Public Papers

Remarks to American Embassy Employees and Their Families in Bonn, Federal Republic of Germany


The President. Thank you, Mr. Secretary, and let me just say a word about our Ambassador here in Bonn. We Bushes have known Dick Walters for many years. And I really can't think of any public servant who has served his country in so many diverse assignments, always with excellence, and in whom I have more confidence than Dick Walters. And he is a great Ambassador, a great advocate for the United States; and he can advocate the United States in about 11 different foreign languages, including in German, and I think that's a wonderful thing. And, Dick, thank you for your hospitality and for your leadership in this country that is so vitally important to the United States.

I see a sign up here from Bonn Elementary. And it says -- show me what the sign -- it says, ``We are the world.'' And you know, they're right -- they are absolutely right about that. And the youth are the world. And what happened in NATO a couple of days ago I hope guarantees a more peaceful future for those that are the world -- for you young people here. And for that action, I give great credit to the United States authorities that were involved: our Secretary of Defense [Cheney]; our Secretary of State [Baker] stayed up till all hours of the night achieving what now is seen as a wonderful arrangement; my National Security Adviser, who -- some of you would recognize his name -- is with me here today, Brent Scowcroft, General Scowcroft; our Chief of Staff [Sununu]; and on and on it goes, because this U.S. position was a cooperative position -- we worked it out through the entire bureaucracy. And it seems to have captured the imagination certainly of the free world and I hope, eventually, of the Soviet Union.

And so, we came to Bonn in the wake of a very successful NATO meeting. But it isn't a victory for the United States. Ours was a team effort in going to NATO, and the result was a team victory. The victory was for NATO in coming together in unified fashion, demonstrating its solidarity after 40 years of keeping the peace in Europe.

To each of you in the Embassy, whether you be Foreign Service or attached to the Embassy with one of the other services -- Commerce, whatever else -- USIA [U.S. Information Agency] -- so many others, and certainly to our military, let me pay my respects. I normally try to single out the admin officer. And because we've been rushing around, I don't know who that poor embattled soul is in Embassy Bonn -- --

Q. Harry Geisel.

The President. Harry? There he is, he's still smiling. [Laughter] And some of that is because we told Harry we were leaving on schedule and getting out of his way. [Laughter] And now he's giving three cheers for that. But I cite him because I was on the receiving end of some of these visits when I lived halfway around the world in China, and I know that they can be a pluperfect pain. And so, I would only think, Harry, and then everybody else in the political and the economic and every section -- communications -- every section of this tremendous and effective Embassy that has been involved in this visit, Barbara and I are very grateful to each and every one of you. And this hospitality, even though we enjoyed it for such a short time, really rang through loud and clear from the very moment we got here.

I can tell you that we've just finished talks with the Chancellor, and Jim with the Foreign Minister. And I can say that a lot because of your work, your professionalism and -- in the military sense, your dedication to duty -- the relationship between the Federal Republic and the United States has never been better. And for that same conviction on the part of many of you here, the relationship and the strength of NATO has never been stronger.

So we really dropped by to say hail and farewell and thank you from the grateful heart of this President of the United States. Many, many thanks, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you all very much.

Note: The President spoke at 11:20 a.m. at the residence of Rita Suessmuth, President of the Bundestag, the West German Parliament. In his opening remarks, he referred to Vernon A. Walters, U.S. Ambassador to West Germany. In his closing remarks, the President referred to Harold W. Geisel, administrative officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bonn; Secretary of State James A. Baker III; and West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher.