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President Kennedy Meets with Chancellor Adenauer

Nov. 14, 1962 - President Kennedy and West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer held a round of meetings today. Their discussions about the meaning of the Cuban crisis, the future trend of world affairs, the problems of Berlin and Western defense, and the future of Europe were apparently cordial and respectful. The atmosphere, however, was cool, reflecting what one close observer described as “the fact that these two fellows just can’t hit it off.” The usual ceremonial speeches of welcome on the White House lawn in the morning and the toasts at the luncheon indicated some of the strain. The 45-year-old President of the United States looked to the past for words of praise. Mr. Kennedy said Dr. Adenauer had wisely led Germany into the Atlantic community and thereby assured himself of a place in history. But he also spoke of the great changes in the world, in both East and West, and of a new generation of leaders building upon the judgments of the past. In response, the 86-year-old Chancellor was even more direct in acknowledging differences in age and viewpoint. He said his “political memory” was still very young and that age counted for less than experience. He said Germans were grateful for American aid after the “terrible catastrophe” of World War II and, for that reason, had developed a strong attachment to American principles of liberty and freedom. “Of course, the Germans have their faults, too,” the Chancellor asserted. “Who has not any faults? But the Lord forgives some of these faults and some of the sins, and so I feel one should also forgive the Germans their old sins, if they do not commit any new ones.” Dr. Adenauer congratulated President Kennedy several times for the “very firm stand” he had taken during the Cuban crisis, which he described as a “very great success” for the U.S. and a “failure” for Premier Khrushchev. He said it allowed the world once again to see Mr. Khrushchev “as he really is.”


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