Nomination of Howard H. Baker, Jr. as Ambassador of the United States to Japan
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will proceed to executive session to consider the nomination of Howard H. Baker, Jr. The nomination will be stated.
The bill clerk read the nomination of Howard H. Baker, Jr., of Tennessee, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Japan.
The Senate proceeded to consider the nomination.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. There are 2 hours equally divided for consideration of the nomination. Who yields time? The Senator from Wyoming.
Mr. THOMAS. Mr. President, I do want to talk a moment about the nomination of Howard Baker to be Ambassador to Japan. I am chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Rim. We held a hearing today for Howard Baker. Fortunately, we were able to move it today so that his nomination can be voted on for confirmation.
Mr. President, I am pleased to accept Howard Baker as Ambassador to Japan. I am chairman of that subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific rim. Certainly one of the most important countries in that area is Japan, a country with which we have worked closely for a very long time. We have had some of our highest profile Ambassadors in Japan, people in the past who had come from the Senate, also including a Speaker of the House and a majority leader of the Senate several years ago.
Now we have the opportunity--and I was very pleased to be able today to hold that hearing--to have Howard Baker as our nominee whom the President nominated to this important task. We are very proud to pass it on. We thank the leader for being able to bring it to the floor today so we can get our Ambassador in place in Japan.
Japan is key, of course, to much of what we do in the Asian area, and it is key to what we do in Korea, particularly North Korea and the Korean peninsula. We need to work with Japan to do that. The same is true with Taiwan and China. Japan is our partner.
Of course, they are the largest economy in that area and continue to have some economic problems, particularly banking problems. We have some things we have to work out with them with regard to our Armed Forces being in Okinawa and work out things to see if we can reduce the deficit with have in trade.
I cannot think of a better person to represent us. He has great experience and great compassion. He worked in the White House, in the Senate, and has been the Senate floor leader. He has done all things in public. I am delighted Howard Baker is our nominee.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I see other Senators who are here to speak on behalf of former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker to be Ambassador to Japan. I will not be too long. I am delighted to have this opportunity. I think this is such a great selection for this very important position as Ambassador to Japan.
I feel a personal relationship with Howard Baker for a lot of reasons. First of all, I think Howard Baker was the first live Republican I actually saw up close in my life. When I was growing up in Pascagoula, MS, there was none. Then I had the good fortune of going to the great center of learning, Oxford, MS. There I saw this outstanding and very calming and articulate spokesman, Howard Baker, on Memphis television. I was impressed. And he was a Republican. I started listening to him and watching him and had occasion to meet him one time when he came down to the university.
Of course, this outstanding man from a small town in Tennessee ran for the Senate. He didn't go through the State legislature and through the House of Representatives and eventually to the Senate. He went straight to the Senate.
Of course, it is of interest that his mother and his father had also served in the House of Representatives. I believe his mother had been the sheriff of the county in Tennessee. I think that is accurate. He had a pedigree of knowledge, the people of Tennessee and of governments. So it was a natural for him to go straight to the Senate.
His wife, of course, was the daughter of Everett Dirksen. He of the melodious voice, a legend in his own time, his portrait hangs on the majority leader's conference wall. He had that influence.
Immediately, he drew attention and respect. Immediately, he started to seek leadership in the Senate. He was not successful the first time. I think the Senator from Alaska can remember the details of that. He very quickly, comparatively speaking, became the leader of the Republicans of the Senate and then of course, in 1980, after the election, became the majority leader.
I remember watching him from my perch on the House side of the Capitol as the Republican whip at the time and having meetings with him in his room where he always had the fireplace going. I was always impressed. There were a couple of difficult issues with which we had to deal--the settling of AWAC, the Panama Canal. I can remember not agreeing with the position he took on at least one of those.
I watched how masterful he was. I remember coming over and watching one of the votes. We were standing in the back of the Chamber. As I recall, he sat on the corner of the table, and it seemed to have an influence on voters just because he was sitting there. Though both those motions prevailed, and they were in many ways unpopular, I remember sending him a handwritten note at the time how impressed I was at how he pulled those issues together in a bipartisan way.
Soft spoken; intellectual, actually. A lot of people would be surprised that an intellectual could rise to that kind of position, but he did.
Now I have an even greater respect for his leadership since I have for the past 5 years been able to serve as majority leader. I remember telling my immediate predecessor, Bob Dole: I thought your job was a piece of cake. Why wasn't it that way when I got here? This job is a challenge, every day. You have people who disagree with you around you, your friends on both sides of the aisle, and you try to give some direction to get some result. I truly now have a renewed and greater respect for the majority leader and the majority leader's position, and for Howard Baker in particular.
Of course, he went on to run for President. In fact, I think almost every majority leader except George Mitchell and Trent Lott have been candidates for President. I might note, none of them has been successful, although Lyndon Johnson did manage to come in sort of through the back door, after being selected to be Vice President. He did a wonderful job.
Then he showed even greater wisdom. He said: I've done that job; I'm out of here. And he went back to the private sector. And did he disappear into the hills of Tennessee? No, though that is where he seeks refuge to this very day. He went into the private sector, went to a law firm. He is involved and thoughtful. He returned to public service as Chief of Staff to President Reagan.
Probably his greatest stroke of recent years is his marriage to the fine former Senator from Kansas, Nancy Kassebaum. What a duo that is.
Just a year or so ago in our continuing Leader's Lecture Series, Howard Baker was one of the speakers. It was extremely interesting. He gave us a Baker's dozen of suggestions of being in the Senate. That is 13, for those who are not from the South or who don't know a baker's dozen is 13. It was a great list, and he did a wonderful job.
Now he has been selected for this position. I received a call a couple weeks ago from none other than Senator Byrd who said: This is our colleague. We know him well. He was our
majority leader. He wasn't just a member or just a leader; he was majority leader at a very tough, difficult time.
He worked with Senator Byrd across the aisle.
We don't have to wait for weeks or months for an investigation. We know this man. Let's move it. Let's expedite it.
The committee had its hearing today, and the Senate will vote tonight. We will vote to confirm Howard Baker, and he will be an Ambassador, very similar to the ones who have preceded him, former Majority Leader Mike Mansfield and former Speaker of the House Tom Foley.
Japan, I hope, recognizes and appreciates that we send them as our Ambassador the very best. That tradition continues with Howard Baker. I am delighted we are moving expeditiously. We will get this confirmation done. Senator Baker and his helpmate, Senator Kassebaum, will be great diplomats for America. They will be a tremendous asset for all who get to know him in Japan. I thank all of my Senate colleagues for agreeing to move this nomination expeditiously.
I invite Senator Baker to join us in about an hour and a half to hear the next Leader's Lecture presentation from former President of the Senate, former House Member, Gerald Ford.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from the great State of Alaska.
Mr. STEVENS. Mr. President, I am delighted to follow our leader, speaking about our former majority leader, Howard Baker, and his lovely lady, Senator Kassebaum. As one whose home is closer to Tokyo than it is to Washington, DC, I welcome this appointment.
This is the century of the Pacific. If one really studies geopolitical affairs in this world, they can only come to the conclusion that the Pacific is going to be the region of great interest to the world, of great potential, and of great strife if we are not careful.
I am delighted the President has chosen Howard Baker to become the Ambassador to Japan. He has shown his leadership on the floor of the Senate and in activities he has participated in around the world since he left the Senate. His wife, as we know, is one of the distinguished leading ladies of this country. The President is very smart. He gets two Ambassadors for the price of one.
We will welcome him going to Alaska on his way to Japan and on his way back because he is a great friend. It was my privilege to serve with Howard Baker. During the 8 years he was the leader I was assistant leader, and I consider him one of the finest Americans who has ever lived. I am glad to see he continues being willing to serve our country, and I shall vote for him.
I yield the floor.
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I rise today in strong support of the nomination of my good friend and former colleague Senator Howard Baker to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan. I can think of no finer individual to serve in this important post, for no finer person ever served in the U.S. Senate.
Having an Ambassador to Japan with Senator Baker's experience, knowledge, and statesmanship is crucial during this important period in U.S.-Japan relations. It is vital to America's goals for peace in this region. The overall security situation in Asia is of utmost importance. Having Senator Baker representing the United States in Japan will be a tremendous asset as we work to maintain security and stability in that vital region.
He proudly served as a sailor--P.T. boat sailor--who knows how to navigate rough seas.
Senator Baker's past service to the nation has been exemplary. He represented his home State of Tennessee for three terms in the Senate, from 1967 until 1985. Over the course of his final four years in the Senate, Howard Baker served with distinction as the Senate majority leader. After leaving the Senate, Senator Baker went on to serve the Nation as former President Reagan's Chief of Staff and as a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
Senator Baker, of all people, fully understands the demands and sacrifices we ask of our public officials and their families. His willingness to take on this challenge and once again return to public service is greatly appreciated. By his side, indeed a partner, will be his lovely wife, our former colleague, Nancy Kassehaum Baker.
Mr. President, I have been fortunate, to have worked with Senator Baker for many years. I have the great privilege to now be in my fourth term because of his help, and, above all, his advice and friendship The Nation, the Senate wish them both good fortune.
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, the Presidents of this country long ago established a tradition of nominating the most eminent of our political leaders to be ambassadors to Japan. Former Senators Mansfield and Mondale, and most recently, Speaker Tom Foley have maintained that tradition of diplomatic excellence and service to our country up until this day.
When President Bush nominated my old friend, Howard Baker, to be our next ambassador to our most important Asian ally, he kept the highest standards of this important tradition. That is why I fully expect my colleagues today will concur in supporting this nomination. And while we will all miss the presence in Washington of our dear friend and his wife, another esteemed former colleague, Nancy Kassebaum Baker--who herself established a well-deserved reputation in this Senate as one of our most thoughtful leaders on foreign policy--what we will lose will be more than offset, once again, by the contribution that they will make for our country.
Howard Baker has been a public servant all of his life. It is an honor to serve in the Senate, not least because one serves with such distinguished and admirable colleagues, but I must say I have always considered myself particularly fortunate that my career overlapped in part with the three terms the distinguished Senator from Tennessee served here. I was particularly honored to have worked with him during the time he served as our party's majority leader. And as my colleagues well know, Senator Baker never really retired. He left the Senate and became the chief of staff to former President Reagan, serving that great President in an outstanding manner. While it would take too long to enumerate all of the contributions rendered since then by this exceptional public servant, it serves to note that he most recently was a leader of an important commission that conducted an essential review of our nuclear cooperation programs with Russia. The recommendations of that bipartisan commission were key in the new administration's policy review of this very important component of this important bilateral relationship. Now Howard Baker will go to serve another of America's important bilateral relations, as our Ambassador to Tokyo.
I have been saying for years that the strategic partnership American must nurture in Asia is not with China, but with Japan. President bush clearly recognizes this reality, and he has demonstrated this with his appointments of Japan experts at the State Department, Pentagon and the National Security Council. The President has capped these selections by choosing Howard Baker as our Ambassador. I commend the President on his strategic thinking, and I think the President could not have made a better selection in filling this post.
Howard Baker brings to this position his long experience in the Senate, in the White House and in the corporate sector. All aspects of this experience will be beneficial to his efforts to represent the United States to our Japanese ally. For the Japanese leadership, which has warmly welcomed this nomination, former Senator Baker will bring an appreciation of all of aspects of American society, and a deep respect for Japanese society and culture. The new Japanese leadership of Junichiro Koizumi could not begin its relationship with Washington on a more auspicious note.
I have personally known Howard Baker for nearly a quarter of a century. I know him for his steady, calm presence and for his wise counsel. I know him for his love of country, and for his deep understanding of how the world beyond our borders works. He and his dear wife, former Senator Nancy Kassebaum, will be missed in Washington. But we can rest assured that our country's interests in Japan are superbly represented by this exceptionally dedicated and talented couple. I know that my colleagues concur and join me in wishing Howard Baker Godspeed.
Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I rise today to add my support to the nomination of Howard H. Baker, Jr., to be the U.S. Ambassador to Japan.
Howard Baker has an outstanding record of serving the people of the United States as an officer in the U.S. Navy, as a Senator, as White House Chief of Staff to President Reagan, and as a member of numerous Presidential Advisory Boards. During the nearly 20 years that he represented Tennessee in the U.S. Senate, he served as both the minority and majority leader, earning the respect of his colleagues and a reputation as a talented, fair leader, and consensus builder. Senator Baker also served on the Foreign Relations Committee and was a Congressional Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly.
The experience and the skill that Senator Baker has developed as a long time public servant will be valuable as he takes on the important role of working to strengthen U.S. relations with Japan. Howard Baker succeeds a long and illustrious line of envoys to Japan including former House Speaker Tom Foley, former Vice President Walter Mondale, Michael Hayden Armacost, and former Majority Leader Mike Mansfield. I am sure that he will represent the United States with honor, in a manner that reflects well upon his predecessors.
I am also especially pleased that the United States will benefit from the wisdom and expertise of Nancy Kassebaum Baker, our former colleague, who will accompany her husband in this important endeavor. I had the pleasure of working with Senator Kassebaum on many issues and know that America is getting a truly excellent team to represent our country in Japan.
Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, I would like to state how delighted I am that the President has nominated a statesman of such skill and integrity to serve as our Ambassador in Japan. Senator Baker had just completed three terms when I entered this body, including terms as majority and minority leader. He was well known as a man of courtesy and thoughtfulness, who managed difficult political battles with grace and good humor. He took those traits with him to the White House, where as Chief of Staff he played a key role in rebuilding public confidence in a presidency that was racked by foreign policy scandal. Throughout his career Senator Baker has often been called into service to help heal the ruptures created by difficult issues like Watergate, the Panama Canal and Iran-Contra; and he has repeatedly played a key role in forging the bipartisan consensus necessary to move our government and our nation forward.
There is no relationship more important for the U.S. than Japan. The vicissitudes of our difficult relationship with an emerging China, or the ongoing frictions on the Korean Peninsula, tend to attract most of the media attention devoted to Asia. But it is in fact Japan that is the indispensable country to the U.S. in Asia. Even after a decade of slow growth, Japan has by far the largest economy in Asia, and is the largest overseas market for U.S. products. Japan is an important investor in the United States, including in my state of West Virginia. Japan hosts the largest number of American troops in Asia, and is an important ally in our efforts to promote peace, prosperity and democracy throughout Asia.
The nomination of Senator Baker as Ambassador to Tokyo--the most recent in a series of senior statesman to serve in that critical post--will send confirmation to our Japanese allies the tremendous importance the United Sates attaches to our partnership with Japan. I know he will work with the new Government of Prime Minister Koizumi to express support for measures that will restart the Japanese economy, and enable Japan to resume its part as one of the locomotives of global growth. I know he will work with Japan to continue to re-invigorate our security alliance, which plays such an important role in maintaining peace in Asia. And I know he, by his very presence in Tokyo, will dispel Japanese perceptions that America is "Japan-passing." Having followed U.S.-Japan relations for the past 40 years, I am confident that U.S. relations with Japan are not moribund but in fact mature.
I commend the President for his excellent selection of a representative for this critical post, and add how pleased I am that his wonderful and talented wife, our former colleague, Senator Nancy Kassebaum, will be in Tokyo with him. I can think of no one better to join him on this mission than my dear and most admired former colleague.
I will vote to support the nomination.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I rise today also in enthusiastic and strong support for the nomination of Senator Howard Baker to be U.S. Ambassador to the nation of Japan. In fact, Mr. President, I can think of no person who could represent America with more honor and more distinction than my fellow Tennessean, Howard Baker, a truly extraordinary man and an extraordinary leader in this body, in his community, and this Nation.
As we all know, Senator Baker served as the United States Senator from the great State of Tennessee for three terms. He served as minority leader, majority leader, and he served President Ronald Reagan as White House Chief of Staff.
More important than all of that, which we know, he has served America long and well, with unfailing grace, with inexhaustible courage, and with integrity; never hesitating, as we just heard from the majority leader, in taking on the tough tasks, the tough assignments, never failing to shoot straight with us, to call it like it is. Whether it was winning over, in Tennessee, traditional Democrats, union members, to become the first Republican in the history of Tennessee to be elected to the Senate and teaming up with Senators to pass monumental and historic clean air and water bills without a single dissenting vote, or lobbying his colleagues to allow the televising of Senate proceedings, which are routine today, or supporting plans to end the draft, or to provide for the direct election of the President, or give 18-year-olds the right to vote, or investigating a President of his own party, or forging a foreign policy consensus to check Soviet cold war expansion, Howard Baker never flinched from the tough decisions.
He always put principle before politics. He was not just a good Senator; he wasn't just a good leader; but he was a good mentor and friend to me personally.
What is remarkable as we hear people in this body talking about him, is his ability to build coalitions, his ability to disarm his opponents with compromise that addressed both the concerns of supporters and limited the problems of dissenters, bringing them together, addressing concerns from groups who would not normally be together--leaving all sides in good spirits.
I mentioned the personal reflection of being a good mentor and a good friend. Again, this comes from my own experience when 10 years ago I was trying to make a decision of how best to enter public service. I went by to see Senator Baker, someone whom I did not know, someone whom I had not met--sitting down with that person in conversation--and you know it is a conversation he has had with hundreds and hundreds of people thinking about public service--sitting down for an hour and listening to what not only a campaign would be like but what the privilege of serving the United States of America in this body was all about.
Over the next year and a half I made three more appointments with him and took my wife Karen to listen to him, to talk to him. Indeed, he seemed to listen more to us than we did to him, in the thoughtful way of introspection and then comment. Yes, ultimately, after those conversations I decided, in large part based on those conversations, to run for the Senate.
At the height of his political power, Howard Baker stunned Washington by making a decision to leave the Senate, following his own advice of term limits, of the citizen legislator, only
to be called back by President Reagan who tapped him as the White House Chief of Staff. He served President Reagan well.
The majority leader, a few minutes ago, mentioned that that legacy lives on. It was 2 years ago that he did come and give the lecture series--we will hear President Ford later tonight--and the title of that talk 2 years ago was "On Herding Cats," talking about his experience in this body, each of the little points of the "Bakers Dozen," of the 13 points I remember, as I listened in awe, as I listened in pride to my fellow Tennessean.
"Listen more often than you speak," was one of the 13;
"Be patient," another;
"Tell the truth, whether you have to or not," was another;
"Be civil, and encourage others to do the same."
So his story continues to unfold. Tonight, as we come together both to praise him and to support his nomination, we recognize that he remains an informal and trusted adviser, a model to which all politicians in Tennessee aspire, a friend to freedom, to democracy, a defender of principle, a man of honesty, integrity, and courage, who will represent America well.
His wife Nancy Kassebaum Baker has been mentioned, a friend to all of us. Together they make an experienced team, a knowledgeable team; together, a tremendous asset to the United States of America.
It is, indeed, with honor and pleasure, and I should say pride as a Tennessean, that I close in my support for Howard H. Baker, Jr., for the post of U.S. Ambassador to Japan.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
Mr. THOMPSON. Mr. President, I rise in support of the nomination of Howard Baker for Ambassador to Japan. I, first of all, compliment my colleague, Senator Frist, for his eloquent remarks which encapsulated Senator Baker's career and his character. It is very gratifying to hear so many favorable remarks about someone whom we hold so dear.
This was the case this morning as we had the hearing on Senator Baker. We heard so many from both sides of the aisle--Senator Biden, Senator Byrd--say so many nice things about the Senator. It is a very personal matter to me in many respects.
Many years ago, I, with shaky hand, dialed a telephone number in order to return a call from Senator Howard Baker. He had asked me to come up as counsel to the Watergate committee when he served as minority leader of that committee. Today that is the telephone number of my office because I have the privilege of occupying the chair. As I said earlier today, no one will be able to fill the shoes of Howard Baker, but I am privileged to occupy what we call the Howard Baker seat. I am sure others who have held that seat would not begrudge me referring to it in that way.
I would probably not be in politics were it not for Howard Baker. I left a job I dearly loved as assistant U.S. attorney many years ago, as a young lawyer, to go and manage middle Tennessee for Howard Baker, as if anyone could manage him, or as if he needed managing.
A young lawyer by the name of Lamar Alexander, later to be Governor of Tennessee, came to me and suggested this to me and suggested it to him and put us together. I asked how much the job paid and they said nothing. So with my usual business sense, I said that sounded good to me. I took on the job. Of course, he was the first popularly elected Republican in the history of Tennessee.
During Watergate, I had an opportunity that I know no other young man or young lawyer has ever had; that is, to sit at the right hand, literally and figuratively, of a man such as Howard Baker during the most tumultuous time in our generation and in American history. I saw him and the difficulties he encountered. We were dealing with a President of the United States who was a friend of Senator Baker. We were dealing with members of the Cabinet such as John Mitchell, who were friends of Senator Baker. I saw the agony that he went through as he tried to be fair. But he also tried to be steadfast to the Constitution of the United States. He walked that line and he showed the ethical and moral dimensions of his character.
He gave an example not only to this young lawyer at the time but to all of America of what it meant to be a statesman. In fact, I think the word "statesman" was coined for individuals such as Howard Baker because he demonstrated to all of us that it matters not only what you do but how you do it.
It is a great pleasure to see how revered he is by those who served with him, not the least of which, of course, is Senator BYRD of West Virginia, who served as the majority leader when Senator Baker served as minority leader. I heard them talk earlier today. I am looking forward to hearing Senator Byrd again on the floor, but I sat there and thought what two strong men, what two great men, oftentimes disagreeing but working together for the benefit of their country, what an example they set for us doing their job with mutual respect and only one thing in their minds--ultimately, serving their States and their country.
Senator Baker said earlier today that essentially, after all is said and done, he is a man of the Senate. Of course, the same could be said of Senator Byrd.
I compliment President Bush for making this appointment. Senator Baker--I assume; I have never really talked to him about it--was not an intimate of the Bush campaign, although I know he was a hard worker for it. I assume, looking back on it, that former President Bush and he were somewhat friendly competitors, as they were coming along about the same time. President Bush, the current President, obviously, has the good judgment to reach out and get the best for this most serious appointment.
This is a troubled part of the world. It is probably going to create more trouble for us in the years to come. We have a very unusual, ambiguous relationship with the country of China right now, as in many respects China is progressing in terms of its economy and in terms of its economic openness, while at the same time it is increasing its military might and has 300 missiles along its coast pointed toward Taiwan. It, clearly, has designs on being the predominant player in that part of the world, whether it be Taiwan or the South China Sea islands or various other parts of that area of the world.
It is extremely important that we maintain the best of relations with our friends and our allies in that area. There is none more important than the country of Japan.
Japan is undergoing its own internal changes that at this point we are attempting, while not being an overbearing
friend, to be a helpful friend, whether it be with regard to reform of their banking system or the other aspects of their economy, and to go through those tough changes, that we and other countries have had to go through, to get to where they need to get. It is a very delicate time. They are undergoing a change in their leadership right now.
For all of these reasons, it is going to take a wise person, a steady hand representing us in that part of the world. Thank goodness we have a man such as Howard Baker to take on that job.
We make it very difficult nowadays for people to come in and serve their country. Our nomination process takes too long. It is too intrusive. The rewards oftentimes do not outweigh the benefits. But, thank God, we still have people such as Howard Baker and so many others who are willing to give a portion of their time to serve their country.
I am totally content that Senator Baker is going to serve as another in a long line of illustrious predecessors who have held this job and made America proud. America and the world will be better because he has served.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, the Senate will soon vote on the nomination of former Senator Howard Baker to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Japan. This will be a vote I will long remember and of which I will long be proud. It will be one of those proud moments in the history of the Senate.
I have voted on many nominations, and I have cast 16,027 votes as of now. This will be one of the best votes I have ever cast. I have no doubt that this former colleague, with whom I worked so closely, will be an excellent representative of the United States to the Japanese Government and the Japanese people.
Senator Howard Baker served his home State of Tennessee in this Chamber for three terms, from 1967 to 1985. As the country began to recover from the scandal of Watergate, Howard Baker was chosen to lead the other side of the aisle as minority leader while I served as majority leader, positions that we would later exchange. Senator Baker distinguished himself as a man of strong character, sound judgment, and good humor. Having followed his father, with whom I served in the House of Representatives, his stepmother, and his father-in-law in Congress--again, speaking of his father-in-law, I can see Everett Dirksen standing in his place. I can see his unruly hair. I can see him gesturing and uttering the most beautiful phrases. He could paint word pictures, Everett Dirksen--
Senator Baker comes with great credentials in many ways. He had a deep and abiding understanding of and respect for the legislative branch. There was no doubt in Howard Baker's mind as to where the legislative branch stood. He knew of the Constitution. He knew about the separation of powers and the checks and balances. He was one who would always uphold those principles. His love for the Senate, his love for his country always came before partisan imperatives.
Senator Baker was often a voice of reason in challenging times. As the ranking Republican on the select committee that investigated the Watergate affair, his stated intent for the hearings was to determine the answer to the memorable question, as he put it: What did the President know and when did he know it?
I think everyone in this country has heard those words and probably most of us will remember having heard them.
Senator Baker and I joined together on a number of major initiatives that were important to the country as well as to the Senate. I can remember the Panama Canal treaties. I was majority leader. I was against the treaties to begin with. Howard Baker was against the treaties. I went to Panama and took with me six other Senators: Senator Sarbanes, Senator Metzenbaum, Senator Matsunaga, Senator Riegle. There were seven, I believe.
We went to Panama. We talked to Americans living there. We talked to our military people. We talked with our State Department people. We talked with the representatives of the Government of Panama, including General Torrijos. I read all about the history of the Panama Canal by David McCullough, "The Path Between the Seas." It is fascinating. Anything David McCullough writes is fascinating. I changed my mind about it.
Both Howard Baker and I knew we were swimming uphill, so to speak. The polls showed that the great majority of the American people were against those treaties. There were two of them. They were against those treaties. A majority of the Members of the Senate were against the treaties. So we had an uphill battle. We both came to the conclusion that it was in the best interest of the United States to ratify those treaties. It was a difficult task.
I can remember coming in here on a Sunday and meeting with the Panamanian Ambassador to the United States and with our own State Department people right down the hall to my right here, in room 207, which was and is named the Mansfield Room. I remember our meeting; and then in the room there, which was formerly the room of the Presidents pro tempore of the Senate, we met to hammer out some differences.
Howard Baker and I formulated two amendments to the treaty, and but for those two amendments--which we called the leadership amendments because the two leaders were joining--but for the leadership amendments, the treaties would not have been approved.
What I am saying is this. Here was a man who stood above party and voted for what he thought was in the best interests of the country, realizing that in the next election he would pay a price for that. I am still paying a price in West Virginia. There are still those who remember my votes for the treaties and continue to write to me about them to remind me. But he was in a far more difficult position than I. The Democrats controlled the Senate. We had at that time a Democratic President, President Jimmy Carter. So it was more difficult for Howard Baker.
But notwithstanding the difficulties, notwithstanding the politics of the matter, which were adverse to the position we took, Howard Baker proudly took that position, stating it clearly, articulately, and effectively; and because he joined in approving the treaties, we were successful. We ended up, on both treaties, getting a vote of two-thirds of the Senate plus one vote. We had one vote to spare. So we joined together on that occasion. I can't forget that.
I have said many times--and I said it this morning in the Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nomination--that there are several medallions in the Senate reception room just off the floor here, and in five of those medallions we find the pictures of Webster, Calhoun, Clay, La Follette, and Taft of Ohio. I have stated one day this Senate will determine the names of other Senators whose pictures and names will go in those remaining medallions. The Senate has already made a decision, I believe, with regard to the next medallion or so.
But at some point in time Howard Baker's picture--it is my hope--will appear in those medallions. So today, for the RECORD--although I won't be here, I am sure, when that decision is made--I nominate Howard Baker because he was a Senator who stood above the fog in public duty and in private thinking and took a hard position. It was hard for him and hard for his party, more so than mine. He provided invaluable support in that instance, as I say. And he also joined me in my
effort to bring television coverage to the floor of the Senate.
In later years, he served well. You see, he served as minority leader first with me when I was majority leader, and then I served as minority leader while he was majority leader. Always, I found Howard Baker to be a very agreeable, down-home, homespun person, a person who had great common sense, which is so often absent in the halls of Government--common sense, and a man of good humor, very intelligent, exceedingly knowledgeable, highly articulate, a man of the people.
He served as President Reagan's Chief of Staff at a time when mature counsel and moderate leadership in the White House were needed.
In a 1998 address to the Members of this body, Senator Baker recalled the lessons that helped him as majority leader from 1981 to 1985. This is what he said:
What really makes the Senate work--as our heroes knew profoundly--is an understanding of human nature, an appreciation of hearts as well as minds, the frailties as well as the strengths, of one's colleagues and one's constituents.
That is bringing it right down to the common understanding, bringing it right down to earth. I suggest that this lesson will continue to serve him well in his role as Ambassador to Japan.
Over the years, the United States has sent some of its finest citizens to Japan to act as the President's representative, most recently Tom Foley, former Speaker of the House of Representatives; and prior to him there was Walter Mondale, former Vice President of the United States, and Mike Mansfield, former majority leader of the Senate. The appointment of Senator Baker to this position will again demonstrate the importance of our relationship with Japan, the most prosperous country in Asia, and, more importantly, allow our Government to regain the services of a very talented individual who has spent more than half of his life in the service of this country.
As Senator Thompson mentioned a little while ago, Nancy Kassebaum, a former Senator, will be there likewise. Howard Baker and his wife Nancy will be a great team. She could well serve as U.S. Ambassador to Japan in her own right.
Japan will be a vital partner to the United States in what many are calling "the Pacific century." Senator Baker will represent our country in a nation of great importance, in a region of great change, in a world in transition. I am confident that he will work to the best of his considerable abilities to ensure a prosperous, peaceful, and productive relationship with Japan.
I don't know of anyone, Democrat or Republican, I would be happier to stand on this floor and recommend to the people of the United States as Ambassador of Japan, or anyone who could serve more ably, or one who would be more effective. There isn't anyone who would be more patriotic and dedicated to the service of his country than Howard Baker.
I came to the floor immediately after the hearing and urged the majority leader to bring this nomination up today. There is no point in waiting. Bring it up today. I asked my own leader on this side of the aisle if we could do this nomination today. Of course, they had already made up their minds to do it today.
I have looked forward to this moment. I am proud of my service with Howard Baker. I am proud of Howard Baker because he typifies to me a true Senator, a Senator who understands the importance of party, political party, but a Senator who puts the Senate and the Constitution and his country above political party. I know because I was here when he did it.
As my former colleague prepares to journey to Tokyo following his confirmation, Erma and I will be wishing him and Nancy, his lovely wife, the best and a very successful tenure in that office.
Mr. President, I close by those words first written by Horace Greeley because they typify what I think is best about Howard Baker and basically what is most needed by every statesman who serves in government, whether at the national or local level, and basically what distinguishes one individual from another perhaps:
Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wing. Only one thing endures, and that is character.
This man has it. I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader.
Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President, I compliment the distinguished Senator from West Virginia on a characteristically extraordinary statement. He speaks for all of us. He spoke eloquently, sincerely, and truthfully.
Senator Mike Mansfield once called America's relationship with Japan our most important bilateral relationship. How right he was.
Combined, our two countries account for more than 40 percent of the world's gross domestic product. When our nations work together, we can make and have made Asia more stable, Japan stronger, and America more secure.
Today, during this time of transition in Asia, our alliance with Japan is more important than ever. I can think of no individual better equipped than Senator Howard Baker to ensure that our two countries continue to work together and succeed together.
As our distinguished Senator from West Virginia noted, Senator Baker served not only as the Republican leader, as the minority leader of the party, but also as the majority leader at a time when America faced challenges at home and the monumental challenge of the cold war. He worked with his colleagues in the Senate without regard to party affiliation to lead us through countless legislative challenges, and he proved to be a statesman without equal.
By confirming Senator Baker's nomination, we are sending Japan more than an outstanding Ambassador. We are sending a message that we believe Senator Mansfield's observation is truer today than it has ever been. The alliance between our two great nations is so important that it demands an Ambassador of the caliber of Senator Howard Baker, and I am certain that Japan will recognize, by receiving Senator Baker and Senator Nancy Kassebaum, that America is clearly sending its very best.
I join with my colleagues this afternoon in expressing heartfelt congratulations to Howard and Nancy, to express a sentiment I know is shared by every Member of this body in our pride and admiration for them and in our hope that they continue to enjoy public service and our thanks for serving their country so well. I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
Mr. SARBANES. Mr. President, I rise in strong support of the nomination of Howard Baker to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan. I must say, and I am merely here speaking to the Japanese, I think this nomination is yet again a clear indication of the importance the United States attaches to the relationship with Japan.
For now what will be a quarter of a century, we have sent Senator Mike Mansfield, Speaker Tom Foley, and now Senator Howard Baker as our representatives to the Japanese Government and to the Japanese people. I hope it is fully appreciated in Japan--and I think it is--exactly what this means in terms of how highly we value this relationship, how important we think it is to the course of events internationally and, of course, how much it reflects the very strong conviction on the part of all of us here that Howard Baker and his wife Nancy will do an outstanding job representing us.
I have taken the floor of the Senate on occasion to oppose ambassadorial nominations, particularly non-career ambassadorial nominations. I do not take the position that all Ambassadors should come out of the career service because I think we can draw from outside of the career service to bring people who can make a real contribution--and there is something of a tradition of that in our country--although I think it is very important that the large majority of the positions go to career people in part to help maintain the morale of the Foreign Service, so someone going into the Foreign Service at a young age and committing a career to the Foreign Service, who has an opportunity to rise and become an Ambassador, is not cut off as they move up the ladder because the Ambassadors are all brought in from outside. That would have a very harmful impact on the morale of the Foreign Service, and I think having a Foreign Service with high morale is a very important thing in contributing to America's interests and objectives around the world.
If someone were to come to me and say, "You have admitted you would accept non-career people; you do not have an absolutely rigid position on that; what kind of people is it you are looking for in terms of non-career people to become Ambassadors," I would start right off by saying I would be looking for someone like Howard Baker. This can be the mold, in a sense, of what we are looking for from outside the career foreign service.
We have all known Howard well in the Senate. We hold him in enormous respect. He is a man of great wisdom and judgment, of never-failing courtesy. All here who have dealt with him always sensed the respect he extended to others which, of course, evoked a respect from others back towards him. We need to remember that lesson around here sometimes.
Over the years we saw him exercise power with a sensitivity and a responsibility that is a real tribute to him as a leader. We have a lot of difficult issues that arise from time to time with Japan.
We ought not let those issues cause us to lose sight of how important having a strong positive relationship is with that country. I am sure Howard Baker, as his predecessors, Tom Foley and Mike Mansfield, have done, will be able to communicate that to the Japanese people and communicate back to Members of the Congress the situation that exists.
One of the things that both Ambassador Mansfield and Ambassador Foley did was maintain contacts with Members of Congress. Having come out of the institution, they appreciated the role it plays in these relationships. I think that is one of the strengths that Howard Baker will bring to this ambassadorship. Second, he served in the White House as chief of staff, so he knows the workings of the executive branch. He can bring that expertise also to bear as he assumes this very important responsibility.
I think Nancy Baker will be an extremely important dimension to this ambassadorship. I know at one point there was talk of a co-ambassadorship. I don't quite see how you do that, given the direct responsibilities on an Ambassador, but I am sure she will add a very significant and extra dimension to this representation that our country will have in Japan.
I am pleased to take the floor, along with my other colleagues, in support of this nomination. I thank the distinguished Senator from West Virginia for his very eloquent statement about Howard Baker, about their relationship in the Senate, and about his character.
This is a man of character. This is a man of wisdom. This is a man of judgment. This is a man of civility. I am delighted he will be our Ambassador to Japan.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.
Mr. BROWNBACK. Mr. President, I rise to support the nomination as well of Senator Howard Baker to be Ambassador to Japan, and of Nancy Kassebaum, a good friend of mine, a former Senator from Kansas, to go along, as well.
Senator Baker I have gotten to know better. I have not served in this body with him.
I have known Nancy Kassebaum very well over the years, her political history in Kansas. Her family has great leadership in my State. Her dad, Alf Landon, was a Presidential nominee, and in 1936 was Governor of Kansas. Senator Kassebaum followed in his footsteps as a very able, qualified, wholesome, and dignified public servant. She did an excellent job. She will do an excellent job in Japan, as well.
Senator Howard Baker I have gotten to know later in life. Sometimes he has come to Kansas State University football games. A great fan--and he picks a great team to support. When we play Tennessee, I understand they have a family dispute between Kansas and Tennessee and he stays with Tennessee, while Senator Kassebaum stays with Kansas State University.
This is an important nomination for reasons already noted, but I will reiterate; that is, the significance of the stature of the Ambassador we are sending to represent us in Japan. Japan is a key ally of the United States. Japan is in a region that will draw increasing focus from the United States in the future and has in recent times even more so. So we are sending to Japan a man of stature from our Nation to represent us in a part of the world on which we will increasingly focus.
We have had difficulties recently in Asia, particularly in our relationship with China. We are expanding our relationship with other nations throughout Asia. We are expanding our
relationship with India and South Asia. This entire region of the world is growing in significance globally and growing in significance to the United States.
It is important we send this level of leadership to this region in the form of Senator Baker, for him to be able to represent our interests and our thoughts at this time of expanded U.S. activity and engagement throughout that area.
I wholeheartedly endorse his nomination as a member of the Committee on Foreign Relations. I am delighted the United States will have this individual involved in its foreign affairs. He will make an outstanding representative, an outstanding Ambassador. Nancy Kassebaum will be a co-Ambassador. I think she will be dearly loved by the Japanese people, the same way she was loved by the people of Kansas. While she served in the Senate, there was no politician in the country who had a higher approval rating on a statewide basis than Nancy Kassebaum. There are some who say she ranked just below the sunset and the wheat harvest in her approval ratings in our State. She had a lofty stature, and she will carry that along with her to Japan. This is a great nomination that I wholeheartedly support.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. ALLARD). The Senator from North Carolina.
Mr. HELMS. I ask it be in order for me to deliver my brief remarks seated at my desk.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. HELMS. Mr. President, I made some remarks this morning at the time of the reporting out of the Committee on Foreign Relations the very wise nomination of Howard Baker to be the U.S. Ambassador to Tokyo. I said then, and I repeat, there is not one Senator who ever served with the distinguished former majority leader of this Senate--and I see where he sat right there--not one Senator who would not be honored to join in paying his or her respects to one of the most respected Senators ever to serve in the Senate.
All of us have fond memories of our relationship with Senator Baker, and all of us like him and respect him and admire him for his intelligence and his legislative skills and his ability to broker meaningful compromises and for being just a darn nice guy.
I must confess, my affection for Howard is because he has been so gracious to my grandchildren, and that is the way to any man's heart. I recall that on one occasion, the day after one of my granddaughters was born, Howard was going to North Carolina with me for a little adventure. He called me before we left and he said: JESSE, who is going to meet us at the airport?
I said: I don't know, but I will find out.
He said: I just wondered if I could take a trip.
I said: You can go anywhere you want to go.
He said: I would like to go to the hospital where that
young one of yours was born yesterday.
I said: Howard, you don't need do that.
And he said: No, I like grandchildren, and I would like to go, if you don't mind.
I said: Fine.
He said: As long as I'm going, can I take my camera with me?
A lot of people don't know that he is an accomplished photographer and has published two or three books of pictures that are outstanding. He took pictures of that young one just born 24 hours earlier, and her mama and proud daddy and granddaddy and all the nurses in the hospital.
Fast forward about 4 or 5 years and Katie Stuart visited us and Howard found out about it. He was then the chief of staff for the President of the United States at the White House, President Ronald Reagan. He called me up and said: We need to update that picture that we took at the hospital. So we went down to the White House and he had all the lights set up and he said: Now, JESSE, I want you to get Katie in your arms and I want to photograph the proudest granddaddy and the sweetest granddaughter I ever saw. And he took that picture. That picture is on my wall to this good day.
Howard Baker will make a great Ambassador. On his own hook he would be great, but he has a second advantage, and that is a lady named Nancy Kassebaum Baker, who sat right back there, as a great Senator herself. And as someone said this morning, Nancy herself would make a good Ambassador anywhere she was sent.
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that Howard Baker's experience and personal qualities and those of Nancy Kassebaum Baker will serve him and her and them well. The United States relationship with Japan is critical in this new era. In sending an Ambassador such as Howard Baker, President Bush has chosen a superbly qualified American to represent the American people in Japan, an outstanding ally of our country, the United States of America.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, I rise in support of Howard Baker. I realize this is unusual; the chairman of the committee should be the one to close. I apologize. I didn't know you were speaking. I think I am the last to speak and I will be brief.
Howard Baker is one of the few men or women nominated for Ambassador that it would be warranted not to be briefed about because there is so much to say about Howard Baker. The distinguished senior Senator from Hawaii, standing in the well, knows him as well as I do--and maybe a little better. I have been here 28 years. He was as fine a leader of the Senate as we had in either party. He is a man who, as I said this morning, possessed not only good judgment but a strong dose of wisdom.
Howard Baker has a piece of the country lawyer in him, the country lawyer who knows how to cut through difficult circumstances in a way that resolves a situation and at the same time does no harm or damage to either the egos and/or positions of either of the parties. That is the mark of a leader. It seems to me that is the primary ingredient that an Ambassador should possess.
The appointment of Howard Baker to be Ambassador to Japan is the single strongest signal that the people of Japan could have that we value this relationship with Japan.
Senator Helms and I have been here the same length of time, Senator Inouye longer, but I doubt whether there is any country to which we have sent more distinguished men and women--men in this case--than to Japan. He goes in the tradition of some truly great Americans. That sounds like a trite thing to say, "great Americans," but Mike Mansfield, "iron Mike," from Montana had more integrity in his little finger than most have in their whole body, a man whom everyone admired, a distinguished Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tom Foley, a distinguished colleague of ours, and on the opposite side of my friend from North Carolina, but respected, Fritz Mondale,
a man who graced this place--and I mean that literally, graced this body--and Howard Baker. And I am leaving out others of consequence as well.
Let me say it is not hyperbole to suggest, as I did this morning, and the Senator referenced it, that Senator Nancy Kassebaum, all by herself, would be fully capable of dispatching the responsibilities of the Ambassador to Japan. Really, as we always say, the Senator from North Carolina and I, because of our responsibilities on the Foreign Relations Committee and confirming all Ambassadors--we always say the spouse of the nominee is someone who makes a sacrifice as well as who makes a contribution. It is almost always true, in some cases more than others.
This is a combination of political leadership, diplomacy, knowledge, and access--access to the corridors of power in the White House--that I think is unparalleled.
I join with my colleagues in saying that Howard Baker is a fine choice. More than that, he is a truly fine man.
As I said this morning, he and I have been on opposite sides of things--more together than on opposite sides--but I truly consider him a friend. It is presumptuous of me to say of a man of his stature that I am a friend. He was a man of consequence long before I arrived. I don't mean to be presumptuous in saying we are close friends. We are different in generations and different in age. But we are friends. I admire him. I admire him very much, and I compliment the President.
I will close with what I have always thought to be and I believe to be an old Anglo-Saxon expression. It says: Character is little more than the lengthened shadow of a man.
Howard Baker casts a very long shadow. He has great character. He will serve this Nation well at what I believe to be the single most critical time in U.S.-Japanese and U.S.-Asian affairs since the end of World War II. Words matter; Howard Baker chooses his well, and I know of no place more than Japan where words, decorum, and diplomacy matter more.
No better choice could be made. I compliment the President.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Carolina.
Mr. HOLLINGS. Let me commend President Bush on his appointment of former Senator Howard Baker as the Ambassador to Japan. I guess, since we came to the Senate together, I know him about as well as any. I have traveled with him. I have seen him in action on trips. I have his photography in my home. I visited in his home at Huntsville, TN, with his former wife Joy and, since he lost Joy, he is now married to our great friend and distinguished former Senator from Kansas, Nancy Kassebaum.
They are a wonderful family, Nancy's son, daughter-in-law, the grandchildren. They are right down there in my hometown of Charleston, so I get to see them fortunately from time to time.
There is an old wag about coming to the Senate. You wonder how in the world, when you first get here, you got into this exclusive body. Then after a couple of years, you lose all humility and you wonder how the rest of them got here.
You observe them. Everyone here has a talent, all of high intellect and experience or they would not have been selected by their several States.
But what I really look for is that judgment. There is no question, more than a balanced budget we need balanced Senators around here, and that was Howard Baker. When I ran for President, I know no one remembers that----
Mr. BIDEN. I do.
Mr. HOLLINGS. You and I were out there together--to be forgotten.
We were asked that question, when you get along to a stage in your campaign, who would you select as Secretary of State? This is back in the early 1980s. And I said Howard Baker because of his sense of history, his capacity for reasoned
judgment, and his intellect. He knows the world. He knows Japan. He knows our defense needs, our security needs in the Pacific rim, our trade problems and opportunities there and everything else.
Since others are here and ready and I take it we are ready to vote, let me simply say I am enthused about this particular appointment. I think the country is very fortunate to have him as our Ambassador.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
Mr. HELMS. Mr. President, on behalf of the majority leader, I yield the remainder of the time.
I ask for the yeas and nays.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second? There is a sufficient second.
Mr. NELSON of Florida. Will the chairman allow me to say one short thing?
Mr. HELMS. I defer the question.
Mr. NELSON of Florida. I just wanted to say as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, to the chairman and my ranking member, as a new Member, I was quite struck today at the testimony taken with regard to Senator Baker.
First of all, I saw the deep respect that Senator Biden and Senator Helms had for him. And then I heard the testimony from Senator Dole as well, and Senator Byrd.
What struck me was Senator Biden's words, when he referred to Senator Baker as a man of the Senate. Before I came here, I would not have known the depth of feeling in that statement. But as I have had the privilege of getting to know all of you, and to interact with you on a daily basis, I now understand the respect that you accorded to Senator Baker by referring to him as a man of the Senate: Someone whose word can be counted on; someone who has principles; someone whose sense of integrity other people recognize. Isn't that what we need in our Government these days?
So it is with a feeling of great privilege that, as a new Senator, I join with all of you supporting Senator Baker to be our Ambassador to this very important country, to further the interests of the United States of America.
Mr. HELMS. Mr. President, I renew my request.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time having expired, the question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the nomination of Howard H. Baker, Jr., of Tennessee, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Japan?
The yeas have and nays have been ordered. The clerk will call the roll.
The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
Mr. NICKLES. I announce that the Senator from Nevada (Mr. ENSIGN) is necessarily absent.
The result was announced--yeas 99, nays 0, as follows:
[Rollcall Vote No. 166 Ex.]
The nomination was confirmed.
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote and I move to lay that motion on the table.
The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The President shall be immediately notified of the Senate's action.