John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Chancellor Adenauer of Germany

November 14, 1962


It is a great honor to welcome you and the members of your government back here to the United States once again. You have, on many occasions, made this long journey, and on each occasion I think it has resulted in stronger ties between the Federal Republic and the United States of America.

As in the case of no other statesman, certainly in the modern history of the world, you have the benefit of a long perspective and a long view of our times, stretching all the way from happier days, as Mayor of your native city in the years before the first war, to being Chancellor of your country in a period of great trial, of great difficulty, and also of great opportunity.

During this period, particularly as Chancellor of your country, you have held to a view of a greater Europe, a greater free Europe, opening up unlimited opportunities, not only to the people of your own country, not only to the people of Europe, but also to all free people; and also a great vision of a greater Europe linked in a greater Atlantic partnership to Canada and the United States and Great Britain.

So, Chancellor, because of that view, which is approaching, we believe, fulfillment, your place in the history of your country and the free world is assured. And we are particularly glad to welcome you at this time when there are so many matters of concern to your country and to us, and to all the countries of the free world, as we move into a climactic period. Chancellor, we are very proud to have you with us again.

Note: The President spoke at 10:45 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was given a formal welcome with full military honors. Chancellor Adenauer responded as follows:

Mr. President:

I thank you very cordially for the particularly friendly words you have just addressed to me, and through me to the German people. I am also very happy and very grateful, indeed, for having this new opportunity to be in Washington, and every time I am here I am thinking back to the first visit to Washington after World War II, this city where the power of the free world is concentrated.

It is true this is my eleventh visit, Mr. President, and it is certainly true that after each visit I left very happy and very satisfied about the results of our discussions. That applies to my meetings with President Truman, with President Eisenhower, and now with President Kennedy.

I believe that more than ever in the last 10 years, we are confronted today with great dangers. But there are also ahead of us more promising prospects for all those who are of good will.

Mr. President, in the last few weeks you had to make very difficult decisions. Events were developing very quickly, and the life of many millions of people might possibly have been at stake, but let me also emphasize this: liberty and freedom was also at stake.

The American Nation supported you and backed you in your decision. The American Nation was ready to accept this challenge to uphold and defend their convictions. Thus, the American people have rendered an invaluable service to their friends, to the cause of freedom in the world.

The measures you have taken, Mr. President, were welcomed right from the beginning and without any qualification whatsoever by the German people, by the German Government, and by myself. We know that the United States of America is the leader of the free world, and we are fully aware that without the leadership of the United States of America, the cause of freedom and liberty all over the world would be lost.

Let me emphasize in conclusion, Mr. President, that we are firmly standing by your side, Mr. President, and by the side of the American people, and we are standing for the cause of liberty and freedom.

Thank you, Mr. President.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Chancellor Adenauer of Germany Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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