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Private Dinner following the Ninth Raymond Aron Lecture at the Brookings Institution

Published on December 19, 2012
Speech by Ambassador François Delattre.

Featuring Ms. Mireille Delmas-Marty and Justice Stephen Breyer.

December 18, 2012 - Embassy of France, Maison Française.

Justice Stephen Breyer et Chère Madame Breyer – your presence honors us all and means so much to me and to all of us,

Dear Strobe Talbott, whom I’d like to warmly thank for his commitment to French-American friendship. And I also want to thank Ambassador Indyk and the whole team at Brookings,

Ambassador Pickering,

Distinguished guests,

It’s a great pleasure and honor to welcome you all tonight to the French Embassy.

Our dinner is taking place here at the Maison française as the Residence is temporarily unavailable. As you know, we have indeed closed our Residence on Kalorama for renovation work for one year (we are told), and we are moving – literally today and tomorrow – into a temporary house on Foxhall.

That’s the reason why Sophie could not be with us this evening – and she sends her regrets.

Tonight we are celebrating the ninth edition of the annual Raymond Aron Lecture, which was delivered earlier by Professor Mireille Delmas-Marty, with a response by Justice Stephen Breyer.

As many of you know, the Raymond Aron lecture series was launched in 2004 when the Center on the United States and France became the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution.

The lecture is a partnership between Brookings, the French Policy Planning Staff and the French Embassy here in Washington.

Our event tonight could not come at a better time as French-American relations have never been closer than they are today, as illustrated by President Hollande’s very successful visit to Washington last May, literally three days after his inauguration.

Three examples in the foreign policy field : Iran, the fight against terrorism, Syria.

My two messages tonight:

We more than ever need an America that is committed to world affairs, and we are convinced that the more Asia is rising, the more the transatlantic partnership is relevant and important for us Europeans as for you Americans on the security front as well as the economic front.

Prof. Mireille Delmas-Marty is a bit sick and could unfortunately not be with us tonight, but it is a true privilege to welcome Justice Stephen Breyer.

Justice Breyer needs no introduction, especially here, as he is a true and trusted friend of France and a key player in French-American relations.

Justice Breyer has been a law professor, he has written many books and corresponded with legal scholars around the world. He has held many prominent offices in the three branches of the federal government, and he was appointed as a Supreme Court Justice by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

Justice Breyer has worked extensively on American constitutional law and economic regulation, but he has also shown deep interest in foreign legal systems, which led to his conversations with Professor Delmas-Marty on the internationalization of law.

During their discussion at Brookings, Professor Delmas-Marty and Justice Breyer looked beyond the transatlantic dimension to address that very issue of the internationalization of law – an issue of a truly global nature. I suggested that tonight, in the intimacy of the French Embassy, we pick a more transatlantic topic for our dinner discussion, one that I know a great many of you deeply care about: the balance between law and security. This is obviously a key challenge, even more so since the tragedy of September 11.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Please join me in welcoming Justice Steve Breyer.

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