Kerry recalls boyhood adventures in divided postwar Berlin on first official visit to Germany

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is telling young Germans of his adventures as a 12-year-old son of an American diplomat in divided postwar Berlin, and urging them to be true to their ideals and values as Europe struggles to emerge from economic doldrums and deal with the threat of terrorism.

Speaking at a town hall meeting Tuesday, Kerry spoke a few sentences of passable German to the delight of a crowd in a packed Internet cafe before regaling the audience with tales of his boyhood in Berlin in 1954.

He drew laughter when he said a clandestine bicycle ride into Soviet-run east Berlin had badly upset his father, who took away his diplomatic passport and grounded him for almost causing an international incident.