WASHINGTON — We Germans are aware there is concern among our neighbors in Europe and the United States with German unification. What do the Germans want? What are the implications for Europe and the world if nearly 80 million Germans live together again in one state?
Considering all that has been done in the name of Germany, I can understand these questions. The joy we feel at the ending of a decades-long separation will neither extinguish nor conceal our memory of the suffering brought especially upon the Jewish people by Hitler in the name of Germany. We Germans desire no more than to live in freedom and democracy and at peace with all our neighbors.
We live in the heart of Europe. Our history, as President Richard Von Weizsacker said, has never belonged to us alone. Developments in our country have a far greater effect on the whole of Europe than developments in other parts of the continent. This does not increase our power, but it adds to our responsibility. Power politics are to us a thing of the past. Our policy today is motivated by a sense of responsibility.
Together with our Western partners, we in the Federal Republic of Germany have entered into the deepest commitment possible for a state: that based on common values and convictions. We entered into this commitment through our membership in the Atlantic Alliance, the alliance of the North American and European democracies and through our membership in the European Community.
Our alliance has guaranteed our freedom and security for decades and has enabled us to seek detente, cooperation and disarmament with the East without prejudicing our security. As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit conference of June, 1989, confirmed, the alliance has proved that it is capable of adapting to new developments. That will continue to be necessary; the role of the alliance will change.
The alliance will become more political; it will play a major role in the context of disarmament, verification and confidence-building. It will continue to exist as a manifestation of transatlantic partnership, and it will assume new responsibilities in connection with the development of cooperative security structures in Europe. It is a reflection of political developments that the alliances are moving from confrontation to cooperation.
The community of 12 European democracies is the surest sign that these European nations have learned the lessons of history and see their future in European union. The European Community is already an element of a peaceful order, and is now moving toward political union through ever closer integration. An intergovernmental conference due to be held at the end of this year will establish economic and monetary union.
Now we must shape Europe's relationship with the United States and Canada. How can we together cope with the global challenges confronting the world's industrial nations?
With the European Community acquiring a new identity as a political union, the time has come to establish a new quality of cooperation based on partnership. Europe is again taking its fate into its own hands. But we don't want this to widen the Atlantic--as friends we do not wish to become estranged but to come closer together.
I call upon the North American democracies and the members of the European Community to issue a joint declaration heralding a new Atlantic partnership, a declaration encompassing all the political, economic, technological and cultural aspects of our relationship and capable of meeting the challenges confronting mankind.
Such a partnership would not only be beneficial to the members of the European Community and the North Atlantic democracies, but would also help to overcome the division of Europe and to create one Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals. It would involve the United States in the building of the common European house.
Such a Europe is outlined in the Final Act of Helsinki, that bold blueprint of 1975 that makes human rights and human dignity the basis of cooperation in Europe and prescribes cooperation for the sake of peaceful relations between West and East in Europe.
The Final Act also charted the course for the establishment of a lasting and equitable peaceful order from the Atlantic to the Urals, which the Atlantic Alliance had already advocated in the report of a 1967 commission headed by former Belgian Prime Minister Pierre Harmel.
Even then, overcoming the division of Germany was considered the precondition for such a peaceful order. Today we are heading for that goal, and we have reason to be confident for the whole of Europe.
I strongly believe that the unity and cohesion of the Western Alliance ultimately led the Soviet Union to abandon the expansionist foreign policy that had ushered in the Cold War and sparked the arms race between West and East.