WASHINGTON (Jun. 18)
State Department sources today denied reports that the United States dissuaded the West German Government from establishing diplomatic relations with Israel.
German diplomatic sources said that the State Department advised West Germany to defer diplomatic recognition of Israel until improvement occurs in the Arab-Israel situation. But U.S. officials today held that the Bonn Government arrived at its own independent decision to postpone establishment of normal relations with Israel. West Germany was described as apprehensive lest Egypt and Syria retaliate by recognizing the East German Communist regime. Such a development would force Bonn to sever relations with Egypt and Syria.
West Germany reportedly told the State Department that it considers its present reparations contacts with Israel as sufficiently adequate for the time being. U.S. officials said the matter emerged recently when Israel sought the State Department’s good offices toward the creation of German-Israel diplomatic relations. Israel reportedly took the step in Washington because the United States is a friend of both Israel and West Germany and is represented in Bonn, Tel Aviv, and Cairo.
The Israel move was made because the West Germans had in the past led Israel to believe that Bonn desired the normalization of relations. According to the highly authoritative U.S. sources, the Israel exploratory move here was met with a negative response not because of any advice given by the State Department to West Germany but due to the Germans’ own apprehensive reluctance.