Full Citation

  • Title Big Berlin Welcome for Nixon; He Pledges Full U.S. Support
  • Author Harwood, Richard Morgan, Dan
  • Publication Title International Herald Tribune (European Edition)
  • Collection International Herald Tribune (European Edition)
  • Date Friday,  Feb. 28, 1969
  • Issue Number 26788
  • Page Number [1]
  • Place of Publication Paris, France
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library The New York Times Company
Big Berlin Welcome for Nixon; He Pledges Full U.S. Support Four presidents before me have held to the principle that Berlin must remain free. ... I, too, shall hold to that principle. Our commitment to the freedom of Berlin has never been more steady, never more firm than it is today.79 ■mi M§f: lliltlll ;. AT THE WALL—President Nixon visits the West Berlin Mayor Klaus Schuetz and, right, Associated Press. wall dividing the city. At left is Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger. By Richard Harwood and Dan Morgan BERLIN, Feb. 27 (WP)—Presi¬ dent Nixon made a symbolic and emotional visit today to West Ber¬ lin where, for the first time on his European tour, he v/as greeted by great crowds that seemed moved by his presence. In this lonely outpost of the Western alliance, deep in East German territory, he promised time and again that the United States would guarantee the survival of the 2.2 million Berliners in the western zone. Echoing President John F. Ken¬ nedy, who declared on a visit in 1963 “I am a Berliner,” Mr. Nixon told the isolated city: “Sometimes you must feel that you are very much alone. But al¬ ways remember, we are with you and always remember that people who are free and who want to be free around the world are with you. In the sense that the people of Berlin stand for freedom and peace, all the people of the world are truly Berliners.” West Germans said he at¬ tracted far smaller and much less enthusiastic crowds than the late President Kennedy, whose ap¬ pearance here, the Germans said, was “unique.” But there were hundreds of thousands along the route of Mr. Nixon's motorcade Nixon’s Speech—Page 2 through the city and his speech to an audience of several thousand at the huge Siemens factory in the British sector evoked a deep emotional response. They roared their gratitude— and some wept—when he declared: “Let there be no miscalculation: no unilateral move, no illegal act, no form of pressure from any source will shake the resolve of the Western nations to defend their rightful status as protectors of the people of free Berlin... the Amer¬ ican responsibility here is derived from the most solemn interna¬ tional agreements. But what we have gone through together in those 24 years has given those agreements a special meaning. “Four presidents before me have held to the principle that Berlin must remain free. I tell you here and now that I, too, shall hold to that principle. Our commitment to the freedom of Berlin has never been more steady, never more firm than it is today.” The president arrived from Bonn at Tempelhof Airport in mid¬ morning, in the company of West German Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger, Foreign Minister Willy Brandt and other officials. The sun was shut out by dense, gray clouds. The temperature was below freezing. But the U.S. mili¬ tary command laid on a warm wel¬ come. About 3,000 troops were lined up to greet him, along with tank battalions and other armored units. Temporary bleachers were filled with thousands of military dependents wrho waved American flags and chanted, “We want Nixon, we want Nixon.” West Berlin’s radical students failed to live up to either reputa¬ tion or their own predictions of disorderliness as the Nixon cara¬ van wound through the city. They seemed lost in the crowd of cheer¬ ing Berliners, except at the land¬ mark Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on the Kurfuerstendamm. There, the extremists made a show of protest but it was not the “hot welcome” that they had pre¬ dicted. Cameramen standing atop vans leading the way were pelted with snowballs and fruit, but the presidential limousine following went unscathed, although a beer can narrowly missed it and some¬ body threw a half carton of eggs. d s y d e t Before the caravan passed the church, a number of persons pulled out red flags and chanted, “U.S.A.—SA,SS,” and “U.S. out of Vietnam,” and “Sieg Heil.” The crowd yelled “Pfui.” Radio in the American Sector (RIAS) reported that 22 persons were arrested in the incident. Signs of approval for the presi¬ dent were seen in the placards reading “West Berlin Belongs to the West,” and “Berlin Welcomes You,” painted by members of the Young Union—the youth branch of the Conservative Christian Democratic party. The student ideologists and ac¬ tivists whose names are frequent¬ ly linked with radical activity in Berlin—such as Berndt Rabehl, Wolfgang Lefevre and Christian Semler—were not to be seen. In preparation for the presidential visit, the city’s police chief had issued a flat prohibition on all demonstrations. But the presence of American Secret Service men ready to defend the president’s life at an instant’s notice doubt¬ less contributed to the quiet along the presidential route. President Nixon, to most Ber¬ liners, appeared more a seasoned statesman than a new leader making his first foreign tour in office, though there were a few minor gaffes. He referred to Foreign Minister Willy Brandt in his arrival message at Tempelhof Airport as “mayor,” which the translator corrected to “former mayor” and later at Siemens as “secretary of state.”