Bern 2019more… |
I know you will be hearing before your talks with Gorbachev4 about the details of Jim Baker5’s discussions with the Soviets on the future of Germany. And we will have an opportunity to sit back and talk at length about some of these issues when you join me at Camp David later this month. But, as you know so well, the pace of events lately has been accelerating, and I wanted to share with you, directly, some of my thoughts about Germany and Europe’s future.
As you predicted when we last talked on the phone,6 the situation in the GDR seems to be deteriorating quickly, forcing the pace of unification. I know this was not your preference. Still, these new developments do not alter the complete readiness of the United States to see the fulfillment of the deepest national aspirations of the German people. If events are moving faster than we expected, it just means that our common goal for all these years of German unity will be realized even sooner than we had hoped.
As unification comes ever closer to being a reality, people will be talking more and more about the role and responsibilities of the Four Powers. Let me tell you my attitude toward this question. After the end of the Second World War, going back to the time of the occupation, the main American goal for your nation was to aid in the creation of a new Germany wedded to democratic values, part of what I have called the commonwealth of free nations. Our legal rights in Germany, and in Berlin, were all aimed at protecting this objective and those values.
As I see it, no one can doubt the strength and vitality of the Federal Republic’s democratic institutions. So, whatever the formal legal role of the Four Powers may be in recognizing the freely expressed will of the German people, I want you to understand that the United States will do nothing that would lead your countrymen to conclude that we will not respect their choice for their nation’s future. In no event will we allow the Soviet Union to use the Four Power mechanism as an instrument to try to force you to create the kind of Germany Moscow might want, at the pace Moscow might prefer.
I would also like to confirm again to you my view of the role of a unified Germany in the Western Alliance. Naturally, this is again something for the German people, and its elected representatives, to decide. So I was deeply gratified by your7 firm statement that a unified Germany would stay in the North Atlantic Alliance8. In support of your position, l have said I expect that Germany would remain as a member of NATO, while noting that NATO will have a changing mission, with more emphasis on its original political role. I know we also agree that the presence of American forces on your territory and the continuation of nuclear deterrence are critical to assuring stability in this time of change and uncertainty.
Even if, as we hope, the Soviet Union withdraws all its troops from Eastern Europe, it will still remain far and away the most powerful single military power in Europe. U.S. troops in Germany, and elsewhere on the continent, backed by a credible deterrent, must in my view continue to help preserve the security of the West as long as our Allies desire our military presence in Europe as part of the common defense. As our two countries journey together through this time of hope and promise, we can remain confident of our shared ability to defend the fruits of freedom. Nothing Mr. Gorbachev can say to Jim Baker or to you can change the fundamental fact of our deep and enduring partnership.
Let me finally say how much I understand the challenges you have had to face over the last few months, and how much I admire the way you, as a leader, have met them. Barbara9 and I look forward to seeing you and Hannelore10 in a few weeks.