.N.
Unfortunately, I have some serious reservations
about whether Mr. Bolton is the right man for the job:
First, senior U.S. intelligence officials have called
into question Mr. Bolton's credibility on statements he's made about
non-proliferation. There are also accusations related to political
pressure on intelligence analysts who did not agree with Mr. Bolton's
statements. Considering that he's the top arms control official
at the State Department, this is troubling to say the least.
Second, Mr. Bolton's history of inflammatory statements
about the U.N. would seem to make it more difficult for him to advance
U.S. interests at the U.N. I am concerned about whether Mr. Bolton
even believes the U.N. is a viable institution and a useful instrument
of U.S. foreign policy. Saying that it wouldn't make a difference
if you lop off ten floors of the UN building in New York isn't exactly
the best way to earn people's respect and support - whatever the
Finally, Mr. Bolton appears to have an overly confrontational
history with several member-states on the Security Council. Like
Adlai Stevenson, I believe there are times to be tough. But statements
like "I don't do carrots" coming from someone who wants
to be our chief diplomat at the U.N. certainly give me pause.
Mr. Chairman, there is no question that we need
someone in New York who is unafraid to shake things up and challenge
the status quo. But, we also need someone with the credibility,
temperament, and diplomatic skill to work with other nations, form
coalitions, and advance U.S. interests.
That is why I've invoked the memory of Adlai Stevenson
here today: he was tough; he was credible; he was diplomatic. Most
importantly, he was effective. Stevenson proved that we should not
make compromises or trade-offs when selecting our Representative
to the U.N.
I want to give Mr. Bolton a chance to speak on these
issues, and so my mind is not made up yet. I want to hear from him
as to how he can be an effective and credible advocate for the U.S.
I look forward to hearing his testimony and answers to the Committee's