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Letter to Chancellor Adenauer on the Occasion of His Retirement.

October 14, 1963

[ Released October 14, 1963. Dated October 10, 1963 ]

Dear Mr. Chancellor:

On the occasion of your retirement from the Chancellorship after many years of extraordinary service, I want to take this opportunity to salute once again your contribution to Germany and the cause of freedom.

You assumed the burdens of office at a most difficult and painful moment in the history of the German people--after long, hard years of dictatorship and devastating war. And to your people you have given, by your wise and responsible leadership, a sense of national identity, purpose and pride.

Western Europe, prior to your service as Chancellor, was still obsessed by bitter and traditional rivalries, hatreds and fears. Today the movement toward Western European unity and Atlantic Partnership, to which you have been a prime contributor, has replaced disorder and dissension with cooperation and reconciliation, and has banished for the first time in history the threat of another war between any of the Atlantic allies. The relations between my country and yours have never been closer--and the bonds which you have so greatly helped to forge will endure.

Germany today is respected by all free nations as a champion of peace and freedom-for you have created in your own land a stable, free and democratic society which stands in sharp contrast to the repression still enforced on so many of your countrymen. To them you have given both help and hope, rightly refusing to accept as permanent the unnatural division of your nation, capital and people.

For these reasons and many more, Mr. Chancellor, your place in history is assured and your mark on history is indelible. The peaceful and democratic transfer of power over which you now preside is symbolic of the changes you have inspired; and I know I speak on behalf of all Americans in paying tribute to your magnificent record of achievements in the past and in wishing you every happiness and success in the future.



[His Excellency Dr. Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn]

John F. Kennedy, Letter to Chancellor Adenauer on the Occasion of His Retirement. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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