President Heuss, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Rarely has this house had a greater honor than has come to it this evening in the opportunity to entertain the President of the federal German Republic. Never before has the head of the German state visited this nation.
And so this evening, President Heuss, there are people here who have come to see you because they are old friends; they come here with an affectionate regard for you.
All of us are here in admiration and esteem for the nation of which you are head, and for the characteristics they reveal and you symbolize-their dedication to freedom, to liberty, to the rights of men.
Those are the values that tie this nation to your people so firmly, and we feel especially tonight that it is not only a great honor but a great privilege to ask this company to rise and drink to you a Toast.Note: The President proposed this toast at a state dinner at the White House, at 9:45 p.m. President Heuss responded (through an interpreter) as follows:
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I think you have said and you have done me two great honors by saying that this house received an historical honor tonight through my visit.
I have read quite a lot about American history, but what I am getting here are living impressions of American history. This afternoon I was at Mount Vernon. Tonight you were kind enough to show me Lincoln's chair in the Lincoln Room. And we are surrounded by history, we are determined by history, and we are influenced by history.
Tonight, when I was privileged to receive together with you, Mr. President, I have seen many faces--well-known faces, loved faces, the faces of Americans whom I have met in Germany, at a time when they met us with some restraint and reserve, and perhaps also with mistrust and perhaps also with a raised finger.
But it did not take very long before they became very good friends of ours, and they supported us in our efforts to re-establish our country, to rebuild our economy, to restrengthen our nation. And I think that was the greatest achievement of the last American generation in turning out to be such a great helper and supporter of the German people in their efforts to rebuild their country after the misery, after the horrors of the war through which they had been.
But I think I am going too far now that goes beyond an after-dinner speech. I will say something about that tomorrow in the speech I am going to make to Congress. But because of what you said just now, I think I was forced, I was compelled to make these remarks to that effect.
(Interpreter): Then the President of the Federal Republic of Germany raised his glass to the health of the President of the United States, to the prosperous future of the American people and to lasting friendship between the United States and the German Federal Republic.]