Ambassadors to and from France speak at dinner marking conference on Europe-America ties

Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Dennis L. Bark
Dennis L. Bark

A former U.S. ambassador to France and France’s current ambassador to the United States both offered comments at a dinner Tuesday that was part of “A Conversation on America and Europe: Common Interests and Uncommon Challenges” conference at the Hoover Institution.

Howard Leach, the U.S. ambassador to France from 2001 to 2005, commented on the longtime friendship and alliance of the two countries. “They helped us before we were a country,” he said. “And they were the first country to recognize us as a nation. We [the United States] have repaid them several times. And while we don’t always agree, we have always been friends and, in my view, we will always be friends.”

Pierre Vimont, France’s ambassador to the United States, noted that France will take the presidency of the European Union later this year and looks forward to working with the new U.S. presidential administration in 2009.

“I can testify to the change going on in France,” he said, referring to the Sarkozy administration and its efforts to slash spending and taxes. “France is definitely moving back on track to be in the mainstream of the world.”

Vimont spoke earlier in the day about the importance of keeping U.S. and European alliances strong. His visit to Hoover concluded a three-day tour of California during which he met with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and other officials.

The conference also included comments from Dennis Bark, Hoover senior fellow, who organized and moderated the conference; Gerhard Casper, senior fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford; Patrick Chamorel, senior resident scholar, Stanford in Washington; Diete Dettke, adjunct professor, Georgetown University; Stephen Krasner, Hoover senior fellow; Richard Morningstar, American ambassador to the European Union, 1999–2001; Hugo Paeman, European Union ambassador to the United States, 1995–99; Henry Rowen, Hoover senior fellow; Rodrigo de Rato, managing director, International Monetary Fund, 2004–7; John Shoven, Hoover senior fellow; and Sam Wells, associate director, Woodrow Wilson Center.