JERUSALEM (May. 27)
Former German Defense Minister Franz Josef Strauss arrived at Lydda Airport today without incident, his plane alighting at a landing strip far distant from the main terminal, to avoid would-be demonstrators.
Hundreds of Herut supporters hovered about the main terminal, but Strauss was given a red carpet welcome by officials at the remote strip, and then was whisked away through a special exit. A large Israel military delegation was on hand to honor Strauss, along with Deputy Defense Minister Shimon Peres and Gen. Moshe Dayan, now Minister of Agriculture.
Mr. and Mrs. Strauss spent the night near Tel Aviv, at an undisclosed location. Tomorrow he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.
SAYS MANY IN GERMANY UNDERSTAND ISRAEL’S WORRIES AND HOPES
In a written statement, in English, Dr. Strauss said he had for a long time awaited an opportunity to visit Israel and was, therefore, grateful for the Israeli Government’s invitation. He said he regretted “the misunderstanding that has arisen” in this connection.
“I understand fully, ” he declared, “that the past lies like a torturing shadow between our peoples. But believe me that countless Germans have condemned, together with me, the criminal ways. After the dictatorship, we decided to make good for the injustices of the past as far as it is possible to do so by human beings, and to make German policy in the future serve liberty, peace and understanding between nations. There are many in Germany who understand Israel’s worries and hopes. “
“As a convinced anti-Nazi and anti-Communist, ” he continued,” I want to point out two facts, as I have built up the German democratic army which enjoys a good reputation not only for its quality but, particularly, for its structure. The German Defense Ministry is forbidden any activity in rocket research and development and, therefore, has no responsibility for the activities of German scientists. As far as it depends on me, I have done everything possible to limit it. But I am bound by our Constitution, which gives every German citizen full rights. “
Dr. Strauss concluded his statement by declaring that the free part of Germany, to which he belongs, is, “after the terror of the past, purged by the historic catastrophe for we ourselves were guilty, and aware of its responsibility. This Germany is a friend of your people. “