“Your inspiration, your vision and your advice are still very much needed”, said Foreign Minister Westerwelle at the ceremony during which the Henry A. Kissinger Prize was awarded to former US Secretary of State George P. Shultz. He was being honoured by the American Academy in Berlin in recognition of his services to transatlantic relations. The ceremony took place at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin on 24 May 2012.
-- Translation of advance text --
Secretary George Shultz, Mrs Mailliard Shultz,
Secretary Henry Kissinger and Mrs Kissinger,
Herr Bundespräsident von Weizsäcker,
Herr Bundeskanzler Schmidt,
Trustees of the American Academy,
Colleagues Members of the German Bundestag,
Friends of the American Academy and the Transatlantic Friendship,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you at the German Foreign Office.
Tonight four of the most eminent transatlantic statesmen of recent decades are with us: Richard von Weizsäcker, Helmut Schmidt, Henry Kissinger, and George Shultz. Gentlemen, it is a true honor to have you here.
The Foreign Office is co-hosting this event with the American Academy. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Michael Hoffmann and Gary Smith for the great work they are doing on behalf of transatlantic relations.
Tonight we have the privilege to honor an outstanding personality: A great statesman, an eminent economist, academic and intellectual: George Pratt Shultz.
George Shultz has shaped part of the history of the 20th century. As a young man he fought World War II in the pacific.
As Secretary of the Treasury, he steered the global economy after the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system and initiated the “Library Group” that evolved into the G7.
Most Germans know him as President Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state.
When Michael Gorbachev came to power in 1985, George Shultz urged President Reagan to seek a dialogue with the new Soviet leader.
George Shultz was instrumental in bringing about the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty of 1987 which paved the way for the end of the cold war.
He left office in early 1989. Only a few months later, the peoples of Eastern Europe took to the streets and brought down the iron curtain.
I was thirteen years old when my father first took me to Berlin. He showed me the wall that divided East and West.
But I saw more than the Wall. I sensed the grey of socialism. The heavy grey that burdens all lives lived unfree.
I was not yet very political.
But I returned from that short trip with a deep and lasting impression: Liberty and the pursuit of happiness are more than abstract intellectual concepts.
Without the support of our Allies the Western half of Berlin would not have remained free.
Without the encouragement and trust of the United States, Germany would not be reunited.
Without the commitment of hundreds of thousands of GI's and their families, Europe would not be free and reunited today.
I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the American people for your commitment and support for a free and united Berlin, a free and united Germany, a free and united Europe.
Mr. Secretary, thank you on behalf of the German people.
When George Shultz left office in 1989, he did not retire. George Shultz continued to work on a subject that is very close to my heart as well: Nuclear disarmament. Long before others talked about “Global Zero”, you did.
Together with Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn and William Perry you called to question the reliance on nuclear weapons. You told us that nuclear disarmament is not a naive dream, but a necessity in our times of globalization.
We have been working hard to put tactical nuclear weapons onto the disarmament agenda.
At our initiative, NATO made an offer to Russia at this week’s Chicago summit to engage in a dialogue on confidence-building and transparency measures.
This could prepare the ground for future reductions of these weapons. It is not a quantum leap. But it is a step forward.
We remain committed to building a security partnership with Russia.
The Alliance has also undertaken a review of its deterrence and defence posture. The aim of maintaining the Alliance’s security “at the lowest possible level of forces” remains one of the principles guiding NATO.
The Posture Review reiterates our commitment – also within NATO - to arms control and disarmament as well as the objective of a world without nuclear weapons.
Mr. Secretary, there is a lot of work left. Your inspiration, your vision and your advice are still very much needed.
– Thank you -