Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Joint Statement Following Discussions With Chancellor Erhard of Germany.

September 27, 1966

PRESIDENT JOHNSON and Chancellor Erhard completed today the fifth of a series of meetings which began in 1963. The two leaders attach exceptional importance to these consultations, which afford an opportunity for intimate and thorough discussion of matters of mutual concern. They were accompanied by Secretary of State Rusk, Secretary of the Treasury Fowler and Secretary of Defense McNamara on the American side and Federal Ministers Dr. Schroeder, von Hassel and Dr. Westrick on the German side.

In two days of wide-ranging talks the President and the Chancellor reviewed problems in the relations between the two countries, as well as questions of world peace and security. The exchange of views, as in former meetings, took place in an open and cordial atmosphere and resulted in basic agreement on all important points. The President and the Chancellor found that the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America continue to share a deep community of interest in all major problems affecting international security.

The situation of the Atlantic Alliance and the state of East-West relations, including the problem of a divided Germany and Berlin, were among the main topics discussed. Questions of long-term Atlantic defense planning, which include the burden on the American balance of payments resulting from the stationing of United States forces in Europe were also discussed in that context. Other subjects reviewed were disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, European unity within an Atlantic partnership, the Vietnam conflict, foreign aid, space and other scientific cooperation, the Kennedy Round and international liquidity.


President Johnson reaffirmed the objective of the reunification of Germany as one of the most significant goals of American foreign policy. Chancellor Erhard stressed the human suffering which results from the continuing artificial division of Germany, and the President and the Chancellor agreed that a solution of the German problem on the basis of self-determination was essential in the interest of humanity as well as of lasting peace in Europe. They emphasized the right and duty of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, as the only freely elected Government of the German people, to speak and to stand for their interests until the German nation has been made whole. They agreed that the freedom of Berlin must be preserved and that the problem of Berlin can be resolved only within the framework of the peaceful reunification of Germany.


The President and the Chancellor addressed two main needs of our day: Western unity and improved East-West relations.

The President and the Chancellor underlined once more the great importance of European unification founded on common action and common institutions. A united Europe is a basic element of Western strength and freedom and a bulwark against the spirit of national rivalry which has produced so many disasters in the past. They emphasized that Europe and North America are parts of a common Atlantic world and have a common fate. It therefore continues to be a vital interest of their foreign policies to multiply and deepen the ties between North America and a uniting Europe. In this connection the President and the Chancellor discussed the problem of the technological gap between the United States and Europe and noted the excellent initiatives of the Italian Government in this regard. The President indicated that the United States stands ready to respond to any proposals by our European allies in this area of advanced technology.

In East-West relations they believe that we should continue to respond to the widespread yearning to heal the division of Europe and of Germany without which no lasting peace can be achieved, looking steadily for ways to overcome the rigidities of the past.

They believe that closer ties between all European nations, the United States and the Soviet Union will serve this purpose. So will new moves to remove ancient fears.

They agreed to explore with their allies every useful step that could be taken to these ends.

The Chancellor discussed with the President the possibilities for further development of the ideas expressed in the German Peace Note of March 25, 1966. The President welcomed this constructive German initiative.

The President and the Chancellor are convinced that Western unity will contribute to East-West understanding--that Western European integration and Atlantic solidarity can open the way for wider cooperation in promoting the security and well-being of Europe as a whole.


President Johnson and Chancellor Erhard discussed fully the problems of Atlantic security. They agreed that tension in Europe is less acute. Yet a basic threat to security persists and the Atlantic Alliance continues to be the vital condition of peace and freedom. They reaffirmed the determination of the two governments to maintain the strength of the Alliance and its integrated defense and to adjust it to the requirements it will face in the coming years. They agreed that a searching reappraisal should be undertaken of the threat to security and, taking into account changes in military technology and mobility, of the forces required to maintain adequate deterrence and defense. This review should also address the question of equitable sharing of the defense and other comparable burdens, and the impact of troop deployment and force levels on the balance of payments of the United States and United Kingdom, and take into account the effect on the German economic and budgetary situation of measures designed to ameliorate balance of payments problems.

The President and Chancellor agreed that it would be desirable to have conversations in which the United Kingdom would be invited to participate along with the Federal Republic and the United States, to examine these questions, in the consideration of which all the NATO allies will wish to participate.

The President and Chancellor worked on the problems which have arisen under the existing offset arrangements between the Federal Republic and the United States. The Chancellor assured the President that the Federal Republic would make every effort fully to meet the current offset agreement insofar as financial arrangements affecting the balance of payments are involved. The Chancellor explained to the President that the Federal Republic would not in the future be able fully to offset the foreign exchange costs associated with the stationing of U.S. forces in Germany by the purchasing of military equipment. It was agreed that that question would be one of the problems to be considered in the tripartite conversations.


The President and the Chancellor emphasized their great interest in an early termination of the armaments race and in progress in the field of general and controlled disarmament.

They agreed that the proliferation of nuclear weapons into the national control of non-nuclear states must be checked, and expressed the view that nuclear arrangements consistent with this objective should be made within the Alliance to provide the non-nuclear Allies with an appropriate share in nuclear defense. They noted with satisfaction the decision of the Nuclear Planning Working Group in Rome to recommend a permanent nuclear planning committee in the Alliance. They hope other members of the Alliance will support this recommendation, which would broaden and deepen the areas of nuclear consultation and would bring the Allies more intimately into planning for nuclear defense.


President Johnson informed Chancellor Erhard of the current situation in Vietnam. Chancellor Erhard reiterated his view that the assistance given by the United States to Vietnam's resistance against aggression is important to the entire free world. Chancellor Erhard stated that in his view the efforts and sacrifices made by the United States in Vietnam provide assurance of the seriousness with which the United States regards its international commitments. The Chancellor expressed his deep regret that the President's repeated peace offers have so far not been accepted. President Johnson expressed to Chancellor Erhard great appreciation for this support and for the tangible assistance in the economic and humanitarian fields which the Federal Republic has given to Vietnam.


The President and the Chancellor discussed possibilities for increased cooperation in technology and science and in particular in the field of space research. The Chancellor expressed his satisfaction that effective steps towards increased cooperation in space research have been initiated since his last meeting with the President in December 1965. The President and the Chancellor welcomed the decision to expand the present cooperative satellite program reached as a result of the recent discussions in Bonn between NASA Administrator Webb and Minister of Science Stoltenberg.

The President and the Chancellor agreed that scientific cooperation should be pressed forward for the mutual benefit of both countries and the advancement of human knowledge, preserving opportunities for additional nations to participate and contribute.



The President and the Chancellor expressed great satisfaction over progress which has been made on the program of German-American cooperation in the field of natural resources and environmental control which was agreed on during the Chancellor's visit last December. They reviewed with satisfaction the visit of Secretary of the Interior Udall to Germany in March of this year with a mission to look into what we could learn from each other. American and German program directors and expert teams have been appointed who are exchanging experiences and making detailed plans, especially in the fields of air and water pollution and urban renewal.


The President and the Chancellor discussed the Kennedy Round. They agreed that the European Communities and the United States are now facing the decisive and most difficult phase of these trade negotiations. Both governments will give a very high priority to their successful conclusion in order to achieve the common goal of encouraging increased world trade by a substantial reduction in trade barriers.


The President and the Chancellor also discussed the international monetary negotiations. They expressed satisfaction with the decisions of the Ministers and the Governors of the Group of 10 at the Hague, and with the plan for joint meetings between the International Monetary Fund Executive Directors and the deputies of the Group of 10. They agreed that the successful conclusion of these negotiations is of the highest political importance.

The President proposed to the Chancellor that there be established secure means of direct telephonic communication between Washington and Bonn to permit easy and rapid consultation on issues of concern to the two Governments. The Chancellor agreed that such an arrangement would be useful and should be set up as soon as feasible.

The two leaders agreed to increase the flow between their countries of the young people who are devoted to excellence in special fields. A competitive scholarship program will be explored to provide a creative exchange of talented youth who can make serious scientific, cultural or artistic contributions to the society of the host country.

The President and the Chancellor were happy to have had this opportunity to discuss together their common problems, as well as to renew their close personal friendship. They reaffirmed the friendship and trust which has developed between the people and governments of the United States and Germany. They expressed gratification at the results achieved by this meeting which should go far toward building even closer relations between themselves and with their partners, as well as toward improving future relations with the Eastern neighbors and other parts of the world.

The Chancellor extended an invitation to the President to visit the Federal Republic next spring; the President said that he would be most pleased to do so if his responsibilities permitted.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Joint Statement Following Discussions With Chancellor Erhard of Germany. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives