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Public Papers - 1990 - November

Remarks to the Residents of Speyer, Germany


Thank you, Chancellor Kohl. And I'm delighted to be back in the Rhine country, in the beautiful village of Speyer, to be with your great Chancellor and, most of all, to be the first American President to visit the new Germany. It is also a sign of the times that just a week ago the Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, walked your streets, saw your majestic cathedral, and joined with you in the celebration of German unity.

When we were here last year, Germans still lived in two societies: one free and one oppressed; one alive, the other frozen in tyranny; two very different governments, but one people, one Germany.

In May of 1989, I talked to the citizens of Mainz; and on that day, we spoke not only of our mutual defense but of our shared values, not just of the matters of the mind but of the deeper aspirations of the heart. And we heard the call for a common European home, but insisted on another home: one in which all within would be free to move from room to room, free to enjoy their right of self-determination.

I will never forget November 1989, when word came from Berlin: The wall has been breached. And soon the world was transfixed by startling images, scenes of celebration and triumph as thousands of Germans joined hands across a mass of concrete that had divided your nation for far too long. That was an exciting moment, and I'm delighted today to celebrate that moment in the home area of the first Chancellor of this new Germany, Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the man who united Germany.

I'm also here because the unification of Germany is not just cause for celebration by one people; it's a cause for celebration for all who love freedom. And let me just tell you: No people on Earth are more thrilled by your achievement than your friends in America.

I see the rains are coming. [Laughter] So, I will conclude, mercifully, by saying thank you to all the citizens of this marvelous part of Germany. Thank you for this warm welcome for Barbara and me and, I say symbolically, for the United States of America. And thank you, Chancellor, for your words about standing together in the face of tyranny, standing together to see that aggression will not pay in this world. God bless the people of a united Germany. Thank you. God bless each and every one of you. Thank you for this warm hospitality. Good luck.

Note: The President spoke at 12:50 p.m. in the town square. Prior to his remarks, he attended an organ recital at Speyer Cathedral. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

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