Ambassador Mark Brzezinski’s Video Remarks at
Convention of the Marshals of Voivodeships of the Republic of Poland
Tuesday, June 13, 2023
Good morning, Marek Wozniak, Chair of the Marshals’ Convention of the Republic of Poland, Marshals, and colleagues from the United States military. I am honored to talk about the role of U.S. troops in Poland and their relationships with regional governments.
Since presenting my credentials as U.S. Ambassador to Poland last year, I have had the opportunity to visit thirteen of the sixteen regions in Poland. I look forward to seeing the others in the near future.
In many of those regions, I have had the opportunity to meet some of the approximately ten thousand men and women in uniform currently deployed to Polish bases throughout the country. Whether they are deployed to Transcarpathia near the Ukrainian border, members of NATO’s multi-national battalion near the Suwalki Gap in the Lakes District, or the U.S. Army’s easternmost permanent garrison in Europe, right here in Poznan, all of these troops embody our commitment to Article Five of the NATO Treaty: to defend every inch of NATO territory.
Thirty years ago, when I was in Poland on a Fulbright Scholarship, Poland was not yet in NATO. Coming back as Ambassador, one of the biggest changes has been in the confidence and feeling of security of the Polish people. As I have repeated many times, even in the shadow of war to the east: “Polska jest bezpieczna, Polska jest zabezpieczona.” Poland is safe, Poland is secure.
In large part that is due to Poland’s membership in the NATO alliance – as represented by troops from the United States, and other NATO countries, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our Polish allies.
The military-to-military aspect of our relationship is founded on our shared values and is only one aspect of our strong bilateral ties which also include people-to-people and business-to-business relationships throughout Poland. In the last couple weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to visit a General Electric factory in West Pomerania that builds blades for wind turbines to ensure Poland’s energy security and a new Pepsico plant in Lower Silesia.
While relations between our two countries have never been stronger, the special relationship dates back hundreds of years when Poles have fought for American freedom. Poles like Kazimierz Pulaski or Tadeusz Kosciuszko – who built the defenses at West Point, and for whom Camp Kosciuszko right here in Poznan is named.
When we remember the words: “Za nasza wolnosc i wasza” – for our freedom and yours – we remember that both our nations are committed to this special bond.
Americans have fought for Polish freedom. Americans like Merian Cooper. Merian Cooper was a well-known Hollywood filmmaker, but before that he was a pilot in a volunteer American flight squadron that supported the Polish Army during the Polish-Soviet War and was awarded the Virtuti Militari by Jozef Pilsudski.
To my colleagues from the U.S. military, let me just say that you, and the troops that you lead, are heroes for coming here to Poland to reassure the Poles of our commitment to defend every inch of NATO territory. Just as I am the Ambassador in Warsaw, the troops in your districts here in Poland are all ambassadors in the local communities where they serve. They demonstrate not only American power, but American kindness, generosity, and professionalism.
Discussions like the one that you are holding today help ensure the continuing strength of our special friendship throughout Poland. Thank you for that and for everything you do.