Bill Clinton photo

Remarks at a United Nations Luncheon in New York City

September 21, 1998

Mr. Secretary-General, members of the Secretariat, President Opertti, fellow leaders, first let me thank the Secretary-General for his remarks and for his leadership and echo his remarks.

Franklin Roosevelt coined the term "United Nations." I think we all agree that we are more and more united with every passing year. We are more and more against the same things, but even more important, we are more and more for the same things. The United States has been a great beneficiary of the United Nations, and we honor the location of the United Nations here and the chance to be partners with all of you.

I would like to say just one particular word about the Secretary-General. I believe he has truly been the right leader for this time. In the United States we are ending the baseball season in our country, and here in New York there was once a great baseball figure named Leo Durocher whose most famous saying was "Nice guys finish last." Kofi Annan proves that Leo Durocher was wrong. He has proceeded with great kindness and decency. He has proved to all of us that change is possible and that, in his words, one can dare to make a difference. He has stood for human rights and peace. He has demonstrated both strength and courage and humility and infinite patience.

I thank him for embodying the best of what we all hope the world can become, for his leadership, for reform, for putting a good team in place, for lifting the morale of the people who work here on all our behalf. And I ask all of you to join me in a toast to the Secretary-General and the staff of the United Nations.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:50 p.m. in the North Delegates Lounge. In his remarks, he referred to U.N. General Assembly President Didier Opertti.

William J. Clinton, Remarks at a United Nations Luncheon in New York City Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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