Benda Hits Berlin Senate for Plea to Allied Commanders to Outlaw Neo-nazi Party

Dr. Ernst Benda, West German Minister of Interior, today publicly criticized the West Berlin Senate (city government) for asking the post-war occupying powers to consider banning the reputedly neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD) from establishing a branch in that city. Dr. Benda said Berlin should not have taken an “isolated” step on a matter of this kind. But he promised that in the near future he would ask the Federal Government to decide on outlawing the NPD.

The Berlin request was contained in a letter from Mayor Karl Schutz to the commandants of the three occupying powers – United States, Britain and France. In caused consternation in Government circles which maintain that any action on the status of the extreme right-wing party should be uniform. While the Allied powers could declare the NPD illegal, the Federal Government must argue the case before the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe and a negative ruling would, in that case, cause the Government extreme embarrassment.

(The Christian Science Monitor reported from Bonn today that the West German Ministry of Interior had failed to find grounds under Article 21 of the Federal Constitution to ban the National Democratic Party. Article 21 declares unconstitutional any party that seeks to impair democracy and threatens the existence of the state.)

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