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from issue no. 02 - 2004

The History of diplomatic relations between the United States of America and the Holy See

Prefaces by Colin Powell

Secretary of State of the United States

A driving force for America’s international engagement today is our desire to champion mankind’s aspirations for dignity. In this effort, we have no better international partner than the Holy See. Under Pope John Paul II, the Holy See has been active on every continent to promote human dignity and to defend human freedom.
From the beginning of our formal diplomatic relationship in 1984, the United States has worked together with the Holy See on central issues of every era, encompassing the fall of communism, the resolution of regional conflicts in Latin America and Africa, and the Middle East peace process. Today, the United States Embassy to the Holy See is working with the Holy See throughout the world to promote human rights, democracy, and freedom.

Like the United States, the Holy See thinks and acts globally, making for a unique partnership. The Pope’s travels to over 130 countries have brought his message of hope and peace to every corner of the world. Vatican diplomats are present in over 170 countries, defending the value of human life and promoting reconciliation and tolerance. Catholic charities and affiliated non-governmental organizations operate worldwide and make significant, if often overlooked, contributions to relief and development, providing one quarter of all care to AIDS patients and extensive food and other humanitarian relief in natural disasters and war-torn regions.
On this twentieth anniversary of the formal establishment of full diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See, we can look back with mutual appreciation at our common contributions to the betterment of mankind, while we look ahead with humble determination to the challenges ahead. The United States welcomes the opportunity to work with the Holy See over the next twenty years and beyond to promote freedom, justice, religious and ethnic tolerance, and social and economic development. Guided by our shared values of compassion and respect for human dignity, we will continue to build this distinctive global partnership for human dignity.

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