NEW YORK (Mar. 14)
Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of West Germany and Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion of Israel exchanged pledges of mutual cooperation today following a dramatic two-hour meeting which was obviously a moving, emotional experience for both statesmen.
The meeting took place in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel where both statesmen are staying. Because Chancellor Adenauer is ten years older than the Israel Prime Minister, international protocol provided that the conference take place in the Chancellor’s quarters.
In statements which each read to the press following their long meeting in the Presidential Suite in the hotel, the two heads of government spoke positively of cooperation but neither mentioned the question of establishment of diplomatic relations between the West German Federal Republic and the State of Israel.
Dr. Adenauer’s statement, read by the Chancellor, declared:
“I am deeply moved by my meeting today with Israel Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. For a long time, I have been an admirer of his statesmanship and steadfastness as the chief architect of modern Israel and its remarkable development.
“The German people draw deep satisfaction through the fact that through restitution to victims of Nazism, a contribution was made toward rehabilitation in Israel. I am sure that the German people as well as my Government are convinced that our mutual cooperation with, and support of Israel will continue to bear fruit in the future, “
Prime Minister Ben-Gurion read the following statement:
“I was glad to meet Chancellor Adenauer. My people cannot forget its past–but we remember the past not in order to brood upon it, but in order that it shall never recur.
“I said in the Knesset, the Parliament of Israel, last summer, that the Germany of today is not the Germany of yesterday. After having met the Chancellor, I am sure that judgment was correct. I wish the Chancellor every success in his effort to guide Germany in its path of democracy and international cooperation. “
Neither Israeli nor German circles would reveal immediately after the conference the substance of what the long talks entailed. The two statesmen conferred, each in his own language, Mr. Ben-Gurion using Arieh Manor, Israeli Economic Minister in New York, as his translator.
At a luncheon tendered Dr. Adenauer yesterday by the American Council on Germany, the Chancellor told 100 Americans–including Jewish leaders–that “the spirit of Germany today is far from being anti-Semitic or Nazi. ” He pledged that none of West Germany’s Jews “will suffer any harm or damage. ” A feature of the luncheon was the reading of the benediction in Hebrew and in English by Rabbi Joachim Prinz, of Newark, who is president of the American Jewish Congress.
Felix von Eckardt, State Secretary of the Bonn Government and Dr. Adenauer’s ranking spokesman, told newspapermen at a luncheon tendered to him by the United Nations Correspondents Association, that the question of German diplomatic relations with Israel was “not discussed or raised” at this morning’s Ben-Gurion-Adenauer meeting. “Both the Chancellor and Mr. Ben-Gurion feel this is not the real problem, ” Mr. von Eckardt said. “There are many other German-Israeli problems that are more important. “
Asked what the German Government was doing to speed the process of indemnifying victims of Nazism, Mr. von Eckardt said: “Not only I, but the entire Federal Government, regrets deeply that the process of indemnification takes so much time. The Federal Chancellor has already conferred on this matter with the Minister Presidents and the Finance Ministers of the German states in an effort to speed indemnification and will meet them again on this matter. The Federal Government will do all it can to hasten indemnification.”