Secretary of State Colin Powell
Remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington D.C.
October 3, 2001

SECRETARY POWELL: It's a great pleasure for me and my colleagues to have hosted the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for lunch today. We have had an excellent discussion on a variety of issues, but especially the issue of terrorism and the actions that the United States Government has taken to respond to this challenge and to respond to the tragedy of September 11th.

I shared with the members of the Committee my satisfaction with the way in which the coalition has come together. And as President Bush has said, this will be a long campaign. We will be patient, we will be persistent, and we will prevail.

And I also expressed my thanks to the Chairman and the ranking member and the other members of the Committee for the strong support that they have provided to the Department since I became Secretary, and the strong support they are providing to us and to all the other Cabinet departments of government as we work through this crisis.

So Senator Biden, thank you for being here. Senator Helms, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.

SENATOR BIDEN: Mr. Secretary, thank you for having us. By way of brief explanation, the Secretary and I had a discussion about whether or not what the appropriate fora was for us to have a first detailed discussion with the Secretary about what was under way. And it was agreed -- suggested by the Secretary -- that we do an informal lunch down here. The Secretary has agreed to come up and appear before the Committee in public, but we thought this was an appropriate way to get as much detail as we could as rapidly as we could.

And we not only -- the Secretary not only expressed his thanks for what we are doing; we expressed our thanks for quite frankly -- absolutely unanimous, both parties -- for the fine work that the Secretary and his team and the President are doing. Most of us believe that the President has time. The American people understand the importance of making sure this gets done right. And so we indicated to the Secretary, on a bipartisan basis, that our support is real, and the way in which he has begun and undertaken this effort building the multinational coalition is important.

We also raised one thing, which we'll be speaking about later today, that this is important, that we not only demonstrate that we are able to take down Mr. bin Laden and al-Qaida, but that this is not about Islam; this is not about Muslims; this is not a war on anyone other than al-Qaida and those who support and sustain the undertakings of al-Qaida and Mr. bin Laden.

And toward that end, we discussed and talked about in broad strokes the aid that's already going to help the Afghani people, the refugee camps in surrounding countries and within Afghanistan, and the need to put together a broader coalition, probably under the mandate of the United Nations, but with our strong support of follow-on after this undertaking to take out Mr. bin Laden and his associates happens, which I believe it will.

So there was general agreement on almost everything that was discussed, and we appreciate the candor of the Secretary and his deputies in letting us know exactly what they're doing and what's under way.

And I now turn the microphone over to Senator Helms.

SENATOR HELMS: The Chairman speaks for all of us. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

QUESTION: Senator Biden, when you talk about a UN mandate, to which state are you referring? When you spoke about --

SENATOR BIDEN: I didn't say UN mandate. You didn't hear what I said. I said, after this is over, there was discussion and the strong belief on my part that the world should be part of rebuilding the region, and that this should not be something where we just give food aid in the near term and walk away in the future.

I indicated that I thought that would probably occur, and I hope under a UN mandate, after the fact, with strong US support. But there is a strong view that there should be a commitment on the part of the United States not to just go in and get rid of al-Qaida, not just go in and help right now with starving Afghanis, but to help with other nations in the future to deal with the serious economic problems, the serious food problems that are in the world now.

QUESTION: Does the Secretary share your opinion?