BONN (Feb. 22)
The United States Ambassador to West Germany conferred here today with Foreign Minister Gerhard Schroeder and “expressed American willingness to asist Germany” toward settling its current Middle East crisis, State Secretary Karl-Gunther von Hase, spokesman for the Government, announced this afternoon.
Mr. von Hase refused to provide further details about the conference between the Washington envoy and Dr. Schroeder. He also said he had no information about reports that further mediation efforts between West Germany and Egypt are now being undertaken by a Spanish diplomat. It was Spain that arranged the agreement between Bonn and Cairo nearly two weeks ago for Germany’s cessation of arms shipments to Israel.
Asserting that he had “the impression” that “in Israel, further understanding has developed recently,” Mr. von Hase said that “it is now Israel’s turn to act.” Chancellor Ludwig Erhard had sent a letter to Israel’s Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, dealing with the imbroglio that developed after Bonn agreed to halt its arms deliveries to Israel, under pressure from Egypt. So far, there has been no announcement from either side about an answer from Mr. Eshkol.
Replying to a question at his press conference about whether Egypt is trying to exert further pressures against Germany, Mr. von Hase said: “It is obvious that all sides want to provoke the German Government, but this will have no success.” He repeated assertions made last week to the effect that the opposition Social Democratic Party had been consulted by the Government about Bonn’s military aid agreement with Israel. The Government, he said, acted in “accordance with the Social Democratic Party.”
(In Jerusalem, Foreign Ministry officials failed to confirm today reports that the West German Government was sending an emissary to Israel to seek a way out of the current Bonn-Jerusalem crisis over the suspension of arms shipments to Israel from West Germany. A Ministry spokesman said that no notification to this effect had been received from Bonn and that, in any event, further talks could only be based on the fulfilment of Bonn’s undertaking.)
ISRAEL’S DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER LAYS STRESS ON SECURITY
Der Spiegel, of Hamburg, today published twin interviews with Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Shimon Peres and Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Mr. Peres said that, due to the fact that “enormous” quantities of Soviet arms have been sent to Egypt, “the Americans, French and British ought to help redress the balance of arms in the Middle East, and supply Israel with weapons.” “Germany,” he stated, “should have done so in the first place.” The question of Israel’s security, he declared, is more important than the issue of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel.
Asked by Der Spiegel about reports emanating from Cairo to the effect that Israel employs German scientists, Mr. Peres denied that those German scientists in Israel work for military purposes. “Generally,” he said, “they work at the Weizmann Institute of Science, and only on scientific projects, without any military significance. In Egypt, on the other hand, the Gerran scientists have very little to do with science, and very much with warlike armaments.”
The Israeli official confirmed reports that there had been contacts about German aid to Israel, even prior to the meeting held in March 1960, in New York, between the then Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. He did not say that such an agreement was concluded at that time.
Asked whether the remainder of the arms Bonn had committed itself to provide Israel would be sent to Israel now, as charged by Egyptian sources, Mr. Peres replied he hoped this agreement would be fulfilled. On the subject of whether there have been further negotiations between Bonn and Jerusalem about the continuation of aid to Israd, he replied: “Yes, in principle talks have taken place.” But he declined to elaborate further because he “could not talk about inconclusive things.”
In his interview, Col. Nasser said that the “only” reason he invited Communist East Germany’s Chief of State, Walter Ulbricht, for a visit was “because of the arms given to Israel by Bonn as a present.” He hinted there was a possibility that his government would recognize the East German regime if Germany halted its economic aid to Egypt after the Ulbricht visit.