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Five German Rocket Experts Leave Egypt; 500 Still at Work There

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At least five of the West German rocket experts working on rockets for Egypt were backing West Germany today, according to a report from Bonn. They were said to have included Prof. Hans Goercke.

Dr. Goercke, one of Germany’s leading rocket experts, was indirectly a figure in an incident in Switzerland early in 1963 when two men, one an Israeli, were arrested and tried on charges of threatening Dr. Goercke’s daughter, to persuade the scientist to quit his work in Egypt and return home. The two were convicted and expelled from Switzerland.

At the same time, it was reported today from Cairo that the Egyptian Government had approved funds in foreign currency to expand the work of the West German scientists and technicians on rockets and other advanced weapons.

The reports, based chiefly on talks with some of the leaders among the West German scientists being employed by Egypt, quoted the Germans as denying that some rocket experts have been “lured” away by offers of higher salaries presumably made by the German Government.

The Germans at Cairo reportedly said that about 500 Germans are still at work on rockets and on jet aircraft for Nasser’s arsenal. Conceding that about 30 lower echelon aircraft workers left Egypt recently, those remaining say that these 30 departed only on expiration of their contracts. They claimed that two Germans are applying for each job vacated here, and insisted that the rocket team is “virtually intact.”

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