France, Germany Ponder Decision
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France, Germany Ponder Decision

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A thicket of complications developed in Paris and Bonn today over the possible extradition of Abu Daoud, the Palestinian terrorist believed responsible for the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre, who was arrested by French authorities Friday. A formal extradition request is expected very shortly from Israel where legal authorities are formulating the charges and evidence for extradition proceedings.

The West German government is not expected to decide until Wednesday whether or not it wants Daoud. Arab and pro-Palestinian pressures are building up in both capitals against extradition. France clearly would prefer to turn Daoud over to the West Germans but wants to avoid a serious set-back to its improving relations with Israel. Arab diplomats in Paris have made it clear, however, that while extradition to West Germany would strain Franco-Arab relations, extradition to Israel would precipitate a crisis.

Because of the German federal system, a decision to request Daoud’s extradition will depend on whether the Bavarian state government which has jurisdiction over Munich wishes to take such a step. The Bavarian Cabinet meets to discuss the matter tomorrow. A Bavarian application for extradition probably would be taken up at Wednesday’s meeting of the federal Cabinet in Bonn. German government sources confirmed meanwhile that they have been in contact with the Israeli Embassy “by telephone” concerning the Daoud case. But they declined to give any details.

According to observers in Bonn, the delivery of Daoud to West Germany for trial would create serious security and political problems. West German anarchist groups have been active recently and could cause trouble. Bonn is also anxious not to antagonize the Arabs at a time when it is attempting to lead a new initiative by the European Common Market for Middle East peace negotiations.


Also of significance is the fact that Libya which has protested Daoud’s arrest, is West Germany’s largest supplier of oil. On the other hand, should the government fall to demand Daoud’s extradition it would be open to attack from the opposition Christian Socialist Party (CSU) which controls the Bavarian government and takes a tough stand on law and order. Bonn must consider as well Israel’s reaction to a West German decision not to ask for Daoud’s extradition, even though Israel clearly wants the terrorist for trial in its own courts.

Meanwhile, an official of the Bonn Ministry of Justice disclosed today that no state or federal warrant existed for Daoud’s arrest prior to last weekend because there was “not enough evidence” of Daoud’s involvement in the Munich massacre. The spokesman could not say on what new evidence the Bavarian arrest order was issued.

There appeared to be similar confusion in Paris. An authoritative French source said tonight that the international detention warrant issued by the Bavarian police for Daoud was received in Paris only on Saturday morning, some 12 hours after the terrorist was apprehended by the DST, the French counter espionage agency. Interior Minister Michel Poniatovsky and other members of the government apparently were not consulted or even informed of Daoud’s arrest until much later. Poniatovsky himself reportedly learned of it while spending the weekend at his country home.


The Israeli Embassy in Paris has asked French authorities to hold Daoud in preventive detention while an official extradition request is prepared. The Franco-Israeli extradition treaty of 1958, which the two governments ratified in 1971, provides a 60-day deadline for an extradition request. Israel’s request is expected long before the expiration of the deadline.

On the basis of the German arrest warrant, Daoud may be held for 20 days and then must be released if no extradition request has been filed. French officials are clearly hoping for such circumstances which would enable them to expel Daoud and wash their hands of the matter. However, the officials say that they will consider extradition requests when they arrive and leave it to the judicial authorities to rule on the basis of the submitted evidence. Meanwhile, Arab ambassadors and leftist leaders in France are clamoring for Daoud’s “immediate release.” Political circles say privately that it was highly unlikely that Daoud would be extradited to Israel because of the repercussions in the Arab world.

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