[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book I)]
[February 9, 1995]
[Pages 188-189]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]



Remarks at a Dinner Honoring Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany
February 9, 1995

    Chancellor Kohl, members of the German delegation, members of the 
diplomatic corps, distinguished guests: On occasions like this, I 
normally rise to say how very much I've enjoyed spending time with a 
distinguished head of state. I enjoyed today, but after all, it was 
Helmut Kohl's third visit to the White House since I have been 
President. He's been here so many

[[Page 189]]

times during his 12 years as Chancellor that, on his last trip here, he 
took me to his favorite restaurant in Washington. [Laughter] I'm happy 
to announce that after this dinner, Chancellor Kohl will be conducting 
tours of the White House. [Laughter]
    Helmut Kohl has become a good and trusted friend of mine, as he has 
been a good and trusted friend of the United States for as long as he's 
been in public life. Hillary and I were deeply touched last summer by 
the famous Palatinate hospitality which he and Mrs. Kohl showed to us 
when he took us to his hometown of Oggersheim. I must say, I felt right 
at home when we turned down the street on which the Kohls live and the 
whole neighborhood turned out to say hello. I hope that Chancellor Kohl 
feels at home here, and I hope someday I'll have the opportunity to take 
you to my home. Believe me, the whole neighborhood will show up. 
[Laughter]
    Even before Helmut Kohl became Chancellor, American leaders were 
drawn to Rheinland-Pfalz. In 1788, a couple of years before Helmut 
became Chancellor, Thomas Jefferson traveled along the Rhine. He loved 
the paintings he saw in Dusseldorf, but he was annoyed that the 
Westphalians thought they were the only people who smoked their hams; 
they didn't know Virginians did it, too. When he traveled farther south 
to the Palatinate, he said he had entered what he called ``our second 
mother country'' because so many people from that region had settled in 
America and their customs had become American ones. History does not 
record whether Thomas Jefferson sampled that famous regional dish 
Saumagen, but I have, thanks to Helmut Kohl.
    When Hillary and I went home with the Kohls, I was remembered that 
real leadership does not begin in theories but in places and lives like 
those I saw in Oggersheim, in the homes that we love and the people and 
the customs that make us who we are. We are all proud of the ties that 
bind us together. The German language sums up the richness of those 
bonds in a single almost untranslatable word, Heimat. Here in the United 
States, my attachment to my roots has become somewhat legendary, but no 
world leader has more love for his Heimat than Helmut Kohl. A leader who 
keeps his Heimat in his heart will always remember what people want 
most, the certainty that their children will inherit a more peaceful, 
more prosperous, more rich world in terms of the human spirit. Today we 
worked hard to advance those shared goals, goals which have bound our 
people together for nearly 50 years now and goals which will take us 
together into the 21st century.
    Ladies and gentlemen, let us raise a glass to the friendship between 
the people of the United States and the people of Germany, and to the 
Chancellor who has done so much to make it better.

Note: The President spoke at 8:05 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the 
White House.