BONN (Mar. 5)
Professor Walter Hallstein, president of the European Common Market and former head of the West German Foreign Ministry, told a court here today that the Israel-German Reparations Agreement is an “essential pillar of the Federal Governments policy.”
On the other hand, Dr. Hallstein revealed, at the time the pact was being negotiated, it was opposed not only by former Nazis and by the Arab states but also “by members of the Government coalition, by some of the Ministries, and by German business circles with interests in the Middle East.”
Prof. Hallstein was testifying on his own behalf at a libel suit being heard against him and two other prominent Germans, Herbert Blankenhorn, Ambassador to Paris and to NATO, and Baron Vollrath von Maltzen. They are being sued by Dr. Hans Strack, former head of the Economic Ministry’s Middle East Department, for allegedly slandering him by making reports accusing him of having accepted a bribe from the Egyptians, in order to help kill legislation providing for restitution and reparations to Jewish victims of Nazism.
Dr. Hallstein told the court that he had turned over to the then Minister of Economy a letter written to Dr. Strack by the Egyptian consulate-general’s press attache in Frankfurt, indicating that a bribe had been passed. He said he had considered it his duty to pass on the letter because he considered it a note from a foreign mission. On the other hand, he conceded, he left off his own name, in passing the note, because he himself had been accused of accepting bribes from Israel.