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Bonn Economic Summit Political Declaration on the 40th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War

May 03, 1985

The Heads of State or Government of Canada, the French Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the President of the Commission of the European Community, meeting together in Bonn on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, remember in grief all those who lost their lives in that time, whether by acts of war or as victims of inhumanity, repression and tyranny. We acknowledge the duty we owe to their memories, and to all those who follow after them, to uphold peace, freedom and justice in our countries and in the world.

We have learned the lessons of history. The end of the war marked a new beginning . As the sounds of battle ceased, we tackled the tasks of moral and spiritual renewal and physical reconstruction. Transcending the hostilities which had once divided us we initiated on the basis of common values a process for reconciliation and cooperation amongst us. Today, linked in a peaceful, secure and lasting friendship, we share in all our countries a commitment to freedom, democratic principles and human rights. We are proud that the Governments of our countries owe their legitimacy to the will of our people, expressed in free elections. We are proud that our people are free to say and write what they will, to practise the religions they profess, and to travel where they will. We are committed to assuring the maintenance of societies in which individual initiative and enterprise may flourish and the ideals of social justice, obligations and rights may be pursued.

We recognize that we can secure those aims, and meet both the opportunities and the challenges presented by technological and industrial change, more effectively in partnership than on our own. In Europe, the Community, the embodiment of reconciliation and common purpose, is growing in membership, strength and prosperity. The nations of the dynamic Pacific region are drawing ever closer together. The partnership of North America, Europe and Japan is a guarantee of peace and stability in the world.

Other nations that shared with ours in the agonies of the Second World War are divided from us by fundamental differences of political systems. We deplore the division of Europe. In our commitment to the ideals of peace, freedom and democracy we seek by peaceful means to lower the barriers that have arisen within Europe. We believe that the CSCE process with its promise of enhancing human rights provides an opportunity to increase confidence, cooperation and security in Europe. Considering the climate of peace and friendship we have reached amongst ourselves 40 years after the end of the war, we look forward to a state of peace in Europe in which the German people will regain its unity through free self-determination and in Asia we earnestly hope that a political environment will be created which permits the parties to overcome the division of the Korean peninsula in freedom.

As recognized in the Charter of the United Nations all countries have a joint responsibility to maintain international peace and security and to this end refrain from the threat and the use of force. We for our part share a determination to preserve the peace while protecting our democratic freedoms. To that end, each of us will work to maintain and strengthen a stable military balance at the lowest possible levels of forces, neither seeking superiority for ourselves nor neglecting our defenses. We are prepared to pursue a high-level dialogue to deal with the profound differences dividing East and West. We strongly support endeavours to strengthen the peace and enhance deterrence through the negotiation of meaningful reductions in existing levels of nuclear arms, limitations on conventional arms, the banning of chemical weapons and lessening the risks of conflict. We welcome the opening of negotiations in Geneva. We appreciate the positive proposals of the United States of America. We urge the Soviet Union to act positively and constructively in order to achieve significant agreements there.

We shall continue to seek to work with the developing countries, so as to help them to fight hunger and disease, to build free and prosperous societies, and to take their part in the community of nations committed to peace and freedom. We respect genuine nonalignment as an important contribution to international security and peace.

So, as we look back to the terrible suffering of the Second World War and the common experience of 40 years of peace and freedom, we dedicate ourselves and our countries anew to the creation of a world in which all peoples enjoy the blessings of peace, of justice, and of freedom from oppression, want and fear; a world in which individuals are able to fulfill their responsibilities for themselves, to their families and to their communities; a world in which all nations, large and small, combine to work together for a better future for all mankind.

Ronald Reagan, Bonn Economic Summit Political Declaration on the 40th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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