Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Honecker, Castro Exchange Toasts

East Berlin ADN International Service in German 2042 GMT 13 Jun 72 L

[Text] Berlin--A reception held on Tuesday evening in the State Council
building in honor of First Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party Central
Committee, Premier Fidel Castro, marked the festive ending of the first day
of the visit by the Cuban party and government delegation in the GDR. The
invitation had been extended by First Secretary of the SED Central
Committee Erich Honecker, and by Chairman of the GDR Council of Ministers
Willi Stoph.

Fidel Castro, accompanied by his hosts, entered the festively illuminated
banquet hall, and was welcomed with stormy applause. The national anthems
of both countries were played at the beginning of the reception.

During the reception, which took place in an extraordinary cordial and
frank atmosphere, numerous meetings took place with the revolutionary
leader of the Cuban people.

"The friendly reception accorded to you by the people of our capital city
of Berlin expresses the deep and sincere feelings of friendship which all
of us have for you, for the heroic Cuban people, for the first socialist
country in America." This was stated by Erich Honecker in his toast at the
reception in honor of Fidel Castro.

The first secretary of the SED Central Committee congratulated the Cuban
guest on his being decorated today with the "Great Star of International
Friendship" in gold, and added: "All of us, dear friend Fidel Castro, know
very well how to assess the extraordinary importance which the victory of
the revolution in Cuba has for international progress, and especially for
the success of the anti-imperialist liberation struggle by the other people
of Latin America. Therefore we follow with great interest and in close
solidarity the efforts of the Cuban Communist Party and people to create a
new socialist order. Together with you, dear Cuban friends, we take
pleasure in the success achieved in the socialist building of Cuba."

Erich Honecker stressed: "In the more than 13 years since the victory of
the Cuban Revolution, fraternal relations of friendship and cooperation
have developed between both our parties, states, and peoples. I am also
convinced that in the future these relations will further strengthen and

The politician continued: "We are united by the principles of
Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. We are united by the
common ties of brotherhood with the great Soviet Union and with the other
states of the socialist community. We are united by the struggle for peace
and socialism, for the freedom of the peoples oppressed by imperialism,
against imperialist aggression, oppression and slavery. We stand together
firmly, and act in this manner in our daily life."

Erich Honecker said further: "Socialism is exerting an ever greater
influence on the development of international relations. The socialist
community of states and the anti-imperialist struggle being waged by the
peoples are increasingly successful in forcing imperialism to accept
political solutions in the interests of peaceful coexistence. Our joint
solidarity and support fall due to the peoples of Indochina who are
attacked by U.S. imperialism. Together we demand again, and fully emphasize
that the barbaric bombing raids be stopped, and the blockade of the DRV
ports, which is against international law, be lifted. We demand an end to
the war against the peoples of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and the
unconditional withdrawal of the U.S. aggressors from Indochina."

In his reply Fidel Castro was seen to be deeply influenced by the very
cordial reception which the people accorded him during his arrival in the
GDR. He said: "We were received in the GDR by a revolutionary people, by a
people who know how to fight. We know very well that behind them stands a
revolutionary party, a revolutionary education. This internationalist
spirit, which we could observe, can only be the result of radical political
work among the masses. But this does not surprise us, because we know that
the GDR and the party of this country have informed the people of the
revolutionary process in Cuba, and that you have conveyed this
revolutionary spirit to the people."

He said: "Although we have heard a great deal about the GDR, this cannot be
compared with direct contact. We could not fail to see the extraordinary
effort which had to be exerted in order to overcome the huge difficulties
under which the first socialist German state of workers and peasants came
into being. Our people understand this because we had to wage our struggle
under similar conditions, close to the strongest imperialist power.
Therefore we also understand the role of the GDR as a country of the
socialist camp, in the struggle against imperialism, very close to
imperialism, on the first front line. We understand it that it is under
these conditions that this spirit of the GDR people has been developed.

"We understand the greatness and the importance of the international
solidarity and the support of the Soviet Union and the whole socialist
community--this community which vis-a-vis the GDR has adopted the same
position as it did vis-a-vis Cuba."

Castro assured the GDR people of his country's firm solidarity. "Every day
we will fight more vigorously to deepen the bonds between our peoples, just
as we will fight to strengthen our bonds with the Soviet Union and the
other socialist countries. We regard ourselves as part of the same force
and as fighters for a common cause. We fully understand that a long
struggle is ahead of us in the years to come, a fight in the realm of ideas
and the spheres of ideologies. We know that we will be victorious.

We have every reason to be optimistic. We have seen this country's example.
We cannot forget its early years and the difficult circumstances in which
this state was created facing an imperialist camp commanding powerful
economic, political and military means but alongside a socialist camp whose
chief bulwark, the Soviet Union, emerged victorious from World War II. The
bulwark of imperialism was weakened in this period and by this victory."

Castro continued: "Conditions have changed considerably. Time is working
for the just, the revolutionary cause. The new world rising here faces a
decadent and corrupt world. We are confident of this. We always bear in
mind that the GDR and the Soviet Union waged this struggle from the outset
and formed a part of this camp.

"Today there is another such part in Latin America. Very close to the
United States exists a solidly socialist state and a united people with a
high revolutionary awareness. It shows the strength of ideas and the force
of internationalism. We have every reason to be optimistic."

He affirmed his people's unbreakable solidarity with fighting Vietnam. In
conclusion, he said: "We feel quite sure that contacts between us will
further strengthen the excellent relations between Cuba and the GDR. We
feel quite sure that the warmth and honor accorded us are meant for our
people and our delegation. They oblige us to redouble our efforts in
fighting for the strengthening and consolidation of our relations and
friendship, so firmly based, representing so just an idea and which has
such an extraordinary goal as our peoples set themselves."

Among those present at Honecker's and Stoph's reception were: Walter
Ulbricht, state council chairman; SED Central Committee Polithuro members
Hermann Axen, Friedrich Ebert, Gerhard Grueneberg, Kurt Hager, Werner
Krolikowski, Werner Lamberz, Guenter Mittag, Erich Muechenberger, Alfred
Neumann, Horst Sindermann and Paul Verner; Vice Chairman of the State
Council and People's Chamber President Gerald Goetting and the vice
premiers; Foreign Minister Otto Winzer; Mayor of the GDR Administration of
the Group of Soviet Armed Forces in Germany Lt Gen I.S. Mednikov; the heads
of the diplomatic and other missions accredited to the GDR and military
attaches; and outstanding brigades from industry and agriculture closely
linked to the Republic of Cuba by their work.