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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  May 29, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight we look at the new whitney museum of american art. joining me renzo piano the architect and adam weinberg the museum director. >> for me, american art was and is about progress, is about attitude. so for me, the nuance of american art was like an incredible challenge, i mean, bringing together my sense with something called freedom that is an absolute necessity. >> rose: we conclude this evening with al hunt on the story. al is joint by sir peter westmacott, british ambassador to the united states. >> i think the relationship of the principals is important. if you look at the last time david cameron was here in january, the president made it clear david cameron was one of
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his closest and most appreciated friends and advisors and partners and talked about a special and indispensable relationship with the united kingdom. i think from the top, therefore, the relationship is very strong but it's got much more to it than that. we've got a defense relationship, a foreign affairs relationship, a powerful economic, business and cultural relationship. >> rose: the whitney museum and british ambassador when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: >> rose: additional funding provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york
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city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: the whitney museum of american art opened in new york's greenwich village in 1931. its mandate was to focus exclusively on the art and artists of this country. the museum moved to the marcel designed building on madison avenue in 1966. now the whitney returns to its roots. its new building designedly renzo piano will open just a few blocks from his original location. it's a contribution to downtown and the changing landscape. joining me is renzo piano, the architect and museum's director adam weinberg. this is a remarkable story about art, architects, about a humid, it's about a city and it is about the driving passion of people to make sure that the
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whitney would live on and reflect our time in the future as well. so it's a great honor to have and and renzo piano back at this table. welcome. so it's complete after some dozen years of planning and building. how do you characterize this moment for you? >> well, the whitney has been trying to expand, actually, for nearly 30 years. we tried to expand next to our building uptown. it was actually four directors ago. the collection, when we first moved in was only 2,000 works and today it's 22,000 works. the idea of being able to see not just what we have but to offer possibilities and aspirational spaces for artists to do things like we've never been able to do before. >> rose: and the great irony is you going back to your roots. >> and it feels comfortable. the greatest compliment we've received in the last weeks is it feels like the whitney, even
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though it's a very different kind of space. >> rose: but hasn't there been some effort to design a new whitney building for a while? >> yes, it's been going on for decades. michael graves many years ago made an attempt and kulhauf did and then renzo uptown but we agreed it wasn't the space you needed for contemporary art. >> rose: leonard is a great friend of this program and i'm sure a friend of yours. he calls you up and says what? >> i was on the site of the morgan library that day. >> rose: that you designed. >> yeah, that i designed. i was actually inside the big globe. he called and said why don't you come for coffee? of course, he was lying because i said, of course, i come for the coffee. >> rose: tell me the truth --
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did you have any notion of what he really wanted to talk to you about -- >> no. >> rose: -- was designing a new building? >> no, i didn't know anything. also, i'm like children, i'm fooled. i'm like playing in the sand in the beach and somebody come up and say -- i have to play. so i have to do that. so i went up and came in the board room, and it was full of people. it was a design selection committee. and great people. >> rose: adam was there. >> adam was there. >> rose: learned, melba, bob hurst -- so you're sitting there with the board, not just leonard. >> no, with the entire board. >> rose: yeah. >> then i started to think that it wasn't coffee (laughter) >> rose: it was not about coffee.
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>> so we started to talk and that's all. >> rose: no, that's not all. >> there was actually a bit of behind the scenes charlie in that we were interviewing a number of architects and leonard said we should ask one or two questions to every architect as a constant. so we asked every single architect, about a dozen, what is your favorite museum building in the world? and every architect named one of renzo's building and at the end of the process leonard turned and said, wait a minute, we have 12 architects, everybody loves renzo piano's buildings, why aren't we talking to renzo piano? (laughter) >> rose: which ones did they love? >> the byler museum, the manil and the pampadi museum, those three were the ones names came you have over and over again. >> rose: but you said to them, i'm not prepared to compete.
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i don't do that. if you want me to do it, offer me job and i'll -- me the job and i'll do it. >> yeah, but i hope you understand. you saw the layout. at a certain age you don't want to fall in love with jobs like that. you don't want to fall in love and then the bride goes away with somebody else, it's just too much. >> rose: so you don't want to fall in love with the idea of building this museum because you're going to tell them what your vision may be and then they may say we're going with somebody else. >> yes, it's a passion. you cannot do this profession without passion. you have to put yourself into it. and also this was really incredible because i am european, i am italian. i grew up in my country. you grow up with great rulers
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and culture in italy but at the same time you need freedom rebellion and progress. for me, american art is about purpose is about a wide attitude. so for me making the new of the american art is an incredible challenge. bringing my sense with freedom which is absolute necessity. >> rose: you hope to incorporate following elements into the museum's design -- social life urbanity, invention, construction, technology, poetry and light. that's hugely ambitious (laughter) >> but this is true. it is about all those things coming together. it's about social life
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urbanity, a sense of community, it's about art, it's about poetry, it's about fighting against gravity, trying to create something that is playing with light and that's part of it. but then that building downtown weighs 28,000 tons, made out of steel and everything else. but you need innovation to do that and this building must last for thousands and thousands of years. >> rose: and in a unique place. how did you find the place? >> it was a place that the city had reserved at the south end of the high line. they wanted a culture anchor for the side line. originally the dia foundation was planning to build something there and when they didn't we approached the city about a
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possible site and kate and the commission of cultural affairs said this is a site that would be available to us and we were thrilled because it's very hard to find horizontal property in manhattan, just not much space and especially at a favorable price. i was thinking about what renzo said is that we love the kind of wild character of the neighborhood, i mean the kind of roughness of it, a word we use which renzo hadn't heard at the time was feral. we wanted something with a wildness to it. it's such a refined building, but the roughness to have the floors and the concrete, it's not just all about finesse or elegance, it's about something a little bit rougher and wilder and connected. >> rose: how would you describe the look of the outside? >> it's wild, maybe. >> rose: you would? >> a bit wild.
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you make a building that is the heart of american art, it's about freedom. it is about these things about freedom and part of purpose. so when you make a building like this, you must express that idea. you must express that kind of brave attitude to the city and also this building is designed actually to point to the city on the one side, on the east. it's broken down. it's enjoying time. meandering on the space. loitering, taking your time. but on the other side, it talks to the rest of the world. on the other side on the west it talks to the traffic on the highway, and then new jersey and then the far west. and if you look careful, you can see -- >> rose: you can see across america. (laughter)
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>> you see the rest of the world. so this is also part of the idea. >> rose: in your mind did it have anything to do with the building on 76th? >> many, many things coming from that building. first, the flexibility of the space. secondly, when you open the door of the elevator, you find yourself in the gallery. that's another important thing. you know, it's a plates to be in connection with the city. he got madison avenue and he got the beach. but we have a space there. actually, we build the space by making the building flying above ground. that's what the building does. it comes up.
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when you make a building like this for culture, you have to be accessible, easy to reach. and this was impossible with the broiier building. i could go on forever. and mr. broyer was brave. >> rose: didn't you try to extend the building? >> several times. there wasn't enough room. >> rose: you struggled with the idea because ideally you would like to try to keep the humid october on the one side. i realized most museum have a frontal brand image that's the front of the met and the front of the guggenheim, the front of broier. this is a 360-degree building. residenceo composed it from all sides. a lot of critics have a hard time because they don't know
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what is the image of the whitney, and it's the multiplicity, the wildness designed from the inside out rather than outside? >> rose: michael kimmelman in the "new york times" says the location confirms a definitive shift in the city's social geography. >> right. >> rose: part of the city in its social context has moved. >> absolutely. and a big part of that is the high line. over five million people a year on the high line. until the whitney, a wonderful walk without an anchor on either end. it looked like a place without destination. and a culture on the north end and the whole development of the west side. it was so empty, the lower west side in many ways in terms of just public traffic.
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>> rose: christopher wright said in two short generations the whitney has gone from being a stern but caring homeless shelter to its chic and eager tourist test nations. >> well, i think we're very -- >> rose: you're happy with tourists coming there. >> we love tourists coming there, the more the merrier. but the whitney championed the artists of our time. ms. whitney was an artist herself and her mission was to support the artists of the generation. >> rose: wasn't her dream to do this and was turned down by other museum? >> in effect, she offered to give her entire collection to the metropolitan museum and they said we have enough of that not very interesting stuff in the basement, and it was actually out of a curious refusal, in fact, the whitney was born. she actually was as interested in the artists as she was in creating some kind of museum.
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>> rose: she said i'll create my own museum. >> exactly and it was out of a desire not just to show off what she had. >> rose: you said you were forced to consider the symbolic value it would be. part of your driving mission in your own head was to consider the similar polk value. >> yeah. yes, of course. >> rose: a place for american artists. is that what it was? >> it's hard to say, but i think it's a sense of freedom. you don't design a building by watching. you do a building trying to tell the truth and the truth of the building is it is ours forever, a great collection of art that is an expression of freedom and that's, again, something that for me makes a lot of sense. what you get is something that
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you know, you don't immediately appreciate. it's like the forest, the mountains, like cities, it's something that stays there forever and, you know, sometimes based on time. this thing of the tourists, i know very well the story because 40 years ago, i decide my friend, everyone said this is not for art it's for tourists because this is a typical reaction saying art is for everybody. art is seeking a special life in the eyes of everybody. so we have to make a place for everybody. >> rose: just to suggest what you obviously know, both of you know that art and museums are
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one of the powerful magnet for tourists who visit cities. >> absolutely. but for us, it is about changing lives. i mean, not just the lives of the artists working there, but exposing to people to the art of this moment. i mean, people look back at history and they can accept that they love edward hopper, jasper johns now, but how about the artists of this generation? the josh kleins, the mark bradfords and the rachel harrissons? they come in and are so puzzled because we're so close to it in time it's hard to grapple with it and part of our job is to challenge as much as to celebrate and to test ideas, to put things out there and not just reconfirm what we already know. >> rose: let's talk about the relationship between a museum -- this museum and the the city. we mentioned the high line. you said it was important to let the city and let the street encroach. i mean --
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>> i think that's the reason why i called that place not the lobby but the piazza. i'm italian. and in the city everything starts from the piazza. you experience things here, they come together. this is where people meet people. they got together. it's about not being intimidating. it's about being accessible. so this is the beginning, and then, of course, from there then you go up and you take your shoes off, and you go up and you enter a different world. but the ground floor is public space. >> and we have a free gallery in the public space and the idea is to make whatever art in the lobby completely free and open to the public because it's all our cultural heritage and, you
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know, culture is right, newt privilege. >> it's something that probably not very visible, that ewe're having at many, many functions that were not possible in the old building. >> we have an education space but we have an indoor outdoor black blocks space basically it's a theater where you can be inside looking out or outside looking in. we have 14000 square feet of outdoor galleries on four levels, so the art can be seen from above, below, it's set up so per forms can be done out there, that you can have sculpture out there, installation, projections. so the idea is that the building -- and the big black box. but the idea is that the building is material for the artist, not just a site for the artwork. renzo called the big outdoor gallery the testing platform. >> because, of course, we have been working a lot with artists.
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the building was loved by artists because it was simple nonpretentious and uncompeting. artists love that. we always talk with artists about testing floors, like in the backyard of the factories. >> rose: you've spoken of this idea before which is don't create architecture that competes with the art. >> architecture, i believe architecture is art, not just function. >> rose: it's not just function. >> it is about function, it is about society but is, of course art, but is a different kind of art. it is the art of the arts. it is the art of making place for other arts.
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when you make a concert hall you don't make the concert, but you make a state that is a chamber for sound, for music. that's the same thing we do. it's not actually like diminishing, making more modest all of the architecture, it's actually even stronger. >> i agree. that was one of the reasons we most wanted to work with renzo is because we felt that he put the art first, that it wasn't a competition, it was about supporting it and actually supporting it actually makes both the architecture and the art greater. >> rose: i am intrigued about this idea which you've talked about, a building like this cannot be indifferent to the city it rests in. >> and it cannot be indifferent to people. >> rose: to people. >> to people. you know why? it's very simple. as an architect, you find the right moment, the right place. you don't change the world, but you celebrate the change of the world. the world as it shifts
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something happens. a long time ago, making a big shift. in berlin, the war went down. you don't change the world somebody else changes the world. you're there. you materialize the change. this building is materializing the change, the shift. and because change are not easy to digest, of course, it doesn't please everybody. that's all. but you don't do this different because you want to be different. you do different because it is different. that's all. >> rose: what did you mean when you said this building expresses sort of a poetic movement? >> because i always thought that the building is four dimensions and the number four is people. that's the reason why in paris
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we designed a building called infinity, but the movement of people going up, enjoying the piazza, watching down from the piazza the building is kind of a spectacular in movement. >> rose: that building put you and richard on the map, didn't it? >> yeah, of course. we never got the new job for it. but movement is part of architecture. and this building, as soon as you get in the ground floor, you see three big elevators. you see a big, big elevator. then you see everything from the view is moving. >> rose: was adam helpful or not or just get in your way. >> of course, it was great. we're good accomplices. >> we're good accomplices,
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exactly. >> rose: the conspiracy of something great. but you would meet once a week wouldn't you, whenever he was there? >> well, we met every time he was in new york. >> rose: more than once. >> exactly. we met about every eight weeks. but, for example, in talking about the movement, charlie when renzo and we decided we wanted the elevators front and center which was an echo of the beyeler building, we were turning it to the movement richard love. he didn't really know richard's work and environment. >> he push the button, the art comes to you! (laughter) >> rose: so what new elements are you most excited about? >> well, we have our fifth floor
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special exhibition gallery is an 18,000 square foot column-free gallery which is enormous probably the largest column-free gallery in new york, which means we can make exhibitions to the sides you want. instead of saying we have a certain size and you have to fit it in. we can do big and small shows. >> rose: sculpture. >> sculpture of great scale. the outdoor spaces are truly extraordinary and i think what we really love is when you were in the broirier building you could have been in london or rome. when you're in the building you know you're in. >> no the whitney's always been new york's museum. it's very new york based. this was really the home for new york artists and american art, and we've always had a very international presence, but it was, as you said, based in greenwich village and the
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connectiono the artist whether hopper or calder or sloan, this was really a place to champion their work, not just the picassos and -- >> rose: it was put together by a new york family. >> collectors which ms. whitney was an artist. >> and this idea that the building comes back home is a great point. >> rose: you brought this building in on time, on budget. was that -- >> well, i have an extraordinary board and board leadership who just -- you know, we just said, look, we cannot make a building that we can't afford to build and we can't afford to run, and we built a very sizable endowment as part of the process. >> rose: about a $450 million project? >> i think the project was 430- and we raised another
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250- for endowment as part of it so we would have the funds because many museum has opened and not had the money to run it. we're really pleased because we finish our campaign, we're still always raising money, you never stop when you're building a museum. now the work really begins in a way. >> rose: it seems to me, mean i was there the first night, everybody was happy about this. you had a accidents that artists were there, you know, members of the board were there, you were there. there was a sense of we created something we dreamed of doing and it is what we want it to do. >> as an architect, this is what you want, to make a building that is loved by people and, you know, because buildings need love. they need love like people, and i also feel that it would be loved. >> it's one of the space people
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would feel great in. i remember renzo saying i'm a humanist and i love that idea that it is very much based on human scale and you feel good when you walk on those wooden floors and in the sense the sound, the light, the quality of the space. it's a place that you want to be in. >> maybe there's another thing to say. it's about unpretentiousness. i mean, the building made with the two super finishes, the floor base sample to have the building is made of recycled pine. and we found the wood, cut the wood. and when you go around and see the trace -- and this is very simple because they understand that if they want to name something, they can. doesn't matter. we already have so many names there, you can. so it's not something untouchable.
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it's not something perfect. this idea that is open, flexible but is also, you know, doesn't intimidate. >> rose: we want to look at images and talk about just a little bit about the art. here we go. show me the first image, the building image here. there it is. looking from -- looking from the west to the east. >> from the highway. >> rose: so just tell me what i'm seeing there, renzo. >> what you see is the west side. this big window you see there is the one overlooking the hudson, the far west and the rest of the world. and that floor is the fifth floor, this is where we have the big gallery. then you have the other gallery. of course, the south side of the building is blind for the very simple reason that you don't need the light. but you can see on the top there is life coming inside. of course, you know, when you look at this building -- of course, buildings take time to be part of a city, when you make
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a building it's always new. but i think this building expressed the complex function. >> rose: this image. >> looking east, looking down. on the right you have the high line, beautiful. and, of course, the high line is an awe-inspiring element. and then involved the high line. and then you see the building that is stepping down. and you see the stairs. those stairs are really made to enjoy life, to enjoy flying above the city. >> thinking about the fire escapes in the neighborhood, too. renzo kept noticing the fire i scapes. and those are public stairs people can actually walk over. >> rose: you mean at the top? >> yes. those stairs are public. they're not just utilitarian. >> people enjoy that. >> rose: the idea came from looking at fair escapes? >> maybe yes, maybe not. in architecture, it's like
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everything, it's somewhere between memories and oblivion of course. so you remember things, but, you know, you don't really know exactly what you remember. but, of course, there is kind of an illusion. >> i love it. that part i really love. next image. >> this is actually looking out. this is the magic time that they call the end of the day when natural light goes away and then the buildings start to have artificial light. that's showing where all the conservation and all the -- you know, that's another function of this building is the people working for conservation and working a lot, they are there in the same house.
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sometimes you open the two doors of the elevator and you see through. so on the same floor you have art on the south side and the people working. >> we wanted the people who are working with the art to always be next to the art, to be reminded at all times why they were there and that the art was the center of the building. >> rose: let's see the next image of the design plans. there it is. >> this is just showing the overlapping of the different functions. of course, it's very intense. the ground floor is public. you can see the gallery. >> rose: how do you think the architect renzo piano is different from the architect of that time? >> well, you should ask somebody that question, i guess. >> rose: a significant change
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in you. >> age. age, i guess. >> rose: i mean, your attitude about your work. have you changed some fundamental way you look at it? >> i still feel like a boy and i just know better how to do things and how to build. and also it's about learning. it's about learning. you know, i know it's easy to say, but an architect should leave under 50 years because the first -- should live 150 years because the 70 years is to learn and the other 70 is to accomplish. >> rose: the next slide, the emphasis on hoist elevators and staircases, as you said the poetry of the movement. is that the fifth floor? >> the fifth floor gallery looking south. what you're seeing here, this is a floor devoted to the art -- or
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this section is devoted to tart of the '80s and what you see in the foreground is the poster by the artist donald moffit which is about jeff koons and -- >> rose: i want everybody to go to this museum. that's the top gallery. >> the skylight gallery. >> of course, we catch the light from the north. this is what i did in the bellaire building. every time you cut the natural light, you have to catch the north light. too aggressive light from the south. >> rose: the north light. art studios always want northern light. >> exactly. >> light is probably the most essential material for architecture. it's the least touchable but most essential.
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>> rose: light is immaterial. >> it is immaterial, but if you work with light, look at that when you stand there, you feel. and, you know, the secret about this space, it's metaphysical. it's out of time. it is what the museum does. the museum think it's out of running time and puts the piece of art in a timeless dimension that is meta physical, in some way, and this is what we try to do. >> rose: we've seen a lot and said a lot, and this is a magnificent place, and adam's tenacity as made it happen and the brilliance of renzo piano responsible for something that everybody's talking about. there is a book, the whitney museum of art i think put together -- >> by my daughter. >> rose: in the real sense, a coming of a building given a lot
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of what we showed you here but with detail and photographs and a sense of what it means to create the building and what it means to make sure that it does all the things we have been talking about here. it's connection to the city, its connection to art, its connection to itself. all of that. back in a moment. stay with us. >> hunt: sir peter westmacott is a british ambassador to the united states, playing an important role in what winston churchill called the special relationship. a 4o-year veteran in the british foreign service he previously served as u.k.'s ambassador to turkey and france, for political affairs in washington during the first clinton administration. among ambassador westmacott's area of expertise is iran. he was posted in tehran before the 1979 revolution. he has worked closely with the obama administration on the
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nuclear deal negotiation. while the london-washington ties remain close, there are some schisms over defense spending and britain's role in europe. mr. ambassador, a pleasure having you here. >> thanks for having me. >> hunt: our relationship, does it hinge on president obama and prime minister cameron. >> i think the relationship between the principals is important. if you look at the last time david cameron was here, in january, the president was clear david cameron was one of his closest and most appreciative friends and advisors and he talked about a special and indispensable relationship with the united kingdom, there from the top the relationship is very strong. but it's got much more to it than that. we've got a defense, foreign affairs relationship, a very powerful economic, business and cultural relationships.
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there is all that but some say >> there is a good relationship between obama and cameron. it's not the intimacy reagan and thatcher and clinton had when you were here the first time. >> i think it is close. i have been witness to a number of conversations between them. they ring each other when they need to. it's as good as it gets, it seems to me, and i don't have any complaints about the way the relationship works. >> hunt: you spend a lot of time on capitol hill. >> i do. >> hunt: tell us how the polarization affects you. >> congress is an important part of what we do and there are several reasons why i do that. part is to explain the united kingdom is an important player and partner of the united states, partly because there are a lot of issues direct importance to u.k.-national interest considered by congress for example, with we want to see pta succeed and things come to fruition. that's important, because we are parties to have the iran negotiations which were
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completed at framework level a couple of weeks ago the p5+1 union, we want to see the iran deal succeed. >> hunt: you were here from '93 to '97. how different is the washington of today versus the washington of then. >> if one thing has changed about washington life, it does feel to me as there is influence of large sums of money in the political and lobbying process. it was always there but -- >> hunt: more pronounced. any issue that dominated most of your time in recent months? >> when i was last year i spent most my name on the northern island peace process. i don't think there is anyone that dominates to the same extent. one might be spent all day in the latest manifestation of the
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ukraine crisis, the other might be yemen, then some appalling atrocity committed by i.s.i.l in iraq or syria, for example. but one constant policy probably has been the iran nuclear negotiations. >> hunt: it's in the final stayings of negotiations. you have a lot of expertise in that. you were in tehran, ambassador to tooky. some critics say the french now who are part of the p5+1 are worried the obvious administration is getting too soft in their eagerness to get a deal. what do the british feel? >> the british feel there are six of us in the p5+1 and i think the french have been there, they are part of the negotiation. the framework that we agreed, at the grieved together, we all had something to offer. the u.k. has expertise in centrifuge because our process
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is not gas, like other countries, it's enrich meant through the centrifuges and that's as area where we have specialized knowledge we can bring to bear on future negotiations. we have history. we used to be big players in iran. b.p. more or less began the oil industry in iran. so we go back a long way. i think the framework agreement outsigned, agreed if not signed in lausanne, was the process of us all working together effectively and i wouldn't say one country or other is more important. we want to all ensure iran doesn't get nuclear weapons. >> hunt: what are the prospects for a final deal and when and was there one or two big hurdles? >> there is clearly quite a lot of technical negotiations still to be completed.
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we've had three rounds since the lausanne framework was agreed. there is still more work on several points of concern to us and no doubt to the iranians. we need to ensure there is proper verifiable inspection arrangements in place so we can be sure iran sticks to the term of the deal. we have to be sure that the breakout periods will be adhered to. there has to be full transparency. it will be based on verification, not trust. >> hunt: will it be done by june 30? >> no reason why not. we all knew the date was coming and the remaining items are sanctions. >> hunt: a couple years down the road, you know iran and the iranians, what do you think will be the iranian behavior then? some say if there's more dealings, more economics and
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commerce that it will moderate the country, that they will enjoy the prosperity. others say they will have more resources to do bad things terrorism and the like. how do you see it likely unfold? >> it hard to look into a crystal ball on this, al, but there is plenty of bad behavior in iran in the region that worries all of us involved in the negotiation, but that does not mean to say it is not right to seek a good, verifiable agreement on the nuclear. if we could succeed getting the negotiation in place, i think it's possible other aspects of iranian behavior which concern it might be addressed. if you think about ten years or so, there was a time when you were on with our natural partner against al quaida the forerunner of i.s.i.l because that's a sunni organization that hates shia muslims. we found us -- us and the americans found i.e.d.s made in iran used to kill our soldiers in iraq and afghanistan.
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i think it's possible if we reach the deal iran will see it's in their interest to become part of the international community, but we will have to see how that goes. we will trust and verify and see where that relationship takes us. my own experience with iranians is you don't see a lot of young people there strapping on suicide vests or blowing up airplanes. the young iranians are getting green cards and coming to america and making millions of dollars. they are an indo-european people that are in many respects western leaning, but doesn't go for everybody in the regime or the leadership. let's give iran a chance and see where we get to but take things one stage at a time. >> hunt: you mentioned the war against the islamic state i.s.i.l. bad news recently. do you think things aren't going
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as the brits and americans expected? >> we were disappointed in what happened add ramadi and horrified at what happened at palmyra. we wanted to see the iraqi government be more inclusive less sectarian, more of a government for all iraqis. we had political support, moral support and helped with the provision and training of iraqi armed forces to push back against the atrocities committed by i.s.i.l. that's what we do as a part of 60-strong-u.s.-led coalition against i.s.i.l. >> hunt: the defense secretaries don't seem to want to fight. >> probably some of this is linked to the question of sectarianism and the tradition of many sunnis in iraq that the government is shia persuasion and so on. i think it is disappointing but we have to continue to work to
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try to ensure that the iraqi armed forces have the capability and the inclusive, if you like, nature that they need to have if they're going to seem to be representing the whole of that country. they have begun to push back in ramadi. i note it is in our interest they do so. we've provided a lot of training and equipment. we have to try to continue to work with them until they succeed because it's in our interest they do. >> hunt: mr. ambassador, let me ask you about the special relationship. the "washington post" wrote recently it doesn't look quite as special as it once did, that there are complaints in america at least about the british cutting back on defense spending, quasi isolationist foreign minister that the u.k. may not be as big a player in things like ukraine as we would have wished before. does that worry you? >> well, if you look at the the things your political leaders say, you look at what the president said when he called it special and essential, or the defense secretary who said he
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believes the special relationship is the cornerstone of the national security of both our countries. there are two people whose words i think speak for themselves. >> hunt: but you're cutting back on defense spending. >> we are not cutting back on defense spending. we are honoring 2% defense spending in n.a.t.o. we are the second largest defense spender in the alliance after the united states. we are the largest armed forces in europe and present in many different countries. if you look at iraq on its own you look at what the u.k. is providing in term of precision strikes, in terms of i.f.r. tanker supplies, refueling other people's aircraft, supplying heavy machine guns for the kurds so they can defend themselves providing counteri.e.d. equipment. we we are doing a lot. i've read the newspapers and probably a bit of uncertainty stirred up by the election timetable but we now have a government that's a clear sense
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of its own role and britain's place in the world. i think we are already doing a great deal and of course, for the future years, doing gdp spending in line. we have a strategic review coming up later this year and we'll see what happens with future years. we are spending, you know, an awful lot of money on new equipment, 150 billion pounds, so over $200 billion over the next decade on new aircraft carriers and new airplanes submarines and so on. so i think we're going to be in a pretty good place. it is smaller, or armed services in terms of numbers than they were. but if you look at that capability and what we are doing with those capabilities, it is still worth fighting for. >> another concern in washington is the prime minister's promise there will be a referendum on whether the u.k. should pull out of the e.u. that bothers a lot of people in washington because they say one of the pillars in the relationship is britain's ability to influence europeans.
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if the english or british decide to pull out of the e.u., do you think that would affect the u.s.-u.k. relationship? >> i hope that's not what we're going to do. our prime minister is clear on what the strategy is. the public opinion in the u.k. and not only in the u.k. is not status quo of what european union's work. we need to see more transparency, accountability, a greater faith in member states and in the case of countries like the united kingdom, certain guarantees for the way in which we can continue to go about our business without discrimination and we need to alter welfare rules to take account of issues like immigration in the u.k. states. as we go around the european capitals, we are clear there are other member states that agree was that europe needs to be reformed. so what david cameron is doing simply is to say we need these
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reforms. i want to work with my partners to make your work better. ill will renegotiate the terms of relationship between the united kingdom and our partners in the e.u. and when i have done thatly seek fresh consent from the people of keeping britain at the heart of the newly reformed european union. that recommended will be held between now and 2017. >> hunt: the united states wasn't pleased when print joined the chinese-led investment bank. have you been able to discuss or resolve the differences? >> we discuss everything between friends. >> hunt: still mad at you mr. ambassador? >> mad at me? some people thought the policy decision we took wasn't right. equally, there are other people
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include colluding those in washington who absolutely understood why. if you look at the context, in five years, congress has nod met the i.f.m. quota form to the financial institutions are adapted to the new realities such as china's strength. there was a need for a new financing institutions. we decided to engage with the chinese at the beginning because we believe by being there at the ground floor we were well placed to influence how the bank would be structured. the government issues and what decisions would be taken. more than 50 different governments have joined as fellow members of that bank. we were there early on. the others are there and it will be an awful lot of different governments influencing the way in which that itch structure investment bank is going to be operating. and i think by making that decision by, being there at the begin, we gave this bank a much better chance of being internationally credible and well run. >> hunt: one of many areas of strong agreement as you
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mentioned earlier is trade, and both the obama and cameron administration wants to see a trans-pacific and transatlantic back. the house of representatives the trade promotional you purchased earlier, you have been talking to members, beseeching them, urging them, are you having any progress? >> i find plenty of people who agree with us that one of the best ways of consolidating the recovery from the recession is more and freer trade and more importantly for the future that we as europeans and north americans should set global standards for technologies and industry standards rather than playing catch up following standards by others in the world. so plenty of people understand more free trade is good. you get rid of terrorists, don't have different standards for the same car cold sold in the united
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states and the united kingdom. so there is a lot we can do. the scope for improving agriculture trade, trade in services and respect for international respect in regulations in different sectors and so on. some of it is difficult. will take time. some of it is complex. >> rose: when you report back to london, you're optimistic washington will do it? >> i see the senate agreed to this. i know it's going to be complicated in the house. i see some of my friends at the house who say this is going to be tough. i cross my fingers and hope it will be something where the administration is given fast-track authority in the next couple of months but it isn't just about that. that doesn't mean to say whiff the deal done. we have to complete tactical negotiations. i'm optimistic that a comprehensive free trade deal will be completed by the end of the administration.
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we will do what we can to support it and make it happen. >> hunt: mr. ambassador, thank you. thank you for joining us. see you next time. >> rose: for more about this program and earlier episodes visit us online at and captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
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captioning by vitac underwritten by fireman's fund announcer: the following kqed production was produced in hi-definition. ♪ >> it's all about licking your plate. >> the food is just fabulous. >> i should be a psychoanalyst for the amount of money i spend in restaurants. >> i had a horrible experience. >> i don't even think we were at the same restaurant and everybody, i'm sure, saved room for those desserts.