THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Berlin, Germany) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release May 13, 1998
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT CLINTON AND PRESIDENT HERZOG IN AN EXCHANGE OF TOASTS
Hotel Adlon Berlin, Germany
10:27 P.M. (L)
PRESIDENT HERZOG: Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to welcome you here on the eastern side of the Brandenburg Gate, at the heart of Berlin, which is vividly starting to beat again. I welcome you as a friend of Germany and of this city -- a friend in word and in deed. I welcome Bill Clinton, the political innovator, the President of the United States of America, who has led his country with optimistic vision and pragmatic actions into a new, dynamic, creative and prosperous departure.
Berlin is a symbol of the links between our peoples. This afternoon you visited the grave of Frederick the Great in Sans Souci. That was no coincidence. In doing so, you recalled the excellent relations Prussia cultivated at the time of enlightenment with that bold new project, the United States of America. Two centuries later, Germany and Berlin profited from the success of this enterprise in an unforgettable way through the generous assistance given to this city and the western part of Germany by the American people after the second world war.
Here they experienced firsthand that -- and we most needed it -- we could rely on the American idea of freedom in building the young Federal Republic of Germany, during the Berlin crisis, and most recently at reunification. When we look back together, we have shared experiences of inestimable value: the rewards of persistence, the price of patience, the power of ideas, the victory of freedom and proof of the indivisibility of democracy and human rights.
The world has changed. The transatlantic relationship has changed, too -- from a defense community against external threats to one that will shape the new century. The most important aspect has, however, not changed, that America and Europe share a common destiny. But our partnership will have to excel through new qualities. We will have to combine our resources in tackling tasks and problems that Europeans cannot solve without America, and Americans cannot solve without Europe.
German-American relations remain a cornerstone of transatlantic relations. This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, which we Germans call the Luftbruecke, or an air bridge. And for the Germans present here, I would like to say that the past few days have made me very reflective of the term Rosinenbomber -- and proof for the joke that the Berliners made even in the worst days of the war -- and for the younger people amongst us, it was not sweets and raisins in these aircrafts, but every potato, every kilogram of coal came into the threatened Berlin this way. And I think we should remember that.
Now we must build new bridges of ideas, emotions, human understanding, bridges of learning, of creativity, of standing up for shared convictions. Americans and Germans have taken up this challenge. Just a few weeks ago we opened the first American institution in Europe since the wall came down -- the American Academy in Berlin. It has already started to prompt new ideas among Germans and Americans on intellectual leadership in the new century. We have the opportunity for a fresh start; let's use it.
On this note, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to propose a toast to the health of President Clinton, to the well-being of the American people, and to the hope that the 21st century will also be a century of friendship between Germany and America.
(A toast is offered.)
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. President, Chancellor, members of the German and American delegations -- first, Mr. President, let me thank you for your wonderful toast and for the spirit in which it was delivered. It has been a truly wonderful day to be in Berlin and to be in Potsdam. I am struck more than ever by the friendship that joins our two nations.
Today I have been given many gifts, Mr. President, but to come here tonight to hear Bach on the saxophone is more than I could have ever dreamed. (Laughter and applause.) I thank you.
I am delighted to be in this historic hotel where once one of my predecessors, Theodore Roosevelt, stayed. As I'm sure all Germans here know who are students of America, Theodore Roosevelt was a lifelong admirer of the German people. As a young man he spent time in Dresden, and he later wrote: From that time to this, it would have been quite impossible to make me feel that the Germans were really foreigners.
The rebuilding of the Adlon is one of the many steps taken in recent years to build a new future upon the foundation of Berlin's and Germany's past. Here, close to the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, we see a united Germany that will be a force for peace and prosperity in the next century. Tomorrow, we will commemorate the airlift, the Luftbruecke, the bridge we built together almost 50 years ago.
But long before that, the people of Germany helped America to build bridges too. The Brooklyn Bridge was designed by a German-American, John Roebling. And German-Americans have been building other kinds of bridges since the beginning of our country. After all, Germans helped to create our nation through revolution, helped to preserve it through civil war, and they are still helping to advance our democracy in the twilight of the 20th century.
One hundred years ago tomorrow, a distinguished American summed up the lessons of the century that was then drawing to a close. Carl Schurz served in the Cabinet of a President as a United States senator and as a general in the Army. He was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln. He was also a German, one of many who came to the United States after the revolution of 1848.
I might say that as a result of that revolution, the state from which I come has towns named Stuttgart and Ulm, where we grow more rice than other place in the United States. (Laughter.) Carl Schurz lived quite a long life. And as he reflected back on it, he was proud to have stood for democracy on two continents, in two nations. He never forgot the friends he left in Germany or the two goals that animated the younger generation of 1848: representative government and German unity.
In his speech to a gathering of old '48ers on May 14, 1898, Carl Schurz swore that he would never stop working to spread liberty around the world.
Mr. President, you have led Germany toward these same goals: liberty, representative government, and unity. In countless ways you have worked for unity, reaching out to neighboring countries, building consensus, laying the ground work for a new and peaceful Europe. You have made democracy work at home.
Mr. President, you recently wrote, "Even a superpower needs friends." (Laughter and applause.) Truer words were never written. (Laughter.) And so, Mr. President, I thank you for the friendship that unites us personally and for the unbreakable friendship that joins our people.
And, ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to join me in raising a glass to President Roman Herzog and to the people of the Federal Republic of Germany.
(A toast was offered.) (Applause.)
END 10:33 P.M. (L)