GHDI logo

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

page 4 of 5    print version    return to list previous document      next document

The last federal government, in its peace note from March of this year, also offered mutual renunciation of force to the Soviet Union in order to clarify, once more, that it does not intend to achieve its goals by any other than peaceful means. Today, the federal government repeats this offer, which also extends to the other Eastern European states. It is prepared to incorporate the unresolved problem of Germany's division into this offer. [Applause from SPD members of parliament.]

Moreover, we hope to continuously promote and deepen mutual understanding and trust through the development of our economic, intellectual, and cultural relations, in order to create the preconditions for successful talks and negotiations in the future.

For centuries, Germany was a bridge between Western and Eastern Europe. We would like to play this role in our day and age, too. Thus, improving our relationship – in every area of economic, political, and cultural life – with our neighbors to the East, who hope for the same, is important to us. Wherever circumstances permit, we would like to establish diplomatic relations as well.

Among large sections of the German people there is a strong wish for reconciliation with Poland, whose sorrowful history we have not forgotten and whose desire to at last live in a territory with secure borders is something that we, in view of our divided nation's current fate, understand better now than in earlier times. But the borders of a reunified Germany can only be defined in an agreement, freely negotiated, with a pan-German government. This agreement should lay the foundation for a durable and peaceful relationship of good neighborliness sanctioned by both peoples. [Applause from the government parties.]

[ . . . ]

We are grateful to our allies for supporting our point of view with respect to our divided people and their right to self-determination. Political circumstances have hindered the reunification of our nation thus far. And it is not yet foreseeable when reunification will succeed. Even this question, which is so decisive for our people, is about peace and understanding for us. We are not thoughtless troublemakers, for what we really want is to eliminate the trouble spot that is Germany's division, which is also a European division, by peaceful agreement, and to restore the inner peace of our people and their peace with the world. This federal government, too, regards itself as the only German government that was freely, legally, and democratically elected and thereby entitled to speak for the entire German people. [Applause from the government parties.]

This does not mean that we want to override our compatriots in the other part of Germany, compatriots who cannot choose freely. We want, to the extent that we can, to prevent the two parts of our people from becoming estranged while they are divided. [Applause from the government parties.]

first page < previous   |   next > last page