NEW YORK (Jun. 19)
The offer by the German Cabinet this week for a settlement of Jewish and Israeli claims against Germany provides the basis for the resumption of negotiations with Germany, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and of the Jewish Agency, announced at a press conference today.
Dr. Goldmann expressed the hope that the negotiations, when resumed, “will be concluded within a relatively short period and in a satisfactory manner. ” He emphasized that the major obstacles for the resumption of negotiations seem to have been cleared away after a series of informal talks held in the past few weeks with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, and other members of the Bonn Government, and Professor Franz Boehm, chairman of the German negotiating team at The Hague.
Dr. Goldmann said the following “satisfactory results” were the outcome of these informal talks:
1. There is now complete separation between the London German debt conference and the Jewish claims conference. The German Government has now acceded to the view that “that claims of Israel and of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany are of a unique, moral character, and must be dealt with differently than the claims of commercial creditors.”
2. The amount which Germany offered Israel as the basis for a resumption of negotiations “is the full amount which the German negotiating team at The Hague had recognized as the valid claim of Israel-$715,000,000.”
3. Dr. Goldmann had received assurances from the German Government that a separate offer would be made to satisfy the claims of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. This offer will formally be submitted when the negotiations are resumed.
4. With regard to the form of payment, the agreement provides for the delivery, not only of goods of German manufacture, but also goods of foreign manufacture which Germany may obtain through barter agreements.
Dr. Goldmann pointed out that before the deadlock at The Hague, agreement had been obtained on a German legislative program affecting the claims of individual victims of Nazism for restitution and indemnification. “It is now essential that this agreement be approved by the German Cabinet and that the proposed legislation be presented to and passed by the Bundestag as soon as possible,” he declared.
The main purpose of this legislation demanded by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany was to protect the rights of a vast number of individuals, victims of Nazi persecution, whose claims have not yet been satisfied six years after the conclusion of the war, Dr. Goldmann pointed out.
The German Cabinet decision provides that the claims be paid out within 12 years, he continued. The Israel Government and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany had hoped that this would be accomplished within a shorter period, he said. There is still “a very good chance,” however, he added, “that the German Government, once she has re-established her commercial credit, which should be soon, may apply for a loan in order to meet these moral claims in less time.”
The negotiations, once concluded, “should result in substantial assistance to Israel’s strained economy and to individual claimants, and will provide at least some compensation in the material sphere for the inestimable, manifold and horrendous damages inflicted upon Jewry ” Dr. Goldman declared.