Atlantic Council Awards Dinner
Speaker: Horst Teltschik, National Security Advisor to Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Federal Republic of Germany
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
HORST TELTSCHIK: Mr. President, secretaries, senators, your excellences, ladies and gentlemen, I am very moved receiving the Atlantic Council’s award for my former boss, Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl, whom I served for 19 years as foreign policy and security advisor. Chancellor Helmut Kohl deeply regrets that he cannot be here this evening, where he could have met so many good friends over many years: first of all his great friend, George Bush, and many of his great team; above all, my good friend and counterpart Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor at that time and Bob Gates, his deputy, who was a note-taker like me during the first phone call between Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Bush after the Wall had come down; not to forget Secretary Jim Baker, who unfortunately cannot join us this evening.
Chancellor Helmut Kohl has asked me to convey this message to you:
Dear George, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, caused by a very bad accident which still prevents me from traveling, I deeply regret not being able to participate in your marvelous event, missing the opportunity to meet so many old friends.
Twenty years ago, George, when we both looked much younger, a revolution started. It was from the very beginning a peaceful one. And we should recall the results: Germany was reunited, all neighboring countries had agreed, even Margaret Thatcher.” (Laughter.) “Germany got back its full sovereignty after 45 years. The German-Polish border had finally been settled, the Warsaw Pact peacefully disbanded; 500, 000 troops left Central Europe.
The East-West conflict had ended and with it the bipolar world. Europe was not divided anymore. The Soviet Union broke up into 15 sovereign states; the communist ideology is gone. We signed the most far-reaching arms-control and arms-reduction agreements. New democracies and market economies were developing. Ladies and gentleman, that’s all; what a miracle.
It happened because of a unique political and personal constellation: Solidarność in Poland, our friends Németh Miklós and Horn Gyula in Hungary, the courage of our common friend Michael (ph) Gorbachev, the people in the GDR and because of the unrestricted support of our American friends – above all from you, George, and your great team. Thanks for all your trust in us. Thanks for your great friendship. The Germans and I will never forget what you have done for Germany and for Europe.
I would like to thank the Atlantic Council for the award. It is a great honor for me. I congratulate my old friend, George, all the best to you and my warmest regards to Barbara. Congratulations to General David Petraeus and Chairman Samuel Palmisano on the award. I’m sorry to miss the artistic honoree Thomas Hampson, who took the best decision how to unite our both people having married a charming Austrian lady close to Germany. (Laughter.)
I would like to thank all of you for joining us and wish you all a great evening – Helmut Kohl.
Let me add just one sentence. My friend Brent Scowcroft once told me that in 1989, ’90 in the White House, they sometimes held their breath recognizing what Chancellor Kohl and his team were doing, but they didn’t interfere because of the mutual trust and ongoing mutual briefings. It was one of the best times in German-U.S. relations. Thank you all for that. God bless America.
Transcript by Federal News Service Washington, D.C.