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Toast at a State Dinner in Bonn, Federal Republic of Germany

July 14, 1978

Mr. President, Chancellor Schmidt, distinguished members of the government, economic society of the Federal Republic of Germany, ladies and gentlemen, my friends:

We who have come from Washington to visit your great country know that we are among friends. I want to express my deep appreciation for the generous reception that all of you have given to us and to offer my thanks to the citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany who have greeted us so warmly.

It's a pleasure to begin my first visit to the Federal Republic as President in the city that nurtured Beethoven—a symbol not only of German culture but also of the indomitable spirit of a free people. There are two great musicians that I have admired in Germany—Ludwig von Beethoven and President Scheel. [Laughter]

But Bonn is equally significant in the contemporary role as the capital of this great and vibrant nation. The political and economic development of Western Europe since World War II is one of the greatest success stories in modem history.

"Thy" apostrophizing "Joy" or "Freedom" in this poem. [Printed in the transcript.]

Mass poverty has been replaced by mass prosperity. Century-old enemies have become political and economic allies and are together building the future of Europe.

And here in Germany you have established and maintained a strong and a stable democracy. As the capital of West Germany, Bonn symbolizes the will and the determination of free people. You are a model in a livable world—a world we can manage, a world we can afford, a world we can enjoy.

Here in this peaceful young capital in the shadow of Siebengebirge, it is possible to envision a day when all nations will have revitalized cities surrounded by rural plenty, a day when all nations will cherish freedom, will understand the function of dissent in a free society, and offer their citizens the right to share in making the decisions that affect their own lives.

As I drove through Bonn today, I saw superbly restored old buildings standing proudly beside splendid new structures. I think this growing capital city that you enjoy is as strong a testimony to the vitality of modern Germany as your remarkable deutsche mark.

The United States is very proud of its long and intimate association with West Germany. We have watched with admiration-sometimes with envy—as you became one of the outstanding economies and the outstanding trading countries of the entire world.

For the last two decades, your economy has provided a powerful stimulus for the growth in Europe. Your policies are consistently among the most constructive on the Continent, indeed, the entire world. And you play an essential role in the developing economic strength of the global economy. They are even more impressive-your policies are—in the context of your commitment to a tree market system and the ideals of a free society.

That commitment is even more significant at a time when terrorist groups wrongly believe that they can force free societies to abandon our liberties. Our two nations are steadfast in our resolve to end the menace of terrorism and in our resolute conviction that democratic liberty and social justice are the best answers to terrorist threats. The application of civil protections in your exemplary basic law is ample evidence of the Federal Republic's devotion to these libertarian ideals.

The affinity between the Federal Republic and the United States goes well beyond our own bilateral interests, even well beyond those of the Atlantic community.

Our nations understand the moral force of democracy. This is the fundamental strength of the German-American partnership. Our peoples 'understand the meaning of fair access to opportunity and just reward. These shared convictions help us to face our problems in a spirit of cooperation. They give us the tools and the confidence to meet the challenges, difficult challenges of a modern society.

Our agenda—and the agenda for all democracies—includes a renewed commitment to global economic well-being. This, more than any other material goal, promises a future in keeping with the age-old yearnings of mankind: an end to inequities among nations, as well as among classes of citizens; a day when an interdependent world of trade and commerce can generate an adequate number of jobs, better income, and a better life in the poor two-thirds of the world; a day when the continuing transfer of capital and technology from rich to poorer countries will have spread the benefits of the industrialized nations throughout the underdeveloped world.

This transfer of funds and services is just as important to our own economic health as it is to the well-being of the lessdeveloped countries. In 2 days, Chancellor Schmidt and I will sit down with our colleagues from the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Italy, Japan, and the European Commission to develop strategies to achieve the goals which I have just outlined. This will be the fourth economic summit conference, and I approach it with optimism.

Although we have not achieved all we had hoped in the 14 months since the last summit conference in London, I share the feelings that were expressed there in a very heartfelt way by Prime Minister Fukuda. When we met at Downing Street last year, he reminded us that the Great Depression, even the war in the Pacific, might have been prevented if world leaders had met again after the breakdown of the London Economic Conference in 1930, and suggested that while we may not achieve all we hope for, we may prevent more than we realize.

Let me say, first, that we meet acutely aware that currency fluctuations, labor migrations, crop failures, and a host of other variables respect no political or geographical boundary; that every event that once was isolated affects each aspect of today's integrated, global economy. We are mutually vulnerable to and totally and equally dependent upon each other.

Together we must seek stable, noninflationary growth and jobs for our people.

Together we must seek to expand and to liberalize international trade policies and to put an end to rising protectionist sentiment.

Together we must seek a multilateral trade agreement that enhances and not obstructs world commerce.

Together we must seek to reduce energy consumption and to encourage energy exploration and production.

Together we must seek an international monetary system strong enough and flexible enough to sustain growth and to bolster confidence.

Together we must seek to share the benefits of economic progress and expanded trade with all the developing nations and channel increased aid to the world's neediest countries.

The United States and the Federal Republic are united in our commitment to these objectives. More is at stake than our economic well-being. Economic strength gives us the means and the confidence and spirit to deter war and to ensure peace.

What we do here in Bonn this week, and at home in the weeks ahead, relates directly to our military as well as our economic security.

Our defense policy is based on a strong NATO. American security is tied as closely to the security of Western Europe today as it has been for the past three decades. We are prepared to deter war in Europe and to defend all allied territory as strongly and as deeply committed as we defend the territory of the United States itself.

Tomorrow I will visit a few of the 200,000 American NATO troops stationed in Germany and the German troops who serve with them. I will assure them of this continuing commitment of the people whom I represent.

When the NATO summit met in Washington 6 weeks ago, we agreed on a Long-Term Defense Program, 15 years, that will guarantee the men the supplies and the equipment to meet any foreseeable military threat. This was not a unilateral commitment; it was a pledge made by the Alliance itself. All the Allies agreed to increase our military budget; all of us agreed to share the responsibilities of our long-term security.

The work we do together in strengthening the global economy and providing for our mutual security gives us the confidence that we seek to reduce tension with our potential adversaries.

We realize that our relationship with the Soviet Union will continue to be competitive for a long time to come and that the Soviets will continue to pose threats and challenges to Western interests. But we also recognize the threat to peace posed by a continuation of the arms race or by our inability to move beyond confrontation.

We are prepared to broaden our areas of cooperation with the Soviet Union, to seek a genuine, broadly defined, and fully reciprocal detente. We hope the Soviets will choose to join with us in making this effort. For our part we intend to make clear that we continue to seek cooperation, but we are fully prepared to protect Western interests.

Today the United States is negotiating a SALT II agreement that will preserve and enhance our own security and that of our Allies, indeed, the entire world. Reaching that agreement is essential to meeting the broad responsibilities shared by the Soviet Union and the United States to nations and to people everywhere.

We are prepared to negotiate in other areas—to seek reductions in the level of conventional forces in Europe, to limit nuclear testing, and to put a halt to further proliferation of nuclear explosives.

But genuine detente also includes restraint in the use of military power and an end to the pursuit of unilateral advantage-as in Africa today. And detente must include the honoring of solemn international agreements concerning human rights and a mutual effort to promote a climate in which these rights can flourish.

If the Soviet Union chooses to join in developing a more broad-based and reciprocal detente, the world will reap untold benefits. But whatever the Soviets decide, the West will do whatever is necessary to preserve our security while we continue, without ceasing, the search for a lasting peace. We will maintain our own strength as a clear indication of our commitment to free, democratic institutions, and our continuing obligation to our NATO Allies.

In my very short time in the Federal Republic of Germany, I have gained a deeper sense of the fundamental strength and the mutual benefit to be derived from our partnership. I believe that we will achieve the peaceful and the prosperous world we seek together.

I hope that you will join me now in a toast to world peace and to the close and enduring German-American friendship and to the health of President Scheel. To peace, and to your health, Mr. President.

Thank you very much. Thank you, everybody.

Note: The President spoke at 9:25 p.m. at Schloss Augustusburg in response to a toast by President Scheel.

Jimmy Carter, Toast at a State Dinner in Bonn, Federal Republic of Germany Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/247902

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