First Stop: London

Posted by Karen Maxfield
February 26, 2013
Secretary Kerry Tours the House of Commons Chamber at UK Parliament

On Sunday night, John Kerry arrived in London to begin his first overseas visit as Secretary of State, and we could not have been more pleased to welcome him to the United Kingdom for the inaugural leg of his journey. As he said in a press conference, it is no accident "the remarkable partner that is the United Kingdom" was selected as his first stop. This enthusiasm was shared by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, who tweeted a warm greeting to Secretary Kerry in honor of the "special" bilateral relationship.

The Secretary began the day by participating in a working breakfast with British Prime Minister David Cameron at Number 10 Downing Street, where the pair discussed U.S.-EU trade negotiations. Earlier this month, President Obama made it clear the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a top priority for the United States. Europe is already America's largest trading partner, and this agreement will create more jobs and spur additional investment.

Secretary Kerry followed breakfast with a tour of the Houses of Parliament, guided by House of Commons Speaker John Bercow and British Foreign Secretary William Hague. Secretary Kerry then met with senior British government officials, including Hague and MI-6 Chief John Sawers. Kerry and Hague discussed a number of areas of mutual interest, including Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, the Middle East peace process, and support for fragile democracies across the world. You can watch Secretary Kerry's joint press availability with Hague on YouTube, and view photographs of their visit on our Flickr account.

After concluding his meetings with senior British government officials, and before departing for Berlin, Secretary Kerry stopped by the U.S. Embassy to meet and greet embassy officials and their families and express his appreciation for their hard work and preparation for his visit.

Secretary continues his travel to Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar through March 6. You can follow his trip on



California, USA
February 26, 2013

Irv in California writes:

Why is the first stop always London? I thought we had declared our independence. Instead, over the past 20 years, we have allowed London to manipulate us into two senseless wars against Iraq, one long one in Afghanistan, one in Libya where we installed al-Qaeda in power, a proxy war in Syria where we are attempting to do the same, the list just goes on and on. And for what?

United States
February 26, 2013

Henry in the U.S.A. writes:

This recent commentary in India really says it all:

Tony N.
February 26, 2013

Dr. Tony N. in Georgia (U.S.A.) writes:

I just found this on Yahoo News, dated 2/26/13: "Secretary of State John Kerry offered a defense of freedom of speech, religion and thought in the United States on Tuesday telling German students that in America "you have a right to be stupid if you want to be." Well EXCUUSE ME, Mr. Secretary of State, who is supposed to represent America in the best possible way on the international scene. Oh, I'm sorry; you meant to portray that Americans had the right to say what they wanted. I guess that I am too "stupid" to understand the First Amendment of the Constitution, cherished by our founding fathers, that you swore to uphold. Or was this a backhanded slap at the Educational system in the US, attempting to function with little or no support? Or did you mean to allude (sorry about the big word, I guess I'm not as "stupid as you thought) that the "great unwashed" (a phrase coined by Thomas Wright in the 1800s)(oops ! my lack of "stupidity" is showing again, sorry) does not have your superior comprehension of what constitutes wisdom? In the past, if one of our ambassadors had made such a statement, he/she would have been immediately recalled by the President for making "stupid" comments on the international scene. I assume being the Secretary of State grants you special dispensation (sorry, I can't help using non- "stupid" vocabulary.) You may want to take this as a strong hint to do likewise.

New Mexico, USA
February 27, 2013

Eric in New Mexico writes:

"Why is it?", I gotta wonder sometimes...that folks get stuck on "stupid"?

A perfect case in point being that even the press in daily DoS briefing was wondering "in what context" Sec. Kerry was refering...and the short version interpretation courtesy of your's truly is as follows (folks are more than welcome to check the transcript...I have.)

While it is a matter of freedom of expression to dress up in a White KKK clown suit, or pose as Hitler clone to declare one's intolerance...most people in America would simply consider that to be downright STUPID in practice and thought.

But since the Constitution mandates tolerance of expression and belief, America as a democratic experiment sometimes finds itself in a bit of a catch-22 by being constitutionally tolerant of intolerance, while trying to maintain tolerance among the many, for each other.

I would have to say that as an evolving democratic experiment, we find ourselves in the post 9/11 era a decade on, having done pretty well in not over reacting to the actions of the intolerant towards us as a nation, by becoming intolerant ourselves towards a religion (Islam) that was hijacked and used by the intolerant to interpret its teachings for evil deeds upon fellow muslims and so-called infidels of other religions.

But we didn't go to war against Al Quaida because we as a nation are tolerant of intolerance, in fact and deed we are exactly the oposite of that and set about most resolutely to exact a high price on those who practiced their intolerant behavior in the form of terrorism upon the citizens of many nations in NYC and DC that day.

A decade on now we are still defining what forms "terrorism" takes, and we need not get stuck on "stupid" to do so.

Forrest Gump was right.



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