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Franco-german Rift over Ecc Mideast Document

A serious difference of opinion over European joint policy in the Middle East and especially Israel, has developed between Paris and Bonn. The rift, which according to informed circles has been brewing for some time, emerged with the recent visit to Israel of West German Foreign Minister, Walter Scheel. French circles here consider that Herr Scheel’s declarations, as reported by the Israeli press, are in flagrant contradiction with both the spirit and the letter of the joint “working document” agreed on last May 14 by the six member nations of the European Common Market. The West German Ambassador in Paris has met three times with French Foreign Minister Maurice Schumann to try to explain that “there is no contradiction between what Dr. Scheel really said and the joint stand of the Six.”

For the French, the issue is of the utmost importance not because of the subject at stake but, because it is the first document of joint foreign policy elaborated by the six European partners. Disgarding its spirit would be tantamount to renouncing all hope for a joint European foreign policy, France believes. French political circles are further exasperated by German press comments. “Die Welt” writes that the declaration of the Six “is a direct appeal for Israel’s capitulation as desired by Moscow and Paris.” The “Frankfurter Rundschau” claimed that “It would have been better if the Six would have chosen some other subject than Israel for their first joint working paper.”

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