Mr. Chancellor, Mrs. Schmidt, ladies and gentlemen:
I am delighted to welcome back to Washington a very steadfast ally, distinguished statesman, and an esteemed personal friend. Mr. Chancellor, the Federal Republic of Germany honors us through your presence in Washington as we celebrate our 200th anniversary of our independence.
Throughout the United States the Bicentennial celebrations of 1976 have rekindled our traditional optimism, strengthened our national unity and our pride as a people, and generated a new spirit of confidence and inspiration as we look to the challenges of America's third century.
Mr. Chancellor, as the American adventure continues to unfold for us, we are ever more mindful that we live in an interdependent world. Accordingly, we attach the greatest importance to our international responsibilities. The United States takes immense satisfaction in having in the Federal Republic of Germany a true friend and ally who shares our deep commitment to liberty, democracy, and human freedom.
Just 30 years ago, the world had witnessed the development in Germany of a democratic state which stands as a model of stability, social justice, and economic well-being. Americans admire the achievements of the Federal Republic and the vital role that you play within the Atlantic Alliance.
The close ties between our countries have this year been dramatically reaffirmed. On behalf of the American people, let me express to you, Mr. Chancellor, our heartfelt appreciation for the Federal Republic's generous participation in our Bicentennial anniversary. We are especially honored that over 4,000 events devoted to America's Bicentennial are being held in the Federal Republic this year.
The Federal Republic has given exceptional Bicentennial gifts to several American institutions. Among them is your establishment of the Albert Einstein Spacearium of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum, which you will inaugurate this afternoon. This new institution, dedicated to a great scientist, scholar, and humanist whose vision transcended national boundaries, is, indeed, a fitting symbol of humanity's progress.
Mr. Chancellor, your arrival today marks our eighth meeting over the past 2 years, underscoring the continuity of our consultations on both sides of the Atlantic. Since your first visit as Chancellor in 1974, the countries of the West have been working more closely than ever between ourselves.
At the NATO summit in Brussels, at the Helsinki summit last August, and in our conferences at Rambouillet and Puerto Rico, we have demonstrated new unity among the industrialized democracies, a new determination to achieve the objectives of peace and prosperity for all our peoples, and a new confidence that we will achieve these objectives. The progress over the past 2 years clearly indicates that we will succeed.
Mr. Chancellor, I look forward with great anticipation to our discussions. I bid a very hearty welcome to you, Mr. Chancellor, as well as to Mrs. Schmidt and to all the members of the German party.NOTE: The President spoke at 10:40 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House, where Chancellor Helmut Schmidt was given a formal welcome with full military honors. Chancellor Schmidt responded as follows:
Mr. President, Mrs. Ford, ladies and gentlemen:
I thank you, Mr. President, for your kind words of welcome, which indeed have moved me deeply. I do attach special importance to this visit to the United States of America which, as you have reminded me, is my third as head of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Bicentennial anniversary of your great country, Mr. President, for us is a date of eminent significance. It is a date of eminent significance to all free and democratic countries in the world. For the citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany, it is a welcome occasion to reflect on the fundamental democratic values for which both our countries stand, as well as the close bonds of friendship that have developed harmoniously in the 27 years since the birth of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The German people do not forget the spiritual and material contribution of the United States to the development of the Federal Republic of Germany and, hence, to what it does represent today. But our recollection also embraces the participation of millions of immigrants of German stock in the fortunes of the United States in the course of its 200-year history, a fact which we Germans are commemorating this year with a large variety, as you have mentioned, sir, of functions and festivities.
During our stay here we shall, of course, not be concerned with festivities only. Our talks will be governed by a number of problems facing both our countries--other countries as well--problems which can only be solved by joint effort.
The community of nations is still confronted with unsolved political problems which cause us concern--complex problems affecting the world economy, problems affecting the future of all of us which demand our full attention, our entire energies, and the firm will of all concerned to cooperate with each other. Your initiative, Mr. President, for talks in Puerto Rico was a valuable step in this direction, with valuable results.
In your address you have rightly pointed out the importance of the Atlantic Alliance, which has increased still more in the light of these problems. Along with European unification, the alliance is the bedrock of our foreign policy. We are resolved to continue making our contribution as before and not to lose sight of the common aims.
I can say without exaggeration, sir, that our bilateral relations could not be better. Our proven partnership is based on firm friendship. My country has deep confidence--and this also goes for my people--deep confidence in the United States of America.
Mr. President, my fellow countrymen back home in Germany and also this distinguished delegation of ours and myself, we wish your great Nation happiness and success on its way into its third century.