THE WHITE HOUSE
the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AND GERMAN CHANCELLOR
8:38 P.M. CET
CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER: Ladies and
gentlemen, Germany and Berlin have very much been looking forward to this visit
of President Clinton. We are very pleased, indeed, that we've got him here as a
In this discussion that we have had and which has
actually taken quite a bit longer than I suppose most of you expected, we
haven't addressed all topics, but certainly all of the important ones. And we
shall continue our conversations in the course of this evening.
specifically talked about the situation in Russia, where we both agreed that
the United States of America, as well as Germany, have a very strong, vested
interest in seeing a very balanced relationship with Russia and a partnership
with Russia, too, for which it is important to provide economic and political
stability for Russia, which will also help President Putin.
President then proceeded to, in a very frank way, present his views on the
national missile defense program and I had then gone in and stated my concerns;
the concerns being that we have to be very careful that any such project does
not re-trigger the process of a renewed arms race.
We then also
addressed the question of custody in cases where marriages between --
international marriages between Germans and U.S. citizens have gone through
divorces. In some of those cases we have to say tragic circumstances and tragic
situations have arisen, and we are both very much in agreement that help is
very much needed in this field. We certainly were very agreed upon the fact,
though, that court rulings and court decisions have to be respected and
accepted where taken.
But we have said that the best way to go about
this will be to put together a U.S.-German group of experts, a working group of
experts who could get together and, firstly, see through all of the cases still
pending and/or on the table; and they could also think about organizational and
institutional consequences to be taken to, above all, speed up those
proceedings, make them quicker and to also go in and provide pragmatic help for
specific cases affected.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: First, let me thank
Chancellor Schroeder for making me feel welcome again in Germany, and Berlin. I
am delighted to be here and I have enjoyed this visit. And I'm looking forward
our dinner tonight and the Conference on Progressive Governance, beginning
tomorrow; and, of course, my trip to Aachen in the morning.
Chancellor has faithfully reported on our lengthy conversation. We spent
virtually all of our time discussing Russia, the question of missile defense
and the really heartrending child custody cases that he mentioned.
would like to also, though, publicly thank the Chancellor for the leadership of
Germany in the cause of European unity and in our efforts to bring peace and
freedom and human rights to the Balkans, something that is very important to
the United States.
Let me say to all of you that the relationship the
United States has with Germany has been profoundly important for the last 50
years. But I think it may well be even more important for the next 50. And I
intend to do whatever I can in the time I have left as President to make sure
this relationship is on solid ground for the new century.
particularly grateful that a number of our citizens will be participating in
Expo 2000 here, in the American Voices program, having conversations with the
German people directly. And I thank Commissioner Rollnick and the others who
are responsible for that.
Finally, just one word on a development back
in the United States today. I was very pleased with the decision of the 11th
Circuit Court of Appeals in the Elian Gonzalez case, upholding the decision of
the Justice Department that he should be with his father. We have tried to
honor the principles that the Chancellor and I discussed today in the cases
involving our two countries in that case. I think the Justice Department and
the Attorney General did the right thing, and I'm very pleased that the 11th
Circuit upheld their decision today.
Thank you very much.
8:47 P.M. CET