BONN (Nov. 13)
Wide criticism by some Germans and by many others abroad of the Christian Democratic Party’s nomination of ex-Nazi Kurt Georg Kiesinger as the Federal Republic’s chancellor, to succeed Ludwig Erhard, did not prevent Mr. Kiesinger today from efforts to line up a parliamentary majority that would insure his election to the Chancellorship. Mr. Kiesinger, 62, Minister-President of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, was nominated by the Christian Democratic members of the Bundestag, lower house of West Germany’s parliament, by a vote of 161-137 against the candidacy of Foreign Minister Gerhard Schroeder.
Mr. Kiesinger’s principal opponent for the chancellorship as of today was West Berlin’s Social Democratic governing mayor, Willy Brandt. The Social Democrats, avoiding thus far to mention Mr. Kiesinger’s admitted membership in the Nazi Party, were basing their opposition so far on purely parliamentary grounds, hoping to obtain in the Bundestag a “constructive no confidence” vote against Chancellor Erhard, which would also name Mr. Brandt as the Erhard successor.
Mr. Kiesinger proceeded today, as head of a 14-man Christian Democratic negotiating committee, to seek an alliance with one or another — or both — of the two parties he hoped to line up as participants in a new coalition government which he would try to form. The parties are the Social Democrats and the Free Democrats.
(In Washington, State Department officials replied with a curt “no comment” when asked about the Kiesinger nomination for the West German Chancellorship. Secretary of State Dean Rusk has directed members of his department to avoid commenting on the German political developments, lest the U.S.A. be accused of involving itself in domestic German affairs.)
SAYS HE WAS AGAINST ANTI-JEWISH ACTIONS BY NAZI REGIME
Meanwhile, Mr. Kiesinger clarified some of his previous statements about his Nazi Party membership. Having said earlier that he had joined the party in 1933 but that he had gone into the “opposition” a year later, he has said now that he did not resign from the party but that he had worked, while a low-level scientific advisor in the Hitler Foreign Ministry, against anti-Jewish actions by the Nazi regime. He characterized foreign reports about his Nazi participation as “lying and insolent rumors.”
Most German newspapers so far have accepted the Kiesinger nomination on its face value, and several printed reports purporting to back up Mr. Kiesinger’s claims that Allied denazification authorities had “cleared” him of Nazism after he had been imprisoned for a year following the end of World War II.
Der Spiegel, a popular weekly, printed a report made purportedly by a German Lieutenant Colonel in 1944, stating that Mr. Kiesinger had made at least seven distinct moves to block anti-Jewish actions during the Nazi regime. Der Spiegel said it had obtained the report made by the German army officer from the National Archives in Washington about 18 months ago.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine also printed long extracts from the 1944 report. Die Welt, of Hamburg, said: “Twenty-one years after the war, there are limits that nobody can pass without getting into controversy with the German people,” and pointed to Mr. Kiesinger’s “long services with the Federal Republic.”