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April 19, 1985
A brief signing ceremony opened the day then we got back to my, “Dreyfus,” case—the trip to a German cemetery. I told our people Don et al there was no way I could back away in the face of the criticism which grows more shrill as the press continues to clamor. Mike D. is back & said Kohl was going to phone me. Our Ambas. Art Burns met several hours with Kohl. Our people want me to suggest a Nat. German war memorial as a substitute for the mil. cemetery. I said only if it presented no problem for Kohl.
The call came while we were meeting. Helmut told me the Camp would be Bergen-Belsen not Dachau. Then he told me my remarks about the dead soldiers being the victims of Nazism as the Jews in the Holocaust were had been well received in Germany. He was emphatic that to cancel the cemetery now would be a disaster in his country & an insult to the German people. I told him I would not cancel.
Then we brought in Elie Wiesel—survivor of the Holocaust & several others who were on hand for the Jewish Heritage Week Ceremony in which I was presenting Elie with the Congressional Gold medal. I explained the situation to them & must say—made some gains even if later Elie in his prepared remarks implored me not to visit the cemetery. We’ve invited Elie to accompany me on the trip. He’s said yes except that he wont be present at the cemetery. Later in day met our Ambas. to the Soviet U. Art Hartman. He’s a d--n good man. He confirms what I believe that Gorbachev will be as tough as any of their leaders. If he wasn’t a confirmed ideologue he never would have been chosen by the Polit beaureu [Politburo].
While I was on the phone to Kohl—the V.P. was in the room with our gang hearing my end of the call. He wrote me this note (COPY OF NOTE IN DIARY).
Re Kohl Phone Call
Mr. President, I was very proud of your stand.
If I can help absorb some heat
send me into battle
It’s not easy, but You are right!!
In a Rose Garden ceremony—temp 90° we had a signing of a proclamation on “Victims of Crime.” Present were 6 ladies all of whom had been victims of brutal crimes ranging from Rape to incest as a child. All had been willing to reveal their crimes in order to help other victims.
A few more odds & ends & we were off to Camp D.