JERUSALEM (Mar. 17)
Dr. Kurt Birrenbach, West German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard’s personal emissary, arrived in Israel today for a second round of talks on West German-Israeli relations.
He declined comment on the content of the talks he will have with Premier Levi Eshkol, Deputy Premier Abba Eban and other Israeli officials, saying only that his second visit would last two or three days. His first visit to Israel last week was followed by Israel Cabinet and Parliamentary approval of West Germany’s offer of diplomatic recognition.
An indication of the nature of the talks was given by Premier Esnkol when he made his statement in the Knesset last night preceding the vote on acceptance of the West German offer. The Premier said he had reason to expect agreement would be reached with West Germany on outstanding problems. These were known to include the question of West Germany completing the shipment of its multi-million dollar weapons aid program to Israel, which it cut off last month, the issue of West German scientists working in Egypt on advanced weapons systems for the Nasser regime and future West German aid to Israel.
It was reported that Israel wanted West Germany to establish its Embassy in Jerusalem but it was understood that this, and other unresolved questions, have not been put to Bonn as a pre-condition for an exchange of ambassadors. So far, it was reported, Israel has not chosen an ambassador to Bonn. Asher Ben Nathan, former director general of the Israel Defense Ministry, was named last month to replace Dr. Felix Shinnar as head of the Israel Mission at Cologne and it appeared he might be named ambassador. Another candidate mentioned was Dr. Y Yahil, former director general of the Foreign Ministry.
The vote last night in the Knesset was taken by roll call, which is rarely used. The roll call was used in 1952 in the vote on the West German reparations agreement. Of the 120 Members of Parliament, 105 attended the session last night. Two of the most persistent advocates of relations with West Germany, former Premier David Ben-Gurion and Deputy Defense Minister Shimon Peres, were absent. The former Premier has refused to attend Knesset sessions since he resigned as Premier and Mr. Peres is abroad. Former Premier Moshe Sharett, who is confined to a wheelchair, had planned to attend but apparently was dissuaded by his doctors.