TEL AVIV (May. 10)
Former West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer completed today an action-packed eight-day visit to Israel with an assurance that he would continue to work actively for Israel.
His departure from Lydda Airport was delayed 30 minutes after police received an anonymous report that a bomb had been placed on the E1 A1 airliner taking him back to West Germany. He finally departed after police boarded the plane for a search which found no explosives and after he had conferred informally with Premier Levi Eshkol.
It was reported that during the final Adenauer-Eshkol conversation, the two men clarified a “misunderstanding” which developed at a luncheon given by the Premier for the visiting West German statesman. On that occasion, the Premier had reiterated a general Israeli belief that West German reparation and indemnification payments, while welcome and needed, could not atone for the Nazi wartime slaughter of 6, 000, 000 European Jews. The former Chancellor had retorted that if the Jewish people rejected German expressions of goodwill, nothing good could result.
The former Premier’s assurance of undiminished support for Israel was made in a comment to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. He also reiterated that he had been “deeply impressed with what I saw here and I will inform everybody I meet of this.”
Declaring he would “try to gather maximum support for Israel and its people,” Dr. Adenauer also told the JTA that he believed Germany had a moral responsibility for Israel’s continued existence. He expressed gratification at the pending completion of talks in Bonn on West German economic aid to Israel, adding he had told “all West German authorities about the political and moral importance of reaching an agreement with Israel.”
PLEASED WITH RESULTS OF VISIT DESPITE STUDENT DEMONSTRATIONS
Obviously pleased with the results of his visit, despite several student demonstrations against his presence in Israel, Dr. Adenauer said he hoped his tour would contribute to further rapprochement between West Germany and Israel. He shook hands repeatedly with Premier Eshkol at the airport and stood for several minutes at the top of the boarding steps waving to a small crowd which had gathered to witness his departure.
Another highlight of his visit was a trip through the sweltering Negev yesterday to visit his “old friend,” former Premier David Ben-Gurion, who had issued the invitation to Dr. Adenauer to visit Israel when both were in power. The Israel Government picked up the invitation so that Dr. Adenauer came as a guest of the Government.
The two elderly statesmen sat side by side in the modest dining hall of the Sde Boker kibbutz for lunch. In an impromptu talk, Mr. Ben-Gurion lauded the former Chancellor as “a great statesman who had the courage to stand up to the majority of his people during the Nazi rule, a man who had the courage to rebuild his country and his people and who had even the greater courage to repair what his people had wrought.”
Dr. Adenauer was still wearing the “Remembrance” badge he had received at a visit to the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the Israeli center for documentation of the Nazi holocaust. He replied with a reference to his admiration “for the Israeli people’s great constructive endeavors.” He said he wished Israel “strength and energy and leaders like Ben-Gurion, who are admired and honored by the entire world.”