America will stand by West Germans in their efforts to remain strong and free, the United States President has pledged.
President Dwight D Eisenhower was speaking shortly after landing at Wahn Airport, Bonn, on the first day of his European tour.
Mr Eisenhower is visiting the country to reassure West Germans he will not exclude them from talks with the Soviet Union. He will also emphasise that peace should not come at the expense of security, US sources say.
Many Germans are worried America will not push for the continued four-power status of Berlin and allow it to be divided.
A cheering crowd of more than 100,000 people greeted the president when he landed at 1830 local time (1630 GMT) and troops fired a 21-gun salute in his honour.
West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer paid Mr Eisenhower a warm personal tribute at the airport.
Dr Adenauer welcomed the general to the country in a short speech and called the US the “standard bearer of freedom throughout the world”.
The president said the name Adenauer in America symbolised the determination of the German people to remain “strong and true”.
He added: “The American people stand by your side in ensuring that the loyal, free people of free Berlin will, like yourselves, always continue to enjoy that great privilege.”
The chancellor then accompanied Mr Eisenhower on the 12-mile (19-km) drive into Bonn. Large crowds had assembled in all the villages along the route and hundreds of flags flew from buildings.
The presidential convoy passed under the archway of Bonn University, where students had laid out a huge map of the US.
Banners had also been hung across the road with the message: “To the President – a warm welcome.”
Mr Eisenhower will spend tonight at the US Ambassador’s house at Bad Godesburg. Talks with Dr Adenhauer will begin tomorrow at 0930 local time (0730 GMT).
Courtesy BBC News
Berlin surrendered to Soviet troops on 2 May 1945 and was divided into four sectors at the Yalta Conference.
The sectors were administered by the four victorious powers at the end of World War II: the US, France, Britain and the Soviet Union.
In 1948, the USSR closed all transport links leading into the west of the city. US and British air forces organised the Berlin airlift, which supplied the Western sectors for almost a year.
The Soviets backed down in May 1949. The same year western Germany became the Federal Republic of Germany and the east, the German Democratic Republic.
In 1961, troops in East Germany constructed the Berlin wall, dividing the city in two.
It was finally dismantled in 1989 and East and West Germany were reunified the following year.
President Eisenhower left office in 1961. He died after a long illness in March 1968.