Publication: The Times

Full Citation

  • Title Germans Give Mr. Kennedy A Rousing Welcome
  • Author From Our Own Correspondent
  • Publication Title The Times
  • Collection The Times Digital Archive, 1785-2008
  • Date Monday,  June 24, 1963
  • Issue Number 55735
  • Page Number 10
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library Times Newspapers Limited
  • Copyright Statement © Times Newspapers Limited.
GERMANS GIVE MR. KENNEDY A ROUSING WELCOME PRESIDENT'S ASSURANCES ON DEFENCE OF BERLIN From Our Own Correspondent BONN, JuNE 23 Hundreds of thousands of waving and cheering people in Cologne and in Bonn and along the 15-mile autobahn linking the two cities, gave President Kennedy a hero's welcome today. It was as though they were anxious to greet him not just as a statesman but as an old, generous and trusted friend to whom they knew they owed their life and liberty now and in the future. His youth and his spontaneity and the impression of physical vigour and resolution he conveyed went straight to the hearts of the crowd. As he stood in an open car for hours on end beside the aged Chancellor-a striking study in contrasts-waving rather awkwardly, he seemed to be deeply moved by the warmth and enthusiasm he aroused, and almost at a loss how to respond to it adequately. But certainly, his first few hours in Germany established that personal contact with the German people upon which he had laid particular emphasis before setting out. EFFORTS APPRECIATED It showed, he commented afterwards through Mr. Pierre Salinger, the White House press secretary, their " affection for the people of the United States as well as their appreciation of the efforts made by the American people '.'. Both the Chancellor and the President emphasized in striking words the symbolic significance of the visit. "'Your visit, Mr. President ", Dr. Adenauer said, " is a political act. . .. We thank you for coming here: you could not have done anything more effective to strengthen the cohesion of the alliance." President Kennedy replied that his stay in Germany would be all too brief. "But in a larger sense ". he went on, "the United States is here on this continent to stay. So long as our presence is desired and required, our forces and commitments will remain. For your safety is our safety, your liberty is our liberty, and any attack on your soil is an attack on our own. Out of necessity as wel as sentiment, in our approach to peace as well'as war, our fortunes are one." 21-GUN SALUTE Although for protocol purposes this is only a working visit, with less pomp and circumstance, it has made no difference to the nature of the welcome Almost the whole of the Federal Governrent was at Cologne airfield this morning to greet the President. As Mr. Kennedy's aircraft landed Dr. Adenauer and Mr. McGhee, the United States Ambassador, went forward to welcome him. A 21-gun salute boomed out as he appeared at the door of the aircraft. After inspecting a guard of honour of the three Services, President Kennedy moved with the Chancellor towards the microphones. Dr. Adenauer said:- "On June 10. you stated before the American University in Washington that the United States stood by its commitrnent to defend western Europe and west Berlin. In the same speech you said. Mr. President, that the United States would make no deal with the Soviet Union at the exPense of other nations and other peoples. You said. too. that not only did American interests converge with those of its allies, but that there was also an identity of purpose, namely the defence of freedom and the search for peace. Could there have been a better way for you to demonstrate such determination than by visiting the Federal Republic and other countries in western Europe and by paying a visit to Berlin ? "During your visit, you will see various towns and districts of Germany. And wherever you go, you wil become aware of the feelings of gratitude and friendship that the Germans have for the American people." CRUCIAL TIME President Kennedy, in his reply, sketched what seemed to the assembled Germans to be almost in the nature of a programme of action. He said he bad crossed the Atlantic at a crucial time in the life of the grand alliance. He added: " Our unity was forged in a time of danger; it must be maintained in a time of peace . . . our alliance is in a period of transition and that is as it should be. Western Europe is no longer weakened by conflict but is fast becoming a full partner in prosperty and security. Western Europe is no longer the seedbed of world war but an instrument of unity and an example of reconciliation. And western Europe. finaly, is no longer an area of assistance but can now be a source of strength to all the forces of freedom all around the globe. "Here in western Germany you have achieved a solid framework of freedom, a miracle of economic recovery, and an opportunity to express your political idals through action in Europe and to' the world. The people of west Germany have freed themselves from the forces of tyranny and aggression. The people of the United States have now freed themselves from the long process of isolation. Togetber we shall look forward to a new future. Former foes have become faithful friends.... Economically, militarily, politicaUy, our two nations and all the other nations of the alliance are now dependent upon one another. We are allies in the only war we seek: the war against poverty, hunger, disease and ignorance. n our cwn countries and around the world. We all know the meaning of freedom, and our people are determined upon its peaceful survival and SUccesS." GOLDEN BOOK Tuming to Dr. Adenauer, President Kennedy then added: " Finally, I have also comne to Germany to pay tribute to a great European statesman, an archi-. tect of unity, a champion of liberty, a friend of the American people, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. Already he lives in the history he helped to make." At Cologne, Mr. Kennedy's first port of call, huge crowds packed the square before the Rathaus and the cathedral. waving German and American flags, and chanting the President's name. ' Keep up the good work, Jack ", a streamer on one of the Rhine bridges proclaimed. After signing the Golden Book of the city, President Kennedy addressed the crowds outside, saying: " It is most appropriate that I come to this city which is so closely identified with the life and work of your great Chancellor. In my own country, it is sometimes said that there are too many Kennedys in American public life. But I am certain that no one has made that complaint about the Adenauers in the city of Cologne." [The Chancellor's son is Cologne's town clerk.l ATTENDED MASS After attending Mass in the cathedral with the ChanceLlor. President Kennedy left for Bonn. The long procession, with 17 motor cycle outriders, mounted police, a string of official cars, and press buses, was often slowed down to a walking pace. In the small market square of Bonn. which conveys the atnmosphere of a typical German town better than Cologne, another great ovation awaited the President. In the afternoon he addressed the large staff of the American embassy, and this evening he was entertained at a dinner, followed by a reception given by Dr. Adenauer at the Palais Schaumburg. Picture on page 22