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The Birth of the Grand Coalition (December 13, 1966)

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Careful mid-range financial planning that represents more than simply the sum of different department's proposals must put us in a position to reclaim this necessary financial leeway and to thus make new political decisions feasible again.

Of course, we must keep an eye not only on the federal budget in these considerations. We live in a federal state, in which federal government, states, and local authorities all have their own responsibilities to fulfill. Whether the division of responsibilities is still appropriate today, or whether certain federal responsibilities ought to be transferred to the states and state responsibilities to the federal government will need to be examined in conjunction with the reform of the constitutional rules governing public finances. This government sees this reform as one of the major challenges in domestic politics and wants to carry it out. [Applause from the government parties.]

[ . . . ]

All our efforts on behalf of domestic order, economic growth, and social justice, ladies and gentlemen, of course only make sense and will only last if we succeed in preserving peace and a liberal way of life. That peace be preserved is the hope of all nations, and the German people wish for this no less than the others. [Applause from the government parties.]

Therefore, working for peace and understanding among nations is the first word and the basic concern of the foreign policy of this government. [Applause from the government parties.]

Indeed, every [government’s] foreign policy most immediately serves the interests of its own people; but in a world in which the fates of all peoples are so closely bound up with each other, the shared responsibility for this world and for peace in this world must not be shirked by anyone. [Applause from the government parties.]

The German government advocates a consistent and effective peace policy through which political tensions are removed and the arms race checked. We will collaborate on proposals for arms control, arms reduction, and disarmament. Vis-à-vis its alliance partners, the Federal Republic has forgone the manufacturing of nuclear weapons and submitted to the corresponding international controls. We seek no national control over nuclear weapons and no national possession of such weapons. [Applause from the government parties.]

We resolve to maintain relations that are based on understanding, mutual trust, and a will to cooperate with all nations.

This also applies to our relationship with the Soviet Union, although our relations are still burdened by the unresolved issue of the reunification of our people. In 1955, during our visit to Moscow – allow me this personal reminiscence – I belonged to those who emphatically advocated for establishing diplomatic relations between the Federal Republic and the Soviet Union. Doubtlessly, the development of these relations has disappointed expectations on both sides. But this should not diminish our step-by-step efforts toward understanding and greater mutual trust. In my last speech before the German Bundestag on October 1, 1958, in Berlin, I said that the German people harbor neither hostility nor hatred for the peoples of the Soviet Union; on the contrary, they want to live as good peaceful neighbors, and they also do not even think of interfering in the internal affairs of the Soviet Union. I added that the Soviet Union sees problems with respect to the reunification of Germany, the resolution of which will seem difficult to her. Political astuteness and a long-sighted willingness for understanding on the part of all involved would be able to overcome such difficulties, however. This is still my conviction today. And this government will act on this conviction. [Applause from the government parties.]

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