Documents on Germany, 1944-1959 : background documents on Germany, 1944-1959, and a chronology of political developments affecting Berlin, 1945-1956
Address by President Eisenhower, April 4, 1959 [extract], pp. 411-412 PDF (880.8 KB)
DOCUMENTS ON GERMANY, 1944-5 9 on Berlin issued in Paris December 14, 1958-with which the North Atlantic Council associated itself. The Ministers agreed to meet again in Paris beginning April 29 in further preparation for the conference with the Soviet Union. A report on the, substance of those discussions will be made to the North Atlantic Council. All these preparations are based on a sincere de- sire to negotiate constructively with the Soviet Union in the "interests of world peace. -_,- _l_,_, Address by President Eisenhower, April 4, 19591 [Extract] * * * * * * . Now I turn to one other case, where the hard realities of living confront us with still a further challenge. I refer to West Berlin, a city of over 2 million people whose freedom we are pledged to defend. Here we have another problem but not a unique one. It is part of a continuing effort of the Communist conspiracy to attain one over- riding goal: world domination. Against this background we understand that the mere handing over of a single city could not possibly satisfy the Communists, even though they would particularly like to eliminate what has been called the free world's showcase behind the Iron Curtain. Indeed, if we should acquiesce in the unthinkable sacrifice of 2 million free Ger- mans, such a confession of weakness would dismay our friends and embolden the Communists to step up their campaign of domination. The course of appeasement is not only dishonorable; it is the most dangerous one we could pursue. The world paid a high price for the lesson of Munich, but it has learned the lesson well. We have learned, too, that the costs of defending freedom-of defending America-must be paid in many forms and in many places They are assessed in all parts of the world-in Berlin, Viet-Nam, in the Middle East, here at home. But wherever they occur, in whatever form they appear, they are first and last a proper charge against the national security of the United States. Because mutual security and American security are synonymous. These costs are high, but they are as nothing to those that would be imposed upon us by our own indiference and neglect or by weakness of spirit. And though weakness is dangerous, this does not mean that firmness is mere rigidity, nothing but arrogant stubbornness. Another fact, basic to the entire problem of peace and security, is that America and her friends do not want war. They seek to substitute the rule of law for the rule of force, the conference table for the battlefield. These desires and their expressions are not propaganda. They are aspirations felt deeply within us; they are the longings of entire civilizations based upon a belief in God and in the dignity of man. Indeed, they are the instinctive hopes that people feel in all nations, regardless of curtains. People everywhere recoil from the thought of war as much as do any of us present here in this peaceful gathering. 1 Made at the Gettysburg College convocation at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Department of State Bulletin, April 27, 1959, p. 582. 411.
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