During his visit to the GDR in December 1981, Chancellor Helmut
Schmidt had invited Erich Honecker to the Federal Republic. After the
political changeover in 1982, Schmidt’s successor Helmut Kohl explicitly
repeated this invitation. Soviet pressure, however, forced Honecker to
postpone his visit several times, and it was only in the summer of 1987
that Moscow’s leadership under Mikhail Gorbachev approved the trip.
Honecker visited the Federal Republic from September 7–11, 1987. He was
received with nearly all the honors that protocol bestows upon a head of
state. For Honecker, it was at once a moment of personal gratification
and the highpoint of his political career. In their joint communiqué,
Kohl (right) and Honecker (left) announced their intention to engage in
peaceful cooperation and to continue the East-West dialogue.