Remarks at the Swearing-In Ceremony

Ambassador Bell takes Oath of Office (State Department photo)
Ambassador Bell takes Oath of Office

Thank you, Under Secretary Kennedy, for presiding today, for your support and for your kind words.  I appreciate your taking the time to be here with my family, friends and colleagues.

It’s obvious why you command such respect in this building and around the world, from both Foreign Service Officers like yourself and political appointees like me. As Secretary Kerry often reminds us, we are all one State Department family – and that is true in no small part thanks to your leadership, Under Secretary Kennedy.

I’m enormously grateful to President Obama for his trust in me and his leadership during a challenging and critical time in foreign affairs.

Ambassador Szapary, thank you for joining me here today.

This is an important moment for Hungary. I am humbled to start this new chapter as our nation’s ambassador in Budapest.

Ours is a bilateral relationship that has been strengthened through almost 250 years of triumphs and tests. It is defined by the cooperation between our governments, but even more so by the connections between our people – countless relationships in business, the arts, scholarship and science.

I look forward to growing those connections as we strengthen our important and longstanding alliance.

The United States and Hungary share a defense and security partnership through NATO and the OSCE, as well as the American-sponsored International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest. We are reminded nearly every day, by tumult in Europe and around the globe, why that alliance is so important.

We also share common goals that will contribute to regional security, including stability in the Balkans, energy independence, the promotion of democracy in Europe’s East, and the success of T-TIP.

Our two nations share these goals because our people share many values. And part of my job as ambassador is to ensure that our relationship respects and reflects those values.

One of the values that defines us as Americans – and that makes us the envy of the world – is the idea that anyone can become anything they want to be. Anyone can make it anywhere.

Well, I certainly wouldn’t be an Ambassador and wouldn’t be standing with you in this historic Treaty Room if it weren’t for the extraordinary people from the State Department and White House who have been incredibly supportive throughout this confirmation process.

I also thank Senator Boxer for her ardent support and for her thoughtful remarks on the Senate floor the day of my confirmation vote.


I had the blessing of being born into two wonderful families, the Bradley and Evans families.

They are hardworking, compassionate, wonderful people who are committed to each other, their communities, and their country.

Some of my uncles lost lives and limbs defending the United States. My grandfather, Edward Bradley, served in World War II and used to take us on the most wonderful adventures when we were kids.

When he died just before the 2004 presidential election, his hospital room was covered with “John Kerry for President” posters. He would be so pleased that John Kerry is now serving as our nation’s top diplomat and that his granddaughter is serving her country as one too.


I would not be here without this team of family and friends – and let me say as I close that I know I will not be able to succeed over there without my team. I know I will depend on all of them – members of the Foreign Service Officers, members of the Civil Service, locally employed staff and political appointees – as much as they will depend on my leadership.

Just as I am committed to continuing the great tradition of the U.S.-Hungary alliance, I am committed to making Embassy Budapest an even stronger family. I’m ready to get to work.

Thank you all for being here today.