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Hit Erhard’s Delay in Taking Stand on Nazi Scientists in Egypt

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The opposition Social Democratic Party sharply criticized the West German Government today for its inaction on the problem of recalling West German scientists now working on advance weapons systems in Egypt.

“The Federal Government ignores Israel’s wishes and fears in a provocative way,” the party spokesman asserted. The criticism was evoked by Chancellor Erhard’s delay in replying to a letter from Premier Levi Eshkol of Israel explaining Israel’s apprehensions of the effect of the issue on Israeli relations with the West German Republic.

(In Jerusalem, Kol Israel quoted an interview with a West German Government spokesman affirming that Dr. Erhard’s reply to Mr. Eshkol would not be made before Monday. Mr. Eshkol is scheduled to make a statement on the question of the German scientists before the Knesset tomorrow and the subject was on the agenda of today’s Cabinet meeting.

(Israeli observers voiced criticism of Dr. Erhard’s delay in replying to Mr. Eshkol, asserting that it seemed to indicate a lack of consideration for the prevailing mood in Israel on the question and the difficulties Prime Minister Eshkol will have in the Knesset debate. In some circles, Dr. Erhard’s delay in replying was ascribed to his reluctance to make any statement likely to arouse the Arab leaders while the conference of non-aligned nations was still in session in Cairo. The conference ended yesterday.)

Interior Minister Hermann Hocherl said today that the German Cabinet would once again consider an amendment to the federal passport law which would give the government power to recall Germans living abroad. The Cabinet rejected a similar proposal last spring. Last month, Dr. Erhard told a press conference that the government had not been able to find legal means for dealing with the problem.

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