Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Toasts of the President and Chancellor Adenauer of Germany

March 15, 1960

Mr. Chancellor and gentlemen:

Mr. Chancellor, in your time you have heard many brilliant toasts, you have been paid many well-deserved and very enthusiastic compliments. In the tradition of American directness and simplicity, I want to say to you merely, "Welcome"--that this country, this capital city, this company at this table, extends to you a truly warm welcome.

We have respected the work that you have done in the rehabilitation of Germany and in leading it along the path of democracy. We believe that under your leadership your nation and ours have grown in understanding and in friendship far beyond anything that has been their privilege to experience before you came to your high office.

Being an advocate of better understanding among people, I have had to apologize more than once about my inability to speak another language. The Germans found this out very well. I was once told by Germans: "Apparently you know only one single German word and that is your own name."

Unfortunately, Mr. Chancellor, there are too many citizens in this country, bearing names just as Germanic as mine, who have the same difficulty. But that doesn't mean that we are complacent, lazy, or lacking in energy in our seeking to establish with your country greater, better understanding, and better cooperation in the many programs that lie before us in common.

In order to pay a symbolic compliment to your people, and to your great leadership of those people, I am going to ask this company to join me in a Toast to your country, to President Luebke of the Federal Republic of Germany--the President!

Note: The President proposed the toast at a luncheon at the White House at I p.m. Chancellor Adenauer responded (through an interpreter) as follows:

Mr. President and gentlemen:

You, Mr. President, have extended to us Germans here such cordial words, and given us such a great and warm reception--you have spoken to us with such warmth and frankness that I can only say that this is symbolic of the relations existing between our two nations.

I remember my first visit to the United States of America back in 1953. I was particularly impressed by the fine ceremony at Arlington Cemetery. That was a deep and unforgettable impression. I thought of my first visit to the Arlington Cemetery this morning when I paid a visit to the grave of the late Secretary Dulles. In 1953 I had my first talk with you in the capacity as President of the United States of America, and I remember the conversation of ours of that time as if it had taken place only yesterday.

I was also impressed soon after I met you again, both here and in Bonn. I remember our first meeting was at Weisbaden, I think, when you were still Supreme Commander of SHAPE, in the residence of our friend, Mr. McCloy.

In the first speech and conversation I had with you as President of the United States of America, you spoke with refreshing and convincing frankness. At that time you also spoke about the problem of controlling disarmament--general disarmament.

Please, Mr. President and gentlemen, be convinced that after the defeat we had suffered, we were all the more grateful for the helpful hand that was extended to us--to the German nation--by the Americans.

And I would also like to say, Mr. President, this morning when I left your office, I happened to meet in one of the offices here in the White House, the widow of General Marshall. I was deeply moved to meet Mrs. Marshall because we owe General Marshall a great debt of gratitude as the father of the Marshall Plan.

Relations have developed--personal relations--between our two countries which are not only guided by reason, but considerations of logic. But what is more important also is the great element which represents the mind and the heart. That in my opinion seems to be very significant.

[Then the Chancellor raised his glass and proposed a toast to a prosperous future of the United States of America, and to the health of the President.]

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Toasts of the President and Chancellor Adenauer of Germany Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235409

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