Statement on the 27th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall

Statement on the 27th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall

August 12, 1988

August 13 marks a sad anniversary: the 27th anniversary of the Berlin Wall. That wall is both a scar across the city of Berlin and a symbol of the division of the German Nation and of Europe. As tentative breezes of openness begin to stir the societies in the East, the wall now stands in stark contrast to the human struggle for freedom taking place in its shadow. There is no more dramatic proof of communism's failed dream than the wall.

Free men and women everywhere take heart from the courage of the people of Berlin. Their determination to protect their outpost of freedom remains undaunted despite repeated challenges over the years from those who would deny their liberty and who fear their example. Berliners remain committed to preserving their democratic way of life and to removing the barriers dividing the German Nation. The United States is honored to stand firmly with the British and French to defend the freedom and promote the well-being of Berlin. These unwavering commitments continue to be a cornerstone of American policy in Europe.

In June of last year, I stood before the Brandenburg Gate and offered an initiative meant to bring positive change to the lives of Berliners: improved air access; bringing more conferences to the entire city; staging international sporting events, including the Olympics; and promoting youth exchanges between the two parts of Berlin. Last December we, together with the British and French, proposed specific ideas to the Soviets along these lines. We are still awaiting an answer.

As we recall the construction of the wall on this day in 1961, the people of the United States reaffirm their commitment to Berlin and salute the brave people who live there. Americans believe that with imagination and will East and West can make Berlin a symbol of a new era, reflecting the true aspirations of the human spirit, before another anniversary of the wall is passed.