BONN (May. 22)
West Germany and the Soviet Union expressed concern today over continuing dangerous tensions in the Middle East and pledged to support all efforts toward achieving a just and lasting peace within the framework of the Security Council’s Resolution 242. The statement was contained in a joint communique issued at the close of talks here between Chancellor-Willy Brandt and Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev.
The Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, quashed rumors that Brandt had postponed his visit to Israel, scheduled for next month, until sometime next fall. The rumors were attributed to a misunderstanding stemming from remarks by the West German Foreign Minister Walter Scheel at a press conference today in Cairo. Scheel was reported to have said that the Chancellor’s visit to Israel was expected “to take place some time this year, possibly in the autumn.” Newsmen were puzzled as the dates of Brandt’s visit were announced some time ago. The Foreign Ministry confirmed that the trip would take place June 7-11.
At his Cairo news conference, Scheel said he wanted to “repeat that there are no special relations between West Germany and Israel.” He said that “West Germany has good relations of a special character” with Israel and also good relations with the Arab states. He said Israel was not trying to influence West Germany and that West Germany would not permit anyone to exert influence.
Observers here said that Scheel appeared to be varying the formula on Bonn’s relations with Israel. They noted that several months ago the Foreign Ministry spoke of a “special relationship” between Germany and Israel but now refers to “good relations of a special character.” They said, however, that both sides seemed to prefer the latter formulation.