Ambassador Hartley’s Speech to The Pilgrims Society of Great Britain

September 7, 2022
Mansion House

“I’m committed to represent the best of America and to strengthen the values we share with the United Kingdom. Freedom, democracy, opportunity and to ensure our relationship stays strong. And that includes working closely with leaders across the United Kingdom.”

Ambassador Jane Hartley: My Lords, ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor to deliver my first speech as ambassador for the Pilgrims Society. It is truly a privilege to carry out a long-standing tradition chaired by your society.

When I walked into the embassy on my first day, I was immediately struck by the wall with the names of all former US ambassadors. And when I looked at this, the sense of history was not lost on me. I am honored and humbled by this responsibility. I am proud that when my name is added, it will be only the second woman’s name on that wall. My predecessor Anne Armstrong served almost 50 years ago. Back in 1976 I’m sure that she didn’t expect for it to be so long before another woman came along. It cannot take another 50 years for a woman to be here.

It is our utmost responsibility as leaders to ensure that society and institutions are inclusive, and that that every young person — every young girl — knows they have a place in our countries and a chance to succeed in any role they wish to pursue. Including as Ambassador, Secretary of State, President or Prime Minister.

Back when I worked at the White House under President Jimmy Carter, I worked for two women who were real role models — Anne Wexler and Patricia Harris. They are not household names here but they were back in the States then. They were tough-as-nails perfectionists, who worked hard to make a difference, speaking up for policies that mattered. I realized then as I do now that government can truly make a difference in people’s lives.

These women gave me the confidence to know that a woman’s place is truly “at the table” and now, as Ambassador, I aim to be that inspiration for the women leaders of tomorrow.

Speaking of inspiring women, it was the experience of a lifetime to make it to London in time for Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Just when I thought nothing could top that, a few weeks later I found myself walking through the doors of Buckingham Palace to speak virtually with the Queen herself.

My first thought was she’s much better on Zoom than I am. My second was how many ambassadors and presidents the Queen has met, how much she’s lived through as a world leader. Still there she was, 70 years after taking the crown, seamlessly adapting to our new digital environment. And I got to be a witness to that.

The Queen is truly an inspiring figure who has brought stability to the United Kingdom and gained the deepest respect of the American people. The Queen’s life of service has been a gift not just to her people but to the world. In the last 70 years, she has inspired us by her selfless devotion, for serving the peoples of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. And throughout her reign the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom has grown stronger and closer.

My parents always taught me that the highest honor to achieve is to serve your nation. And I personally have gone back and forth between the public and private sector throughout my career. In recent years I’ve changed my CEO title for Ambassador. My deep appreciation for public service only continues to grow. I’ve witnessed the hard work and knowledge of my colleagues here with me at the Embassy and the trust they have in me to lead. I truly believe that diplomacy makes a difference and I’m humbled by the confidence that President Biden and the United States Senate put in me to lead our largest Embassy in Europe, to continue our “Special Relationship” with our closest Ally — these are not responsibilities I take lightly.

I’m committed to represent the best of America and to strengthen the values we share with the United Kingdom. Freedom, democracy, opportunity and to ensure our relationship stays strong. And that includes working closely with leaders across the United Kingdom. Speaking of which, I believe a few have been in the headlines this week.

Let me now take a moment to congratulate Prime Minister Truss. We have worked closely with her in the past. She’s been a great ally. She and President Biden spoke last night and reaffirmed the special relationship between our countries and expressed their readiness to further deepen these ties.

The wonderful thing about our special relationship is that despite the cyclical changes in government on either side of the pond, our shared values and common beliefs endure. And tonight I want to talk to you about American leadership and all our most pressing challenges from security to economic growth. And, as I’m going to show you, the proof is in the pudding. I understand that the British version of pudding is different from the American, New York tradition but indulge me with this expression.

The United States of 2022 is not the US of 2019. Today the United States is committed to working with our allies and transatlantic security. At the center of that commitment is the unshakable UK and US bond, a bond that guides our work with NATO and our close productive partnership with the EU. The UK has been and remains our most important ally. And no where have our values been made more clear than during the crisis in Ukraine. The United States and the United Kingdom have stood firmly shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with Ukraine and its people as they resist Russian aggression.

We deeply appreciate the UK response and the many ways in which the government and the public have shown leadership and support for the Ukrainian people. As part of our efforts to deter Putin from launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine’s sovereign territory on February 24th, the United States consistently spoke of the two paths Russia could choose: dialogue and diplomacy, or escalation and massive consequences. We made genuine and sincere efforts to pursue the former, which we vastly preferred, but Putin chose war.

The United States has worked with the UK – especially the UK – and our Allies and partners to impose severe and unprecedented costs on Russia, including through sanctions, export controls, and visa restrictions that target Putin, his war machine, and his enablers.

Since February 24th, we have announced more than 18 billion dollars in assistance to Ukraine, including critical security assistance to help Ukraine defend itself, humanitarian assistance for the millions of people displaced or affected by Putin’s brutality, and economic assistance to support the resilience of Ukraine’s government and economy.

We don’t know when this war will be over, but we know this: We will never never underestimate the Ukrainian’s strong nation. The United States continues to stand united with Ukraine and will help it defend itself for as long it takes.

Transatlantic security and solidarity is so important to the United States. That is why we have always been strong supporters of a secure and prosperous Northern Ireland, in which all communities have a voice and enjoy the gains of hard-won peace.

Yet, as we rapidly approach the 25th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, we’re cognizant that more work needs to be done. Northern Ireland’s devolved institutions are the bedrock of its political and economic success, and we will continue to call for their restoration. A fully accountable, representative government is crucial if Northern Ireland is to address its challenges and to capitalize on its immense potential. And lately, as many of you know, American companies have become increasingly vocal with me about their concern at the state of the UK and EU relationship over this very issue and any impact that any breakdown in that relationship would have on investor confidence.

Resolving the issues over implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol will have immediate, tangible benefits for people and especially for businesses in Northern Ireland and for the rest of the United Kingdom. In a few days, I will visit Northern Ireland for the first time, and I am eager to listen and learn. I firmly believe that 2023 represents an opportunity to seize on Northern Ireland’s unique potential.

In the end transatlantic peace, security, and prosperity are best served by a strong UK, a strong EU, and the closest possible relationship between the two. We need to continue to look to the future, and come up with new and innovative solutions for today’s challenges.

Those challenges don’t stop with security. Two years of pandemic shutdowns compounded by Russia’s reprehensible war on Ukraine have led us to a situation in which we are now facing difficulties with energy and food markets. Supply chain blockages, inflation, and cost of living are on everyone’s minds on both sides of the Atlantic.

That is why it is so important to strengthen our resolve in the face of these global economic pressures and find a path forward together. We must also strike the right balance between the crises of today and those of tomorrow. We’ll tackle these immediate concerns, and make sure that we help the most vulnerable. But we’ll do it without sacrificing the long-term, equitable growth that will benefit all of our citizens in the decades to come.

Here’s an example of what I mean. Our economic leadership is rooted in green and inclusive growth. The Biden administration is committed to transitioning to a clean energy economy in a way that is purposefully equitable and just.

If that sounds familiar to you, well – we think so, too. Her Majesty Government’s focus on lifting up all communities across the United Kingdom is very much in line with how we approach economic growth. And it’s a great example of those shared values I mentioned earlier really shining through in complementary policies.

Together, we wrote a new Atlantic Charter on the margins of the G7 summit in Cornwall last June. And of course the UK was a major inspiration to us in your leadership over COP26.

Working shoulder to shoulder in Glasgow with the British government, businesses and civil society, President Biden and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry marshaled the commitments we need to rein in climate change. I will actually be with John Kerry and Prince Charles this Friday at an event focused on how to achieve our climate goals.

The United States is taking our commitments seriously and there’s plenty of action to back that up. The President signed The Inflation Reduction Act into law on August 16. This legislation represents the single biggest climate investment in U.S. history by far: 360 billion dollars. It also increases our collective security through policies to support energy reliability and cleaner energy production.

Our special relationship embraces business as well. We have found that our companies are deeply integrated and invested in each other, from pharmaceuticals to aircraft manufacturing. Together we develop innovative technologies to meet this century’s challenges. Millions of jobs have been created through investments. These investments by the way just keep growing. Cumulative bilateral investment topped 1.5 trillion dollars in 2021. That’s a trillion with a T.

And our trade needs to reinforce our own collective security. We must not allow bad actors to abuse their market position in key raw materials, technology and products in a way that disrupts our economies or leaves us susceptible to hostile geopolitical pressure.

I haven’t mentioned this yet, but I’m a New Yorker. We are a people known for our resilience — and for bouncing back.

That is why I’m proud to speak with you tonight about all of these exciting new developments and share with you that, as President Biden puts it, “America is back.” We are investing in our alliances to meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. The past few years have not been easy, but we are finding solutions to the most pressing global challenges. We are building back our institutions. We are prepared to stand by our word to the world again. We believe in diplomacy and will work together with you to protect what we hold dear — defending freedom, championing opportunity, upholding universal rights. We will do that respecting the rule of law, and treating every person with dignity.

Our alliance will stay strong because of our commitment to each other—and that’s a commitment not just between our governments, but between our peoples. So like generations before us, we are being called upon to meet the challenges of our time undaunted, and to defend our shared values above all. Just as they were willing to defend those values, we must say, “So are we.” We can never take our liberty for granted. We – the U.S. and UK – were in it together then and we are in it together now. We will work together and the world becomes a safer place when we are working together.

I look forward to working with each of you to further our deep and strong relationship, and to inspire the next generation to take ownership of their part in our continuing story as we step forward together into a bright future.

Thank you.