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Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session With Reporters Following Discussions With Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Bonn, Federal Republic of Germany

May 30, 1989

The Chancellor. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen: allow me to welcome you, Mr. President, very cordially here to the Federal Republic of Germany. This is a good day for us. A few days ago we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Federal Republic of Germany, and these 40 years were also 40 years of friendship and partnership with the United States. Over these four decades, American soldiers defended, together with our troops, freedom and peace in our country. And a lot of what was decisive for the early history of our country was initiated by the United States, and we always received support by the United States.

I would like to welcome you very cordially as a proven friend of our country, as a personal friend who has always stood ready to help me in difficult times. And yesterday and today we met in order to celebrate the 40th anniversary of NATO. We jointly discussed in the spirit of friendship difficult questions which are now important for our future. Your initiative, your new proposal for disarmament, is an enormous step into the future, and it shows the inspiration emanating from the leadership role of the United States. Mr. President, that was a wise, a right decision at a very important point in time. And now it's up to the other side to actually take that hand which has been extended to it, and then that will be a great work of peace.

We have taken up already our talks. I would just like to mention two points on our agenda. First of all, we talked about the foundation of the European Community and then about the completion of the internal market of the European Community by the 31st of December, 1992. This will lend a new quality to European policy, and you know the Federal Republic of Germany has been a motor, an engine, behind this development.

But we are also a motor for open world trade. And if from time to time I hear reports and read reports from the United States that people are afraid and we would isolate ourselves against the rest of the world, drawing up barriers to trade, I say to people: This will not happen in any case, and certainly not receive the support of the Federal Republic of Germany. On the contrary, I firmly believe that in the next years to come, the European Community and the United States of America will enjoy deepened relations -- political relations and economic relations.

For us, the relationship with the United States is of existential importance. And therefore, we also discussed another very important point which goes beyond day-to-day politics, that is to say, the fact that we want to intensify the exchange of pupils and students. We want as many young Germans as possible to go to the United States and to get to know the country. And we also would like to see as many young Americans as possible come over here to our country. And to use an image that's out of this planting of young trees: A forest may grow which stands as a symbol of the solid friendship between our two countries. To put it quite simply, Mr. President, we're glad you're here. You are a friend among friends.

The President. Let me just be very brief and first thank Chancellor Kohl for this warm reception. I told him that I don't believe German-American relations have ever been better. And secondly, I am very pleased with the reaction to the NATO decision that was taken. I think it shows NATO to be together; it shows NATO to be strong. And indeed, I think in challenging Mr. Gorbachev to come forward now, we have moved in the right direction in unity. It is in the interest of NATO; it is clearly in the interest of the United States and all the members in NATO -- the Federal Republic. And I happen to believe that what we've proposed is in the interest of the Soviet Union.

So, we will see what the reaction is, but this was a wonderful celebration of the 40th anniversary of NATO. And, Chancellor Kohl, once again my sincere thanks to you, sir, for your hospitality and for the total cooperation between the United States and the Federal Republic.

Short-Range Nuclear Forces in Europe

Q. Mr. Chancellor, sir, do you consider yourself a winner? Do you consider yourself a winner or a loser on the short-range missiles? Did you get what you wanted, or is it a real compromise?

The Chancellor. I think we were all just winners in Brussels. I think that the alliance has given itself the best kind of birthday present it could have given. After difficult discussions, we came to a joint decision, and this decision is what applies. I think we've -- all of us -- had the personal experience of having to make compromises, and I think that this is a good thing. And we also came to a compromise here. And just as one concrete answer to your question, there are only winners; and actually that's a very rare experience for a politician, and I relish that.

Q. Is this compromise enough for you to win the election next year? [Laughter]

The Chancellor. I am completely certain as to the result of the elections in 1990. And as a very concrete answer to your question, I think it is very helpful with regard to the majority of the German people that we have here a government and a head of government who has proved his friendship with the United States over the course of the years. So, insofar, yesterday and today will indeed be helpful.

Q. Mr. President, when will you go to Berlin?

The President. The answer is, I don't know; and you can have another question. [Laughter]

Q. Would you expand the Berlin initiative of your predecessor?

The President. Defend it?

Q. No, expand it, enlarge it?

The President. We might well; we might well. We might have something to say about that tomorrow in Mainz.

Thank you very much.

Note: The Chancellor spoke at 6:21 p.m. in the Chancellery. He spoke in German, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. Prior to their remarks, the President and the Chancellor participated in a bilateral meeting with U.S. and West German officials.

George Bush, Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session With Reporters Following Discussions With Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Bonn, Federal Republic of Germany Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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