BONN (Dec. 30)
West Germany is having some second thoughts on its possible participation in the construction of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile, in Egypt. A government delegation that was to have left for Cairo next Saturday has postponed its trip, according to the Foreign Ministry spokesman here, and the entire plan for West Germany help to United Arab Republic President Gamal Abdel Nasser is being reconsidered.
According to the spokesman, the government wants to know more details about the agreement between the UAR and the Soviet Union, whereby the Kremlin government would provide for the dam project a total of $100, 000, 000 worth of equipment and technical services. The signing of the Moscow-Cairo agreement, which had been announced earlier but not actually finalized, seems to have taken Bonn by surprise, and is considered here as another set-back for the West.
Germany wants to know, it is understood, whether its people, acting as subcontractors on the dam project, would have to work with Soviet-made materials and under supervision of Soviet personnel.
Germany was to have headed a consortium of Western companies, including Italian and Belgian representatives. The contracts to have been assumed by the West–reportedly with the consent of the United States State Department–would have involved $100, 000, 000. West German companies would have assumed responsibility for $50, 000, 000 of the total subcontracts, with the Federal Government here acting as guarantor of the West German portion of the total investment.