WEST BERLIN (Oct. 3)
A dispute has developed between the Social Democratic-controlled government of West Berlin and West Germany’s dominant political party, the Christian Democratic Union, over demands by the Social Democrats that the extreme right-wing National Democratic Party be banned from this city. The demand was made to the three post-war occupying powers – United States, Britain, France – by West Berlin’s Mayor Klaus Schutz on grounds that the NPD is undemocratic. It was opposed by the Berlin branch of Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger’s CDU which insisted that such a move should be taken only if an investigation of the NPD by the West German Interior Ministry bore out the charges.
The dispute arose as NPD chairman Adolf von Thadden announced yesterday that his party has cancelled all public mass rallies “until the rule of law has been re-established in West Germany.” His announcement came in the aftermath of the NPD’s first public meeting in Bonn Monday night which was broken up by more than 1,000 demonstrators throwing chairs and tear-gas grenades. Mr. von Thadden’s attempt to speak was drowned out with roars of “Sieg Heil” and “Nazis out of this town.” The NPD presidium blamed “Socialists and labor unions” for the disruption and charged that the parliamentary parties were using “Communist and Nazi methods” against the NPD.
Dr. Eugene Gerstenmaier, president of the Bundestag, West Germany’s lower house, said today that he did not think the NPD should be banned in West Berlin. He said he favored uniform treatment for the reputedly neo-Nazi party in Berlin and throughout West Germany, meaning that if the party was found to be undemocratic it should be banned throughout the country, not only in West Berlin.
Political observers said the NPD’s decision to halt public rallies would be a serious blow to its campaign for seats in the Bundestag in next year’s national elections. The NPD now holds seats in seven of West Germany’s 11 state legislatures and its rising political strength has been a cause of concern in Germany and abroad. The party suffered an electoral setback last week when it polled only 5.2 percent of the vote in municipal and county elections in Lower Saxony. A year ago it won seven percent of the vote in Lower Saxony’s state elections.