BONN (Mar. 24)
The West German Government today confirmed here that it had requested Switzerland to extradite two alleged “Israeli agents”–Joseph Ben-Gal, an Israeli citizen, and Dr. Otto Jukelik, an Austrian–who had been detained in Basle on charges of “threatening” the daughter of a German rocket scientist working in Cairo.
Reports from Switzerland said, however, that sources close to the Swiss Government indicated that they thought it unlikely that the request of the West German Government would be granted. The request would probably not be considered by the Swiss Cabinet before Tuesday. At Lausanne, George Brunschwig, attorney for Ben-Gal, announced that, if the Swiss Cabinet approves the request for sending Ben-Gal back to Germany, he would appeal the case to the Swiss Federal Court.
State Secretary Guenther von Hase, speaking on behalf of the Bonn Government at a press conference here, declared: “It cannot be ascertained with certainty whether the information is correct that German technicians in Egypt cooperate in producing and developing rockets to be used for aggression. At any rate, this is not done with the knowledge of approval of the Federal Government.”
“It is known, ” he continued, “that, for a long time, the Federal Government has pursued a policy of not delivering any arms to countries where tensions exist. This policy naturally means that the Federal Government would express disapproval if the tension is being intensified by the activities of armament technicians. However, the Federal Government has no possibility of preventing German Citizens from leaving the country, except when such persons act against German law or against the laws of the countries which they visit.”
Facing a barrage of questions at the 30-minute press conference, the Federal official said he wished to repeat a “moral appeal” which West Germany had made to its citizens several times in the past. He said: “The Government expects all German nationals staying abroad to act in a way which does not harm the Federal Republic of Germany. ” He indicated “acute tension in the Middle East” between Israel and the Arab Nations was a factor in preventing West Germany from making any overture now to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. He suggested this “might heighten tension.”