Congressman Franks Speaks in Strong Support ofPolandResolution
Calls for Extension ofVisa Waiver Programto Poland
October 14, 2009 –Congressman Trent Franks(AZ-02) gave the following remarks on the House Floor today in support of H. Res. 266, "Celebrating 90 years of United States-Polish diplomatic relations, during which Poland has proven to be an exceptionally strong partner to the United States in advancing freedom around the world." The Resolution is especially timely in light of the Obama Administration's recent decision to abandon plans for the EuropeanMissile DefenseSite, previously promised to be deployed in Poland and theCzech Republic.
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to stand here today in strong, wholehearted support of our cherished ally, the nation of Poland, and in strong support of House Resolution 266.
After the recently announced decision by the Obama Administration abandoning our promised missile defense interceptors in Poland, our allies' newspaper headlines stated the situation in the starkest terms.
One Polish newspaper had the headline, [quote] "Betrayed! The USA has sold us to the Russians and stabbed us in the back." [unquote]
Mr. Speaker, it is a travesty beyond words that the United States of America, the bastion of freedom throughout the entire world, would give reason to our loyal ALLIES to write headlines like that.
Poland has strongly supported the United States diplomatically and militarily, and has joined with us courageously in combating global terrorism, and has contributed troops to the coalitions led by the United States in bothAfghanistanandIraq.
For these reasons and so many others, Mr. Speaker, I am honored to stand here today beside my colleagues to warmly congratulate the Polish people on their remarkable accomplishments as a free society, and to express our gratitude for Poland's steadfast partnership with the United States, and to affirm our clear and unwavering support for the free democratic nation of Poland.
Mr. Speaker, I would go one step further by stating that one of thebestways we could demonstrate our deep love and appreciation for the nation and people of Poland, would be toprove that we mean this by extending the Visa Waiver to our Polish allies.
We have already extended the Visa Waiver program to 35 of our allies, including other European nations likeBelgium, theCzech Republic, Demark,Estonia,Lithuania, andLatvia. I strongly believe that we should have extended this same courtesy to our allies in Poland long ago. Poland repealed its ownvisa requirementback in 1991, and allows Americans to travel to Poland without the use of a visa.
The nation of Poland has proven time and again its steadfast dedication to the cause of human freedom as well as friendship with the United States. It is appropriate that they understand that America is grateful.