1979: West Germany's Generous Offer

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17 December 1979

The significance of the Treaty between Tonga and the Federal Republic of Germany lies not in the ink on a written document. Rather it is manifested in the warmth of relationships shared deep within the hearts of the peoples for these two nations according to his Majesty King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV.

During the recent ten days Royal Visit to the Federal Republic of Germany, Their Majesties have been able to establish such warm relationships between the two countries. It has also given rise to a sense of and a willingness on the part of the German people to help Tonga.

This has borne fruit in our being presented with a 6035 tons container vessel worth 20 million DM christened "Fua Kavenga" and which was duly launched by Her Majesty Queen Halaevalu Mata'aho on Friday , November 23. The vessel was handed over to His Majesty at one o'clock on that day by the owner of the shipbuilders Mr. J J Sietas.

Notwithstanding the rather cold weather, the day turned out to be the happiest of Their Majesties sojourn in Germany because of the receipt of such generousity.His Majesty was consequently moved to remark that "This is indeed the first fruits of the Treaty since its renewal in 1976."

The ceremony was also attended by the ambassadors to Germany from the Pacific Forum nations as New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea, all of whom are members of Pacific Forum Shipping Line where Fua Kavenga will sail under.

Their Majesties were given due Royal welcome at the wharf and Her Majesty the Queen was presented with a Bourget of flower by a granddaughter of Silifou Palu and Toa of Kolomotu'a

Also at the presentation were Tu'itupou Fotu, Mosese Fakatou and a Tongan crew who will be manning the vessel which is painted in our national colors of white and red.

His Majesty also revealed that a passenger vessel to replace the "Olovaha" will be completed towards the middle of next year. Plans are being drawn up tend tenders will be called for construction all of which is being paid for by the German Government in the sum of 5 millions DM.

Germany has also donated T$300,000 towards our proposed Marine Training School. The Government has also offered to finance six scholarships tenable in Germany for Tongan students. From the local council of Stuttgart has also come an offer of two scholarships for training in engineering for two students who will receive tuition at the Daimler Benz auto factories where the famous Mercedes automobile is produced.

News and fame of their Majesties Royal Visit has prompted all kinds of different offers of aid from several German Companies to Tonga .A delegation from Bremen approached His Majesty in Hamburg indicating their desire to upgrade the standard of the fishing industry in Tonga and are quite willing to invest millions of dollars therein .Another firm has offered and X-Ray machine together with pills for TB patients.

Germany's willingness to help even extended to their placing of Luftwafte 17 aircraft from the Germany Air Force to fly their Majesties to Paris because there was a strike at the airport in France.

We shall be glad to help as your friends and partners, the President said.

President Carstens said, his country provided about 30 percent of about fourteen thousand Million DM development aid to 57 countries including Tonga under second Lome Convention signed for Tonga by Crown Prince Tupouto'a in his capacity as Foreign Minister.

Apart from such multilateral cooperation, Germany and Tonga enjoy intensive bilateral cooperation.
The president also said German-Tonga cooperation in the cultural field will be an important task for the near future.

Tonga's reputation in Germany has soared to incomparable heights as a result of the Royal Visit. Germany's top television stations came out with a full coverage of every day's happening from the very day their Majesties arrival. Each and every evening the 35 million out of 61.5 million people of Germany are watching the Tongan Royal visitors at their television screen and the television station also brought out a re- run of their coverage of the Treaty Renewal Ceremony of 1976.

Neither the terrors of Khoneini's Iranian regime nor the crisis over American hostages at their Teherarf Embassy could replace the Royal Visit in headline stories of all newspapers here in Germany. One Berlin newspaper featured a photograph of His Majesty with story coverage on front page and continues on for a further five whole pages inside.

Such tremendous media coverage of the Royal visit has also surprised senior personnel in the German government many distinguished visitors have departed our country but never had any of them so completely captured the media and the hearts of our German people as their Majesties have done, said a spokesman from Germany's Foreign Affairs office.

Another catalyst to the overwhelming and enthusiastic welcome extended to their Majesties has been the revelation by Klaus Bolling, Secretary of State and Head of Media services that in fact the first invitation to a Tongan Royal Visit was extended by the Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm I to His Majesty King George Tupou I during the last century. The occasion has been revived and renewed along with the treaty and performed by our President in honour of His Majesty King Taufa'ahau Tuou IV.

One newspaper here even came out with a feature article alleging that the King of Tonga has blood ties in Germany. The story arose out of statements from the descendants of certain Mr. Henry Meyer. A correspondent was granted audience with His Majesty on this story but was told by His Majesty that he has no knowledge of a sailor by the name of Meyer. Nevertheless, this again is further evidence of the keen interest shown in the Royal Visit and that some people have even claimed blood relations with His Majesty. The atmosphere surrounding the present Royal Visit in Germany reminds one of the occasions of Her Majesty the late beloved Queen Salote's visit in London.

His Majesty went walking along the middle of Cologne. And in Stuttgart he walked 200 meters from the railway station to the hotel amidst cheers and shouts of welcome from the thousands who thronged both side of the royal route.

Germany has indeed ex tended a welcome such as which befits only a King. And it is no small wonder since they have a tradition of monarchical rule. The German army gave a torch lighting welcome to their Majesties upon their arrival at a dinner party hosted by the President at the Augustus burg Castle in Bonn. And at the farewell dinner at the Kreitmair in Keferlo in Munich their majesties were welcomed with fanfare from the famed Bavarian band.

In Berlin, their majesties visited the burial ground of Emperor Kaiser Ehlhelm I where a wreath was laid upon the monument of the Emperor. Berlin's welcome was held at the Charlotte burg Palace which was built in 1695 for Princess Sophie Charlotte the first queen of Prussia.

A performance of the opera "Carmen" was also put on for their majesties at the Berlin Opera House. It was indeed a great honour done to the troupe when their majesties rose to lead the audience in a standing ovation for them. Meanwhile dignitaries of this country will never forget the magnificent and graceful performance of the Tonga solo dance tau'olunga by Kaukauloka (Vaea) at the Gymich Castle to musical accompaniment by Ambassador ‘Inoke Fotu Faletau and his band.

His majesty has also verbally invited the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Karl Carstens to visit Tonga at a date to be confirmed later.


Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa. Extract from the Tonga Chronicles, 1979, MIC Archives.


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