The traveling 3-D (Diplomacy, Defense and Development) party had a full, three-pronged day in Samoa. The delegation headed by Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell included Admiral Patrick M. Walsh, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet; U.S. Agency for International Development Assistant Administrator Nisha Biswal; and Brigadier General Richard Simcock, Principal Director for South and Southeast Asia in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Upon arrival on Sunday evening (after crossing the dateline from Kiribati on Monday), Ambassador David Huebner hosted a dinner reception in honor of the delegation. Distinguished guests included the Deputy Prime Minister Honorable Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo Meredith and Minister of Environment Honorable Faamoetauloa Faale Tumaalii, members of civil society and government, and representatives of organizations the delegation would be meeting on Monday.
Monday began with Admiral Walsh, Assistant Secretary Campbell, Assistant Administrator Biswal, Brigadier General Simcock and Ambassador Huebner joining the Honorable Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, who is also Samoa's Foreign Minister, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials for a breakfast bilateral meeting.
The discussion ranged across a number of issues of mutual concern, including both regional issues and those specific to Samoa. One major topic was potential cooperation on renewable energy. The visitors also discussed specific support projects for Samoa, including funding for the Scientific Research Organization of Samoa's (SROS's) food certification research project to support economic development through exports, and two military funded projects to refurbish hospitals, the Leulumoega District Hospital in Upolu and the Tuasivi District Hospital on Savaii.
After the bilateral meeting the delegation divided into three separate programs under the key themes of development (led by Assistant Administrator Biswal), defense (led by Admiral Walsh), and diplomacy (led by Assistant Secretary Campbell), each meeting with local and regional counterparts in Samoa.
The Defense team's program started with a meeting with the Commissioner of Police and other police officials. There is no military in Samoa, so the police handle both national and maritime security issues. The police provided Admiral Walsh and Brigadier General Simcock with a briefing about their operation in Samoa and acknowledged the ongoing support for the Samoan Police from Department of Defense's International Military Education Training fund.
Their next stop was a visit to the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Center, where the briefing included how a regional organization, based in Samoa, interfaces with and coordinates information from around the region, and with law enforcement and security officials from around the world.
Assistant Administrator Biswal and a colleague from the Department of State Office over the Pacific, formed the development team. They went to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme where Biswal met with the acting director and other staff to discuss current and future areas of cooperation between USAID and SPREP.
From there Biswal traveled to the Scientific Research Organization of Samoa (SROS). Established by the Government of Samoa in 2006, SROS is intended to conduct research relevant to Samoan society, develop technologies and products that benefit the Samoan economy, and partner with public and private entities to address a variety of development, public health, environmental, and other challenges.
While those teams were away, Assistant Secretary Campbell spent the morning meeting with leaders of Samoan organizations that focus on social, media, environment, and development programs. The groups had all received financial assistance from the U.S. Embassy, and were there to share their successes with Assistant Secretary Campbell. The conversation then went on to additional needs and areas of potential future cooperation.
Prior to departing Apia, the delegation, along with the Ambassador and other staff from the Embassy, stopped to pay their respects at the World War II Memorial on Beach Road, in front of the Government Building. In a tribute to U.S. military heroes with ties to Samoa, the leaders of the delegation placed a wreath at the monument. After a moment of silence, the group headed toward Foleolo Airport, and the next leg of their adventure. Before leaving they expressed their gratitude to all those who helped make their program in Samoa useful, interesting, and pleasant, and said they looked forward to returning next year.