ANOTHER VON HABSBURG SPEAKS OUT!

ANOTHER VON HABSBURG SPEAKS OUT!

By Gene Hogberg

Pastor General’s Report November 16, 1984

  With Mr. Reagan robustly returned to a second four-year term, the prospects of improved Soviet-American relations appear remote. Moscow is presently in no mood to concretely negotiate arms reduction talks. Furthermore, the Kremlin is moving to militarily prop up its Central American surrogate, Nicaragua, which has had difficulty fending off the attacks of the U.S.- supported “contra” forces . The Managua regime has “cried wolf” once again by putting the entire nation on military alert against an alleged U.S. attack. While such an assault is extremely remote, it nevertheless shows that the United States and the Soviet Union are both “upping the ante.” Neither superpower believes it can afford to back down. The prospect of reduced East-West tensions, therefore, are fading fast. This puts the nations of Western Europe in an increasingly uncomfortable position. It also encourages them in their desire for greater cooperation both within Western Europe and between the Western and Eastern halves of the continent. Recently, for example, the heads-of-state of France and West Germany held top-level talks in Paris, as reported in the November 7 issue of the TIMES of London: France and West Germany should serve as the driving forces behind the construction of a stronger Europe, with a view to opening up the east-west dialogue, President Mitterrand and President Richard von Weizsaecker agreed here at the beginning of a five-day official visit to France by the West German President. Speaking at a banquet given in Herr von Weizsaecker’s honour.. .M. Mitterrand said: “Free and strong, our [European ] Community will be able to conduct a dialogue with the other part of Europe ….” Noting the special national and family ties between the West Germans and the Germans in East Germany, Herr von Weizsaecker said in reply: “They are and remain like us, Europeans. That is why we are seeking an entente between East and West. That is why we desire a peace which would enable us to overcome the divisions within Europe.” The goal of a united Europe remains fixed in the focus of the von Habsburg family, not only Dr. Otto von Habsburg, but his 23-year-old son, the Archduke Karl von Habsburg. Like his father, Karl von Habsburg is active in the promotion of a united Europe, serving as a member of the board of the International Pan-European Movement. He travels widely and lectures frequently. On September 25, he was in Pennsylvania, delivering addresses at York College of Pennsylvania and Elizabethtown College. Mr. Jim Rosenthal, pastor of our Harrisburg church, attended the afternoon lecture at York College, and church member Herbert N. Witmer attended the evening session at Elizabethtown. They were kind enough to send us newspaper reports of the speeches as well as, in Mr. Witmer’s case, a transcript of an enlightening question-and-answer session. First off we have a summation of Archduke Karl’s York College address as presented in the September 26 issue of THE PATRIOT of Harrisburg. One can readily see that he is a “chip off the old block.” Not only his message but his very words are virtually identical to his father’s. A “United States of Europe” could be the world’s third great power, an Austrian archduke said yesterday during a visit here. Archduke Karl von Habsburg, youngest board member of the International Pan-European Movement and an officer in the Austrian army, spoke at York College of Pennsylvania on efforts to form a combined Europe. “Today, 200 million Americans are protecting 470 million Europeans from 250 million Russians,” he said. “Combined, we could do it ourselves.” Habsburg, grandson of Emperor Karl I of Austria-Hungary and son of Otto von Habsburg, a member of the European Parliament, said he grew up in a family where European politics was the main topic of conversation. “From the time I was a little boy I heard only about politics, and I have been active in politics since the age of 12,” he said. The Pan-European Movement began in 1923, was stalled by World War II, and had a revival in the early 1950s with a plan to integrate the coal and steel industries of Western Europe, Habsburg said. This led to the European Economic Community.. . [and] to the European Parliament.. . . The next few years [said the Archduke] will see the introduction of a European passport, a European driver’s license, a uniform voting system, common guidelines for protection of the environment and the use of energy and other natural resources, the coor-dination of school certificates and educational degrees, and a common system of armaments, he said…. “We seek a great Europe, and people now living behind the Iron Curtain are just as much Europeans as we are. Colonization should end in Europe, just as it has in Africa and other parts of the world.” As his father concluded in his addresses at Ambassador College and in Los Angeles last year, Archduke Karl also stressed, regarding the quest of a united Europe: “We have passed the point of no return.” After the hour-long presentation in Elizabethtown, Archduke Karl fielded questions from the general audience (about 250 people of all ages). Afterwards, according to Mr. Witmer, the Archduke remained to answer questions privately from a dozen or so persons. The following are some of the questions Mr. Witmer and others asked of the very outspoken Archduke:

Q. “Do you see Franz Josef Strauss often…?”

A. “Well I don’t see him often…, When we tak about politics head to head, he’s brilliant. I don’t mind that but otherwise he’s too blustery.”

Q. “You can look back through history many centuries ago and know that Charles V was your great-great-great-great grandfather. Does that do something to your everyday thinking?”

A. “I am descended from him through the Madeirian Line, but no– I feel more empathy toward my Grandfather Karl I, who was the last Emperor of Austria. Incidentally, my Grandmother Zita is still living. She is 93 years old, totally blind, but she has a sharp clear mind. She has a staff of advisors who keep her up-to-date on the latest world news. You can sit down with her and carry on conversations about what is happening in the world today and she will know everything you’re talking about.”

Q. “Do you feel the monarchy will ever be restored to Austria?” (Just then an elderly lady standing beside me nudged me and said: ”you don’t mean that question, do you?!” The Archduke did not mind it.)

A. “There was a poll taken in Austria much like your Harris Poll. Eleven percent of the people surveyed said that if they had their choice of a government they would want to live under the monarchy. Now eleven percent does not seem to be a very high figure but the same poll was taken in Belgium and only one percent of the people wanted a monarchy.”

Q. (From a young female student) “Who then would be the Emperor if that were to materialize?”

A. “My father is 73 years old and had to renounce any pretension to the throne. I have five sisters–I am the oldest of my brothers–I would,”

Q. “You admitted that even though the Common Market is moving along very well toward unity there are a lot of border problems due to different languages and customs. If that remains a problem, wouldn’t you draw upon the influence of the Catholic Church to settle such disputes since much of the Market is Catholic?”

A. “Most certainly yes. But I take their advice when it’s good and disregard it when it’s bad. For example, there was an Irish Catholic priest who was smuggling arms into a country in Africa dealing in revolution. The man was caught by the authorities and promised not to do it again. He returned immediately to that activity–was caught again, and again told the authorities he would not do that again. He was released. The church said that we should have aided much more in his release. I told the church that that man should have been shot.”

Q. “Are you related to the Royal House of Windsor?”

A. “Yes, through the Saxsonian Line. But I do not go in for all that social activity. I must by protocol attend the weddings of the royal families in Europe but I do not care for all that: I would rather be out talking politics, promoting the United States of Europe.

“One thing saddened and angered me last June at a wedding to which my grandmother attended. She of course needed two escorts since she is blind and when she came into the hall all the royalty stood up specifically to greet her with the exception of one person. That was Prince Andrew, who was sitting on a couch with his cigarette and glass of wine, lounging around very disrespectfully, There was my grandmother you know, the last Empress of Austria–quite an amazing achievement. But we were vindicated when we saw one of Andrew’s uncles race across the floor, stand him up and proceed to castigate him before the others in attendance.”

A further note by Mr. Witmer: The Archduke referred to England as “us and them” or “them and us”! The overall impression he left with the small audience was that he didn’t care too much for the British. He did state that he admired and liked the Queen and Prince Charles.

Our thanks to Mr. Rosenthal and Mr. Witmer for their contributions.]]>