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Bruce Byers – Joe Duffey in Manila

The APEC Summit, hosted by the Philippine government in Manila and Subic Bay, was the occasion for the visit of President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton and with them, USIA Director Joseph Duffey. The president and first lady and the rest of the official U.S. delegation arrived on November 23 and stayed at the historic Manila Hotel where General Douglas MacArthur had resided when he was a military advisor to the Philippine government.

USIS Manila had a control room on the ground floor of the hotel where we were able to respond to queries from the White House press corps and others about the president’s visit. USIS Manila was also responsible for a separate schedule for Director Duffey. My job was to help USIA Director Duffey during his stay.

Director Duffey and I went to several events on November 24. The first was the early morning Ecumenical Prayer Meeting at Malacañang Palace with religious leaders at which Philippine President Ferdinand Ramos spoke about the APEC Summit. Prior to the speech, Director Duffey had the opportunity to meet Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila and, afterward, to meet President Ramos. He told the president that he was with President Clinton, attending the APEC Summit.

Later that same morning, Hillary Clinton addressed an international audience of women at the Asia Women’s Forum. There were approximately 14,000 women delegates from Asian countries.

Director Duffey and I attended the Forum and sat in a VIP section that included a number of American women leaders resident in Manila and other Asian capitals. We were seated near the foot of the raised dais from which the First Lady spoke. Duffey was glad to be there and spoke with several of the American women before Clinton’s speech. He and I seemed to be the only men in the vast audience.

It was an impressive event and the thousands of women welcomed Clinton with thunderous applause and cheered her speech. During her speech, she pointed out that she would be traveling to Chiang Rai, Thailand, to visit a U.S. Peace Corps project and a girls’ school and speak out against trafficking of girls and women.

Director Duffey and I had a luncheon at a very nice restaurant in Intramuros, Manila’s historic center. During the meeting, as I remember, discussion focused on families and Duffey’s ties to the Clintons. Hillary Clinton departed for Bangkok later that day while the president attended APEC meetings and held sidebar meetings with several Asian leaders.

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