West German Embassy Acknowledges Receipt of Jewish Protest Letters

The West German Embassy disclosed today that it is receiving “quite a number” of letters from Americans expressing “concern and sadness” over West Germany’s ban on shipment of war materials to Israel from United States bases in Germany shortly after the Yom Kippur war started.

An Embassy spokesman said Ambassador Baron Berndt von Staden was responding to such protests by replying that West Germany’s “nonpartisan” policy must not be understood as one of “indifference” and that the West German position was determined primarily by its interest in a speedy Mideast peace which can be accepted and recognized as just “by all nations” in the region.

He also is telling letter writers that the ban on arms transfers to Israel came after the United Nations Security Council Oct. 22 cease-fire and applied to loading of Israeli ships in German ports, An aide to the envoy told the JTA that “our government did not say a word” about shipments prior to Oct. 22.

Meanwhile, letters continued to arrive also at the Netherlands, Denmark and Portugal Embassies expressing gratitude to those governments for supporting Israel. A senior official at the Dutch Embassy told JTA that much of the “considerable amount” of mail coming to the Embassy was “very touching.” Spokesmen at the three Embassies said the mail was coming almost entirely from individuals including some rabbis, and represented all parts of the United States.

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