THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON AGREEMENT BY GERMAN AND AMERICAN NEGOTIATORS ON NAZI SLAVE AND FORCED LABOR
I am very pleased that a major hurdle to agreement on the historic German initiative dealing with wrongs arising from World War II has now been overcome. I am pleased to announce that there is now agreement on the mechanism for providing enduring and all-encompassing legal peace for German companies. This is an important day for those victims of Nazi-era wrongs who have waited 50 years for justice. It is also an important day for Chancellor Schroeder and German companies. They have shown remarkable leadership in trying to rectify the wrongs committed during the Nazi era.
I hope the German Parliament, whose leaders have been involved in these negotiations, will be able to complete their work on legislation expeditiously so that payments to the victims can begin this year.
German-American relations are based on our common commitment to human dignity coming from a shared history of democracy for over 50 years. This unique German initiative, reaching out to victims of the 20th century's most horrible tragedy, will convey dramatically to the entire world Germany's commitment to justice and human rights. Our countries are entering the new millennium together determined to protect the inviolability of human dignity.