Senator Helms and the State Department

 Secretary Albright and Senator Helms wearing the T-Shirt she gave him when she spoke at Wingate University.

Secretary Albright and Senator Helms wearing the T-Shirt she gave him when she spoke at Wingate University.

Senator Helms had a long history with the State Department. In fact, there is a story that a State Department officer kept a picture of Helms in office to remind him that the “enemy is always watching.” Helms, however, did not view the State Department as the enemy because all he wanted was for the State Department to work for the American people.

When Senator Helms became Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he had a lot on his agenda. Making sure the State Department was working efficiently was at the top of his priority list. On November 9, 1994, the day after election day, Helms addressed the press saying, “We owe it to the American people to function as an efficient committee whose guiding principle must unfailingly be: What is in the best interest of the United States and the American people?” 

That’s why, on June 13, 1997, Helms introduced the Foreign Affairs and Restructuring Act of 1997 which was signed into law by President Clinton on October 21, 1998. In his memoirs he wrote, “At long last the United States Information Agency and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency were brought under the control of the State Department and the President of the United States.” Helms considered this a major victory.