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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 16, 1998


I am very pleased to announce my intention to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Helmut Kohl, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Medal of Freedom is this nation's highest civilian honor, and it is a fitting tribute to the extraordinary accomplishments of Chancellor Kohl.

Throughout his sixteen-year tenure as leader of Germany, Chancellor Kohl has made historic contributions to the cause of peace and freedom in Europe and around the world. With uncommon vision and unstinting courage, he led the reunification of Germany while pushing deeper European integration, bolstered transatlantic solidarity, and promoted the cause of democracy everywhere. Americans are grateful for the untiring efforts of this inspiring leader, who will rank among those who changed the course of history.

Helmut Kohl has been a life-long friend of the United States and has personally committed himself to the enduring partnership of our two countries. On behalf of all Americans, it is my profound pleasure to honor him with this symbol of our nation's high esteem and deep appreciation.