Rathaus Schöneberg

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Rede beim Essen im Rathaus Schöneberg

(Berlin, 26. Juni 1963)

Mr. Mayor,

Once again Berlin and the Federal Republic have spoiled us for home. Now, when we don't get a million people out for a political speech in Worcester, Mass., or Danbury, Conn., everyone, especially the reporters, is going to write that there are signs of apathy in the United States. And when we have crowded dinners of 50 at the White House, I am afraid this dinner is going to throw a pall on the entire affair.

I take great pleasure in accompanying my fellow Americans here - the Secretary of State, the members of the Military Mission here, General Clay, who is so identified with this city; Dr. Conant, who is identified with this city and the Federal Republic and the best of our life in the United States; Mr. George Meany, who regards the responsibility of the American trade union movement as worldwide in its commitment and fight for freedom. So I come to Berlin in very good company.

And most of all, I am glad I came to the Federal Republic to visit the Chancellor, to come to this city whose Mayor has been so unusual in his exposition of the identity of Berlin with the whole cause of freedom; and the counsels of those who suggested that we let down the anchor and stay in the harbor instead of setting sail, it seems to me, have been proven, on this occasion as on so many others, wrong.

I came last to Berlin in July of 1945, and I saw a ruined city. So when I see these bright and shining buildings and, much more importantly, these young and bright and shining faces, I am not fooled that this has been an easy 18 years.

So I ask you all to join with me in drinking to the people of Berlin on both sides of the wall, to the German people on both sides of the wall, to the cause of freedom on both sides of the wall, and to the very good health of the Mayor, who symbolizes so well what has gathered us all together here today. ♦

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Peter W. Klages