Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967

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Author: Lyndon B. Johnson  | Date: August 15, 1967

347
Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Chancellor Kiesinger of Germany.
August 15, 1967

Mr. Chancellor, Mrs. Kiesinger, Mr. Vice Chancellor, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

Mrs. Johnson and I are delighted, Mr. Chancellor, to welcome you and Mrs. Kiesinger and your distinguished associates who have come with you to the United States. We greet you with the honors and respect due the leader of a great free nation-and with the very warm affection that we feel for close and trusted friends.

The relationship between our peoples has a long history. Our German ancestors helped to build this country of ours. They contributed much of this country’s greatness. German poets and scholars, philosophers and artists, scientists and churchmen—whose work is the common property of all mankind—have truly enriched the national life of America.

In the past two decades, we have worked shoulder to shoulder to build together a prosperous and a free Europe, and a prosperous and a free Germany. And, Mr. Chancellor, together we have been remarkably successful.

Mr. Chancellor, I recall with pleasure our first meeting at Bonn earlier this year. Then, as on earlier visits to your country, I saw a great democratic nation risen from the ruins of war. I saw a free people living in prosperity and dedicated to the cause of freedom. I saw a nation pledged to protect that freedom and pledged to protect that prosperity—and thoseof her allies as well—through the alliance which for almost two decades has sheltered us all.

Our meetings here in the White House today and tomorrow will continue our earlier friendly conversations in Bonn. They will give us an opportunity to discuss the important-yes-the numerous problems facing our two countries, facing the alliance, and facing the world.

Yesterday’s triumphs can give us heart-and direction—for today’s challenges. We have stood together to secure the safety of Europe. Today we stand ready to assure its future. We here in America are ready, as well, to work with you in the great task of ending the artificial division of your country.

Though Europe remains fixed in our attentions, both of us, I know, must be aware of the very urgent responsibilities that face us in other parts of the world.

In Southeast Asia, aggression by terror and warfare tests the proposition that nations have the right to chart their own paths in peace.

Tensions now strain the stability of the Middle East.

And the oldest enemies that mankind knows—poverty, hunger, disease, and ignorance—continue to master vast areas of the world in which we live.

These are problems that constantly press all of us for attention, even beyond the borders of our alliance. They can be ignored only at the peril of our own security. For distance cannot confine them. They threaten to erode the structure of peace throughout the world.

Mr. Chancellor, I look forward with great pleasure to exchanging views and ideas with you. I hope that our talks together will reinforce the already great confidence and cooperation that exists between the American people and the German people.

We are so glad that you are here. We hope that you will enjoy your stay.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:45 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger and Vice Chancellor Willy Brandt were given a formal welcome with full military honors. The Chancellor responded as follows:
Mr. President, Mrs. Johnson, ladies and gentlemen:

Mrs. Kiesinger and I, Vice Chancellor Brandt, and my associates are most cordially grateful to you, Mr. President, for the solemn and warm reception you have been extending to us in this historic place, the official residence of the President of the United States of America.

I come here as the head of government of a country, a friend and ally of the United States of America. Our talks will certainly deal with problems of interest to our two countries, but they will certainly also touch upon those great questions of peace, security, and justice in the world.

In this way—you have pointed that out already-Mr. President, we are going to continue the talks we had in Bonn earlier this year, when you came over—and I may say that the German people were very grateful to you, Mr. President, for this gesture-to participate in the funeral of Konrad Adenauer.

In Bonn, we were agreed that the North Atlantic Alliance, as an instrument of peace, must preserve and will preserve and strengthen peace.

You may be convinced, Mr. President, that the Federal Republic of Germany will, to the best of its capacity and ability, make its contribution. We know, and we have always been clear in our minds, that this alliance is not of an aggressive character, but it serves to safeguard peace.

We regret that conditions existing in the world today make it necessary to maintain huge armies, to maintain strong armaments. But these conditions should not keep us from, on the contrary, they should encourage us to pursue together, a policy of detente in order to settle conflicts, in order to eliminate causes of conflicts, in order to overcome differences between countries, in order to create a climate of trust and confidence which will guarantee lasting peace.

As regards these great objectives, I may say, Mr. President, that I feel in full agreement with yourself.

As regards the Federal Republic of Germany, it will certainly do whatever it can do within its field of activity and responsibility.

In Western Europe we have pursued a policy of reconciliation and cooperation with France, with whom for centuries we have been fighting and warring. We are striving for unity of all Europeancountries, to the establishment of a Europe which will then be a friend and partner of the United States of America, and which wants to be such a friend and partner of the United States.

As regards Eastern Europe, I have, in my government declaration, extended the hand of reconciliation to these countries as well and we have already made efforts and have begun to pave the way of understanding.

We have established diplomatic relations with Romania, which the Foreign Minister recently visited. We have concluded the trade agreement with Czechoslovakia and we are also striving for friendly and neighborly relations also with Poland and the Soviet Union.

Of course, there is one great problem, one obstacle, still in the way of these efforts and that is the question of the division of our country.

Mr. president, I should like to thank you for the understanding you have been showing for this our problem and for the readiness to help us to find a just solution to this problem. We will never surrender our efforts to attain this objective, but we are also aware, in doing that, in trying to bring about the reunification of Germany, of the responsibility for peace we have also in the world.

This may be a long and thorny way, but we will never yield in our efforts.

Mr. President, I did not come over here to speak to you only of our problems. We are fully aware of the enormous problems, the enormous worries and concerns with which the United States of America is confronted, and we fully see the heavy burden you have to carry on your shoulders, Mr. President.

But you may be convinced, Mr. President, that what we will be able to do, we will certainly contribute in order, at least a little bit, to mitigate or to take off some of the burden you have to carry-fully aware of the responsibility we have.

Earlier this year, we celebrated in Bonn the 20th anniversary of the initiation of the Marshall Plan in the presence of distinguished guests from the United States of America. The German people know that they owe a great debt of gratitude to the United States of America for the assistance and support they have been receiving at that time and later.

And the German people want to repay at least part of that debt of gratitude by helping to support those young countries in the world which are not yet able to develop themselves to get over their situation of misery, poverty, and distress. We want to pursue that policy, together with the United States of America.

Let me conclude, Mr. President, by saying that we want to strengthen the friendship and to make this friendship with the United States of America closer, bearing in mind the words of your countryman, Emerson: "The only way to have a friend is to be one."
Thank you.

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Chicago: Lyndon B. Johnson, "347 Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Chancellor Kiesinger of Germany.," Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1196 772–773. Original Sources, accessed February 7, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=94EAV76BY83W21L.

MLA: Johnson, Lyndon B. "347 Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Chancellor Kiesinger of Germany." Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1196, pp. 772–773. Original Sources. 7 Feb. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=94EAV76BY83W21L.

Harvard: Johnson, LB, '347 Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Chancellor Kiesinger of Germany.' in Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1196, pp.772–773. Original Sources, retrieved 7 February 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=94EAV76BY83W21L.