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(Bonn, 24. Juni 1963)
I know that all of us who have come from the United States have been very much warmed, heartened, encouraged, strengthened by the generosity of the reception we have received from all of you and from the people of the Federal Republic. I don't think that there is any substitute, however reliable and however much we admire the press, for an opportunity to visit firsthand and see the American people as the Chancellor has done, than for us to see the German people. Everything else falls away against this opportunity to come face to face, so that while the Chancellor and many of us will be meeting on Wednesday in Berlin, I do want to take this opportunity to express our warm appreciation to all of you, the strong feeling of confidence it has given us.
I think it renewed the life, although it didn't really need that, of our relationship, and in every way we have been made extremely happy by our visit. We are very much indebted to you all and we are most indebted to the people whom you serve.
I want to express my special appreciation to the Chancellor. As I said yesterday, he made, as did my predecessors in the United States, the crucial and the correct judgment. I think that he has been generous enough to say that perhaps the United States was the only one that made the long, fight judgment in the late forties and in the fifties, and he on his part, and all of you as colleagues, also made the right judgment. And that will entitle my predecessors and will entitle the Chancellor and those who have worked with him, it seems to me, to a very important page in the history of our times, which is going to be recorded, I think, as the most significant times of the last years, in fact, the last centuries. These are the critical days because whether the world survives or not is a matter that comes before us for judgment, at least once every year, and I suppose it is going to go on that rather doleful path. But the Chancellor in his time, meeting his responsibility, made the right judgment and, therefore, he is an historic figure and one to whom all of us who believe so strongly in the cause of freedom feel privileged to come and pay him our high esteem.
I hope that all of you will join in drinking with me to a distinguished leader of your country and also a distinguished leader of the West, the Chancellor. ♦