THE HAGUE (Jul. 17)
The West German delegation to the negotiations talks here last night offered 450,000,000 deutschemarks–approximately $107,000,000–to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany to settle its global claims against Germany for $500,000,000.
The Germans would pay this sum to Israel in the form of goods, in addition to the $715,000,000 which has been offered in settlement of Israel’s claim for $1,000,000,000. It would then be up to Israel and the Conference to work out a method for Israel to pay the Conference for the reparations goods.
Neither members of the Israel nor of the Jewish Conference delegations would comment on the German offer. Moses A. Leavitt, chief of the Conference negotiating team, said that he would transmit the offer to the praesidium of the Conference in New York. (In New York it was stated that the offer had been received and that action would be taken on it some time next week after a careful study is completed.) It was felt in Jewish circles here that the reparations spotlight is now on New York. The Conference’s policy committee, on which all 23 affiliated organizations is represented, recently authorized the praesidium to ratify any agreement it considered acceptable.
Explaining the German offer, a German spokesman said that the figure of $107,000,000 is not meant as a challenge to the validity of the claim presented by the Conference, but represents all that Bonn can afford to pay in view of its debts and commitments. The German offer included another 50,000,000 marks which would be set aside for the relief and rehabilitation of non-professing Jews who were victims of the Nazis.
GERMANY WILL SIGN ONE PACT WITH ISRAEL AND TWO WITH CONFERENCE
Prof. Franz Boehm, head of the German delegation, explained that when final agreement on all issues is reached three agreements will be signed, one each with Israel and the Conference on the reparations settlement and one with the Conference embodying the legislative program which will be initiated by Bonn to indemnify individual Jewish victims of the Hitler regime. They will be signed simultaneously after agreement on all issues is reached among the three parties and after each of the three ratifies the agreements. Ratification and signing is not expected before September.
Prof. Boehm and Mr. Leavitt expect the German-Conference talks on the legislative problem to come to a close next week. These and other discussions will be held in committee today and tomorrow.
Asked if Germany hopes that ratification of the agreements might possibly lead to establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany, Prof. Boehm declared that this was not an objective of the present conference. “We consider the payment of these reparations an obligation on Germany’s part and we have not asked Israel to give anything in return,” he stressed.
(Maurice Boukstein, general counsel of the Jewish Agency and a member of the Conference negotiating team at The Hague departed for The Netherlands yesterday after a brief stay in New York.)