Letters & Opinion

Klaus Schutz

Maurice Frankenhuis takes issue with Mayor of Berlin’s remarks about America’s involvement in Vietnam.

February 22, 1968
Hon. Klaus Schutz
Mayor of Berlin
Berlin, Germany

Dear Mayor Schutz:

In today’s issue of the New York Times there appeared an article describing the action of 150,000 West Berliners who on February 21st demonstrated their support of the United States, particularly with reference to its policy on Vietnam.

Enclosed you will find a copy of this article in the New York Times. While it quotes you as saying, “We are linked with the American people in gratitude and friendship,” and other expressions complementary to America, you also indicate some doubt when you stated that there was unrest all over the world about “the tragic war America is involved in.” Furthermore, as you will see in this article, your feeling is that it “was time for the suffering of the Vietnamese people to end, ‘not through a military victory but through political solutions.’”

I wish this could be brought about, as everyone is desirous of peace. But since you speak as a German, your remarks have given rise to some sad reflections in my heart and mind. As you know, Germany has twice plunged the world into war, first in 1914 and then in 1939 under Adolf Hitler. 9 million died and 21 million were wounded during World War I; in World War II 55 million civilians were killed barbarously and deliberately, including 6 million Jews.

While perhaps the German people can not be stopped in showing their reaction to world affairs, it seems improper for an administrator to take issue with American politics. They should always bear in mind that it was the United States which freed the world from tyranny and force both in 1917 and 1945.

It is also extremely indiscreet for Mr. Kurt Mattick, the local Social Democratic chairman, to recommend that “both sides go to the negotiating tables without preconditions.”

It is my feeling that if the U.S. government leaders had followed the same firmness prior to 1914 and 1939, the two wars could have been prevented. Based on our experience of the past half century, how can we accept or even permit any German to dictate our policy, even with the best intentions? Perhaps we are not able to achieve it except through bloodshed and suffering, but the aim of the U.S.A. is to have a lasting peace for all the world.

Under separate cover I am sending you some reports, photostats, etc. which may be of interest to you.

With all good wishes for a better world,

Very truly yours,