University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

South Bend, March 7, 1974

Rockefeller Passing-by

Suddenly I stood before Rockefeller, not Nelson Rockefeller, the governor of New York, but his brother David, the chairman of the board of the Chase Manhattan Bank. The unexpected encounter happened in the Faculty Club of the University of Notre Dame, where I had dinner with a faculty committee. David Rockefeller had come to Notre Dame to give a lecture on trade with Russia and China. Father Hesburgh, the president of the University, guided the guest without formalities through the Faculty Club. After a brief introduction and a few friendly words, I realized that I was talking to one of the most influential personalities in finance in the world. I was surprised how easy and nonchalant such a meeting was possible in America. Also, the natural and human way was astonishing, how David Rockefeller moved among the faculty without conceit, cool distance, or compelled friendliness. I became acquainted with the American legend that is connected with the name Rockefeller in a congenial, human way. American society is not classless. But the social barriers are pleasantly overcome by a relaxed, natural and human attitude.

South Bend, March 15, 1974

The End of the One-way Street

In his speech before the Executives’ Club in Chicago, President Nixon declared, “the days of the one-way street are over.” That warning was directed toward the nine countries of the Common Market. Europe cannot just rely on the protection by the United States against a military aggression, and on the other hand refuse economic cooperation with the U.S. America will solve its defense and economic problems alone, should the European countries not be ready for transatlantic solidarity. Such strong words of criticism from President Nixon have never been heard before. They were certainly exaggerated, but they nevertheless showed a latent tension within the North Atlantic Alliance. Nixon’s words shocked, they hit Europe like a cold shower. The reaction was accordingly fierce. They were in part seen as extortion, and in part also understood as maneuver to distract from his domestic difficulties. It was not quite clear what Nixon had intended. Should it have been a declaration of a new trade war between America and Europe, or is America withdrawing to a new isolationism?

South Bend, March 17, 1974

Wild Irish Rose

On March 17 America celebrates with the Irish St. Patrick’s Day. Everywhere shamrocks, the symbol of Ireland, are on display, parades are held, and green beer is served. In Chicago even the Chicago River is colored green. And when the song “Wild Irish Rose” resounds, many a tear is shed. The longing of the Irish for their old homeland is shared by the many Americans of European descent. This way, the day of the Patron Saint of Ireland has become a national American holiday.

South Bend, March 19, 1974

Desperate Attempts

For the third time this week, President Nixon confronted the press and the television cameras. They were desperate attempts to win public opinion over on his side. The questions of the reporters jumped alternately from the Middle East to Europe to Watergate. During today’s telecast from Houston, Texas, the tone in regard to Europe was much softer. Nixon pointed out that the friendship with Europe had never been questioned and that he supports the North Atlantic Alliance. In regard to Watergate two camps have been formed in the American public: The one agrees with the President that enough has already been said about Watergate, while the other can hardly wait until Nixon either resigns or is removed from office.

South Bend, March 29, 1974

In Exile

It was a moving scene when Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn was reunited with his wife Natalya and his children at the airport in Zurich-Kloten. But the joy of seeing each other again was dimmed by the imposed destiny of living in exile and the awareness of never being able to return to their home country again.

To live abroad with the possibility of anytime being able to return to one’s own home country is not so bad. Under certain circumstances, it can even be exciting and stimulating. But in the Free West, especially in the United States, hundreds of thousands of people who had to flee from their home countries - China, North Vietnam, North Korea, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, as well as from the other East Bloc countries - live with no hope of ever returning. And that is bad.

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