Behind me stands a wall that encircles the free sectors of this city, part of a vast system of barriers that divides. A restriction on the right to travel, the will of a totalitarian state. It is here where the wall emerges most clearly; here, cutting across your city, where the news and television have imprinted this brutal division upon the mind of the world. As long as this gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, the question that remains, the question of freedom for all mankind.
Yet, I do not come here to lament. For I find a message of hope, even in the shadow of this wall. Just as truth can flourish only when the journalist is given freedom of speech, so prosperity can come about only when the farmer and businessman enjoy economic freedom.
From devastation, from utter ruin, you have, in freedom, rebuilt a city that once again ranks as one of the greatest on earth. A free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well-being unprecedented in all human history. Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor.
We welcome openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity: Come here to this gate. Open this gate. Tear down this wall!
To be sure, we must maintain defenses of unassailable strength. Yet we seek peace; so we must strive to reduce arms on both sides. But we must remember a crucial fact: we do not mistrust each other because we are armed; we are armed because we mistrust each other. And our differences are not about weapons but about liberty. This city stands secure in its liberty. And freedom itself is transforming the globe.
Today represents a moment of hope. We stand ready to cooperate to promote true openness, to break down barriers that separate people, to create a safer, freer world.
Free people: Let us work to bring the city closer together. It would be only fitting to serve as the site of world conferences on issues that call for international cooperation.
You have built a great city. You've done so in spite of threats. The city thrives in spite of the challenges implicit in the very presence of this wall. What keeps you here? Certainly there's a great deal to be said for your fortitude, for your defiant courage. But I believe there's something deeper. Something that has seen the difficulties of life but chose to continues to build this good and proud city in contrast to a surrounding totalitarian presence, that refuses to release human energies or aspirations, something that speaks with a powerful voice of affirmation, that says "yes" to this city, yes to the future, yes to freedom. In a word, I would submit that what keeps you is "love." Love both profound and abiding.
Perhaps this gets to the root of the matter, to the most fundamental distinction. The totalitarian world produces backwardness because it does such violence to the spirit, thwarting the human impulse to create, to enjoy, to worship. The totalitarian world finds even symbols of love and of worship an affront.
Like the city itself, symbols of love, symbols of worship, cannot be suppressed. This wall will fall, for it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.