Full Citation

  • Title Destroy ‘brutal’ Berlin Wall says Reagan
  • Author Brodie, Ian
  • Publication Title The Daily Telegraph
  • Collection The Daily Telegraph
  • Date Saturday,  June 13, 1987
  • Issue Number 41047
  • Page Number 6
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library Telegraph Media Group
  • Copyright Statement © Telegraph Media Group Limited.
FOREIGN NEWS Destroy 4brutaP Berlin Wall says Reagan By lan Brodie in West Berlin PRESIDENT REAGAN issued a direct and personal challenge to Mr Gorbachev yesterday to tear down the "brutal division" of the Berlin Wall in the name of peace and freedom freedom. _K . . , To the cheers of more than 20,000 festive West Berliners. Mr Reagan capped his European visit with a message of hope that Mr Gorbachev's "glasnost" could lead to East-West cooperation and a breaking down of barriers. The evening before. West Berlin police had made 20 arrests as Left-wing antiReagan demonstrators looted stores and set fire to cars. Mr Reagan taunted the Communists that the West's progress had exposed their system as a failure. It was not only technologically backward but suffered from declining standards of health and insufficient food. 'Open this gate' As Mr Reagan made his speech. Brandenburg Gate, the 18th century memorial to imperial Germany that has become a symbol of national unity denied towered behind him. It now stands isolated in the no-man's land between East and West Berlin. Also at his back was the egregious Wall that winds across the city for 28 miles. His voice rising, Mr Reagan declared: "General SecretaryGorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet L'nion and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalisation, come here, to this gate. "Mr Gorbachev, open this gate. "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall." 'Speech broadcast* It may have been theatrical, but it followed the standard for emotional Berlin speeches set by President Kennedy a few months before his assassination in 1963 with his famous "Ich bin em Berliner" address. Recalling that speech, Mr Reagan also uttered a phrase in German to claim kinship with the city. "Wherever I go, whatever I do: Ich hab noch ainen koffer in Berlin." literally, "I still have a suitcase in Berlin", meaning part of him is always there. He told his audience that the gathering was being broadcast throughout Western Europe and North America. "To those listening throughout Eastern Europe, I extend my wannest greetings and the goodwill of the American people. To those listening in East Berlin, a special word. 'Question of freedom' "Although I cannot be with you, I address my remarks to you just as surely as to those standing here before me. For I .join you as I join your fellow ^«ountrymen in the West in this Sfirm, this unalterable belief: Es gibt nur ein Berlin . . . •* "President von Weizsaecker *bas said: The German question is open as long as the Brandenburg Gate is closed. Today I say: As long as this gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind. "Yet I do not come here to lament. For I find in Berlin a message of hope — even, in the shadow of this wall, a message of triumph . . .". Towards the end of his speech, Mr Reagan said that the ,,, . West was ready to co-operate with the East »t0 prornote true openness — to break down the barrier that separate people, to create a safer, freer world. And surely_ there is no better place than Berlin, the meeting place of East and West, to make a start . . . "Near the Reichstag are words crudely spray-painted upon the wall — pernaps by a young Berliner — words that answer the German question. " This wall will fall. .Beliefs become reality.' Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. For it cannot withstand faith. It cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom." By putting his challenge to Mr Gorbachev in so strident a form, Mr Reagan has made it virtually impossible for him to comply without seeming to be a lackey. Another irony is that the public goading comes at a time of intensive private diplomacy to complete a Soviet-American arms treaty this year. Berliners praised Mr Reagan pledged that America would maintain the capacity to deter Soviet aggression at any level, but he also observed: "East and West do not mistrust each other because we are armed. We are armed because we mistrust each other." He complimented tbe citizenry for rebuilding their warruined city over Soviet objections with Berliner "schnauze", a mixture of determination and brashness. Always grateful for recognition, the West Berliners repeatedly roared their approval. At a distance of 350 yards two Russian soldiers stood motionless on guard at the Soviet war memorial on the west side of the Wall. The Russians may be starting to understand the importance of freedom in a limited way, Mr Reagan said, but were Mr Gorbachev's new policies the beginning of profound changes, or only token gestures to raise false hopes in the East that may strengthen the Soviet system without changing it? Reunification call Tearing down the Wall, built 26 years ago, would be one unmistakable sign that would dramatically advance the cause of peace and freedom, said the President. Conspicuously absent from the speech was any call for German reunification. It remains a long-term American goal, but is so contentious in both Germanys that Mr Reagan and his advisers decided to skip any mention of it. The President celebrated the 750th anniversary of Berlin at a party attended by American members of the community, held at the American military airport at Tempelhof yesterday. President Reagan looking through bullet proof glass over the Berlin Wall from the Brandenburg Gate yesterday.