Jim Baker Credits Gorbachev for Fall of Berlin Wall

Baker: For one, in every administration there are tensions between the national security advisor sitting at the White House and the secretary of state. Secondly, some of Scowcroft's staff members had reservations about the Two-Plus-Four process. We had had many discussions earlier as to whether this format was the right one. And the president had agreed that it was. But for some, everything was going too fast. Let me add that Bush's national security apparatus acted like it should. There was no back-biting.

SPIEGEL: Had Kohl actually questioned his participation in the Two-Plus-Four negotiations?

Baker: There was absolutely no indication of that. Kohl was on board. I said to Bush: "Look. I have got this thing negotiated. It's done. We cannot walk away from it now. Nonetheless, I had to speak to (then Foreign Minister) Hans-Dietrich Genscher again and enquire about Kohl's position. I convinced the president to call the German chancellor and Kohl affirmed his full support for the Two-Plus-Four discussions. Finally, Bush said to me: "He is okay with Two-Plus-Four, go ahead."

SPIEGEL: How was your relationship with the president?

Baker: As secretary of state you have to work very closely with the president. Otherwise you are lost. The president has to support, defend and protect his secretary of state. I was Bush's political manager in all his election campaigns. Therefore we were extremely close.

SPIEGEL: What have you learned about the Germans in all your negotiations over the years?

Baker: Germany can be relied upon. While I understood the fears of the French and the British, I did not share them. When the unifications papers were signed, I jokingly said to Hans-Dietrich Genscher: The next time we will negotiate about the German-Chinese border. But Germany did not become expansive. The joke remained a joke. History does not repeat itself.

SPIEGEL: Secretary Baker, we thank you for this interview.

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