Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks of Welcome to Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of the Federal Republic of Germany

December 05, 1974

Chancellor Schmidt, gentlemen:

I am delighted to welcome you here in Washington, our Nation's Capital, on behalf of the American people.

This is your first visit, Mr. Chancellor, to the United States as the leader of the German Federal Government. It comes at an historic time for both of our countries.

We in the United States are on the eve of our Bicentennial. One of the things that we are particularly aware of is the prominent role played by men and women of German descent in the building of America over the past two centuries. They have made tremendous contributions in fields as widespread as education and science, culture and the arts.

A few months ago the Federal Republic of Germany marked its own 25th anniversary. During this quarter century, the Federal Republic has become one of the world's leading political and economic powers, and also one of its most responsible.

Throughout this entire period of relations between our two countries, it has been marked by a very close friendship and a very close cooperation, and we are particularly proud of that association.

Mr. Chancellor, we live in demanding times. In the effort to solve the formidable economic and political problems confronting us today, close cooperation and mutual help have become infinitely more important than ever. Only by working together can we overcome the current difficulties facing our economies and international economy.

I believe we can do it, and speaking for the American people, I appreciate the support your Government has shown for strengthened economic cooperation in the international field.

We also recognize your international contributions in dealing with the problems of energy, food, and financial pressures.

A keystone, of course, of our present and future cooperation is the Atlantic Alliance. At a time when all members of the alliance confront budgetary difficulties, difficult choices for all of them, we applaud and endorse your country's positive attitude toward maintaining the strength of NATO.

We also appreciate, Mr. Chancellor, your cooperation in helping to assure that no nation bear an unfair burden of the cost of our common defense.

We will have many important issues to discuss today and tomorrow, Mr. Chancellor. I look forward to those discussions in full confidence that these talks will contribute significantly to our efforts in creating more stable political and economic conditions throughout the world. I know that your visit will further strengthen the already close friendship and partnership between the Federal Republic and the United States. Mr. Chancellor, America bids you and your party a most cordial welcome.

Note: The President spoke at 10:41 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where Chancellor Schmidt was given a formal welcome with full military honors. The Chancellor responded as follows:

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen:

Thank you, Mr. President, very much for your warm welcome and for the kind words, regardful words addressed to me and my party.

As you said, this is not my first visit to the United States, but the first time that I have come to this country as the head of government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

I am particularly glad to have this opportunity so soon after you, Mr. President, have assumed your office in order to exchange views on the main questions which do concern us both.

In today's world, we are faced with a multitude of difficult problems whose solutions will make unprecedented demands on our countries and will require us to harness our strength in the common effort.

The world is threatened by severe economic disruption. The Middle East conflict, whose settlement your Administration is working so hard to bring about, and the energy crisis which followed in its wake, have suddenly opened our eyes to the fragile nature of the foundations on which our economic and social and political stability does rest.

The strengthening of these foundations is a task which does concern us all and which we can only master through broad international cooperation, as you said.

We in Germany are conscious of this challenge, and we are preparing ourselves to meet it. In this search we do attach specific importance to close cooperation and consultation between the United States of America and Europe and my own country.

The partnership between the United States and Europe has stood the test. It has existed for more than 25 years in the Atlantic Alliance, which was strengthened by the Declaration of Ottawa in the middle of this year. It has also reflected our common efforts to promote detente in Europe and in the world.

We are resolved to do everything within our capability to strengthen and to further develop this partnership.

The untroubled friendship between the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany seems to be an excellent basis for this, and it is my firm conviction that our meeting, Mr. President, will bring us closer to this goal.

Thank you very much.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks of Welcome to Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of the Federal Republic of Germany Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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