Two Issues Prevent Erhard’s Emissary from Leaving Israel on Time
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Two Issues Prevent Erhard’s Emissary from Leaving Israel on Time

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Dr. Kurt Birrenbach, West German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard’s special emissary, who was to return to Bonn today after a second round of conferences with Prime Minister Levi Eshkol on issues still outstanding in connection with Bonn-Jerusalem rapprochement, postponed his departure until tomorrow.

He was awaiting further instructions from Bonn regarding some important issues not yet resolved between the two governments. The issues include Israel’s demand that Bonn keep its agreement to aid Israel armament by supplying the remainder of weapons not yet shipped; and the timing and other details about establishment of full diplomatic relations, to which both governments have now agreed.

Regarding the arms deal, Dr. Birrenbach has reportedly offered financial compensation for the remainder of the weapons agreed to under the old arrangement, but Israel has thus far refused to accept money in lieu of arms, insisting on the principle involved. As to the envisaged exchange of ambassadors between the two governments, Dr. Birrenbach appears to have been authorized by Bonn to include that agreement in a joint communique which would state it has been reached in principle. Bonn apparently wants to delay implementation of the diplomatic agreement until a later date.

It is assumed here that Chancellor Erhard wants leeway on both issues, while he is still trying to appease the Arab states. But Israel insists she cannot view its relations with West Germany in the context of Bonn’s relationships with the Arab states. Unless agreement between Mr. Eshkol and Dr. Birrenbach is reached by the latter’s departure tomorrow, the Erhard emissary may have to go home, and return again with new instructions at the end of this week.


In his latest series of talks here, Dr. Birrenbach brought to Mr. Eshkol replies from Dr. Erhard concerning a number of questions posed by Israel earlier. Israel is understood to have agreed to a German proposal of aid reported to be in the range of $50,000,000 annually for a number of years. Regarding the ambassadorial issue, Bonn is said to prefer to establish its Israeli embassy in Tel Aviv, rather than in Jerusalem, and Mr. Eshkol is believed to be ready not to press that matter.

The question of the German scientists at work on sophisticated weapons in Egypt had also been brought into the Eshkol-Birrenbach talks, with the German envoy insisting that only one major German scientist, Wolfgang Pilz, is still in Egypt. He said that three ranking German scientists recently left Egypt, and that his Government would “remain alive to the problem.”

Israeli sources confirmed press reports from Bonn to the effect that Dr. Erhard issued his proposal for establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel only after the German leader had received an ultimatum on that issue from Rainer Barzel, chairman of Dr. Erhard’s own Christian Democratic Party. Mr. Barzel had reportedly issued that ultimatum to his Chancellor after returning from a visit to the United States and emphasizing that there had been sharp reactions among non-Jews against Bonn’s intended surrender to Egypt’s President Nasser.

According to these reports, Mr. Barzel had threatened to split the Christian Democratic Party and bring down the Erhard Government. It was only then, the reports stated, that Dr. Erhard sent new instructions to Dr. Birrenbach, who was already en route to Israel, regarding the offer of diplomatic relations.

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