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Chancellor Ludwig Erhard Arrives at Bergstrom AFB (1963)

Gordon Wilkison

Sound | 1964

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Transcript
  •  (offscreen) Wait right here. 
  •  Before the President or Chancellor Erhard arrived, Governor John Connally got together with Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Senator Ralph Yarborough, Austin mayor Lester Palmer to form an official greeting party for the state of Texas. 
  •  And then President and Mrs. Johnson arrived accompanied by military aid Colonel Jackson, and Pierre Salinger, and McGeorge Bundy. They stepped off the helicopter just a few minutes before Chancellor Erhard arrived to welcome him as he landed at Bergstrom Airforce Base. Governor John Connally was also there to shake hands as was Senator Ralph Yarborough in this informal part of the arrival ceremony. 
  •  Lyndon B. Johnson: Mr. Chancellor, Mr. Foreign Minister, Mr. Secretary of State, it is with the greatest pleasure that I bid you welcome to the United States and to my home.German translator 
  •  LBJ: You have come to a part of out country where there are many Americans whose forebearers came from Germany, so while all of us are your friends, there are many who feel a very personal relationship and look forward to meeting you.German translator 
  •  LBJ: We shall be working hard while you are here, but there will also be time to meet some of our neighbors, to see us as we are, and to join us in a Texas barbecue.German translator 
  •  LBJ: It was a threat to German freedom that took me to Berllin in 1961. It was hope and confidence in the future of German freedom that brought John Kennedy to his magnificent welcome in Berlin two years later. Germans and Americans still stand united against danger and strong in hope.German translator 
  •  LBJ: So in that spirit, Mr. Chancellor, we meet today. We have much to do, to strengthen the forces of freedom, to reinforce the Atlantic partnership, to increase our cooperation with all free nations, new and old, and to enlarge the prospect of peace everywhere. In all that we do, we shall act together as the leaders of two free peoples who have proved their friendship with each other in trial and in triumph. 
  •  Mr. Chancellor, once more let me tell you how happy all Americans are to have you here and what a very special pleasure it will be for Mrs. Johnson and me to have you as our guest at our home. 
  •  English translator: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the most splendid welcome, which you have sported me here today. My party and I consider it as a privelege during those quiet days of Christmas to be with you in order to follow the message of Christmas and to do everything in our power to deepen and enlarge the peace all over the world. That is- 
  •  Chancellor Erhard (speaks German) 
  •  Translator: The United States and the American people. In these times of fast technology, evil things, but also, unfortunately, good things, came to be forgotten very quickly, but there is one thing which will never be forgotten and that is the greatfulness which the German people feel, have felt, and feel today towards the United States and everything they did after the Second World War in order to help this beaten Germany, to extend a brotherly hand- 
  •  LBJ: -say to the Governor, and Senator Yarborough, and Congressman Pickle, distinguished mayor and all the good people of Austin, we thank you so much for your warm hospitality. We will now go back to the hills to-  
  •  Radio: Secretary Dean Rusk along with the President and Governor, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs William Tyler as well as the ambassador to Germany, George McGhee. 
  •  LBJ: It is our duty in these next two days to discuss the great tasks of the future. It is our fortune to build on the work of great men who have gone before. In a time when historic dangers have been turned back, and hope for the future of freedom has been strengthened. Two years ago President Kennedy asked me to fly to the beleaguered city of West Berlin to make plain our determination that freedom there could not be strangled by a wall. Today, the freedom of West Berlin is more secure than ever.  
  •  The people of West Berlin, for the first time in years, are able to cross the wall on errands of simple humanity, yet the wall itself remains. The guards who man it still shoot to kill. Germany is still divided. There is work to do for freedom in your land. The United States of American remains committed to the great, peaceful purpose of freedom and self-determination for all Germans and for all men, everywhere. 
  •  Chancellor Erhard (speaks German) 
  •  Radio: And then Chancellor Ludwig Erhard stepped off the plane at Bergstrom Airforce Base. He was followed by his foreign minister Gerhard Schroder. Meeting Chancellor Erhard- 
  •  LBJ: -state of Texas as a good friend, a great European, and as Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.German translator 
 
TAMI Tags
  •  Governor John Connally and Secretary of State Dean Rusk. This Connally’s first public appearance after the Kennedy assassination, just 5 weeks earlier. 
  •  President and First Lady Johnson, Col. Jackson, Pierre Salinger, McGeorge Bundy arrive at Bergstrom AFB via helicopter. 
  •  Chancellor Erhard arrives via a Luftansa plane.  Newspaper accounts of the event report that the pilot overshot the red carpet on the tarmac by several feet. 
  •  Marching band and 21-gun salute.  Lady Bird Johnson records in her White House Diary entry for this day that John Connally was visibly upset by the sound of the gunshots. 
  •  President Johnson’s welcome speech 
  •  Chancellor Erhard’s speech 
 
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December 29, 1963 - Shortly after assuming the position of president, Lyndon Baines Johnson welcomed German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard for an official state visit. Captured in this footage is Chancellor Erhard’s arrival at the Bergstrom Air Force base where President Johnson featured most prominently among the welcoming party. In addition to welcoming the chancellor and making a statement regarding the visit’s agenda, President Johnson also happily declares that Chancellor Erhard will be able to take part in a Texas barbecue. After President Johnson’s welcoming, Chancellor Erhard delivers – with the help of a translator – his heartfelt thanks.
Gordon Wilkison began work as a cameraman at the local Austin television station KTBC (now FOX 7) during 1952, its first year of operation.  At the time the station was owned by the Texas Broadcasting Company, which was owned by Senator Lyndon B. and Lady Bird Johnson. This relationship would continue to shape Wilkison's career well into the next decades - during the Johnson administration, Wilkison covered the president's visits to Texas, preparing material for national and international news correspondents. 
 
A particularly notable moment in his career occurred on August 1, 1966, when Wilkison and KTBC reporter Neal Spelce risked their lives to capture footage of the Tower shooting at the University of Texas. 
 
Wilkison was also the General Manager of Photo Processors at the LBJ Broadcasting Corporation, which he later took over and renamed Cenetex Film Labs. In addition to his camera work and film processing, his work at the station also included direction of a number of television film productions.
 
Outside of KTBC, Wilkison shot, edited, and processed Longhorn football game footage for the University of Texas, a partnership that lasted nearly 30 years.    
 
Recognizing the historical value of film and news footage, Wilkison kept the material, later contributing hundreds of reels to the Texas Archive of the Moving Image's collection.