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Remarks Following Discussions With Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany in Berlin

June 01, 2000

First, let me thank Chancellor Schroeder for making me feel welcome again in Germany and Berlin. I am delighted to be here, and I have enjoyed this visit. And I'm looking forward our dinner tonight and the Conference on Progressive Governance, beginning tomorrow, and of course, my trip to Aachen in the morning.

The Chancellor has faithfully reported on our lengthy conversation. We spent virtually all of our time discussing Russia, the question of missile defense, and the really heartrending child custody cases that he mentioned.

I would like to also, though, publicly thank the Chancellor for the leadership of Germany in the cause of European unity and in our efforts to bring peace and freedom and human rights to the Balkans, something that is very important to the United States.

Let me say to all of you that the relationship the United States has with Germany has been profoundly important for the last 50 years. But I think it may well be even more important for the next 50. And I intend to do whatever I can in the time I have left as President to make sure this relationship is on solid ground for the new century.

I am particularly grateful that a number of our citizens will be participating in Expo 2000 here, in the American Voices program, having conversations with the German people directly. And I thank Commissioner Rollnick and the others who are responsible for that.

Finally, just one word on a development back in the United States today. I was very pleased with the decision of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the Elian Gonzalez case, upholding the decision of the Justice Department that he should be with his father. We have tried to honor the principles that the Chancellor and I discussed today in the cases involving our two countries in that case. I think the Justice Department and the Attorney General did the right thing, and I'm very pleased that the eleventh circuit upheld their decision today.

Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:38 p.m. at the Chancellery. In his remarks, he referred to Commissioner Nancy Ellison Rollnick, Presidential Scholars Foundation; and Cuban youth Elian Gonzalez, rescued off the coast of Florida on November 25, 1999, whose custody case was decided by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of his Cuban father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Chancellor Schroeder.

William J. Clinton, Remarks Following Discussions With Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany in Berlin Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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