Publication: The Times

Full Citation

  • Title German Republic Inaugurated
  • Author From Our Own Correspondent
  • Publication Title The Times
  • Collection The Times Digital Archive, 1785-2008
  • Date Thursday,  Sept. 8, 1949
  • Issue Number 51481
  • Page Number 4
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library Times Newspapers Limited
  • Copyright Statement © Times Newspapers Limited.
GERMAN REPUBLIC INAUGURATED OPENIG OF NEW PARLIAMENT SPEAKERS ELECTED I From Our Own Correspondent BONN, SEPT. 7 With digrDity and a sense of heavy responsibility and of high destiny the Federal Republic of Germany took structural shape to-day with the constitution of the two Chambers of the new Parliament. The Bundesrat, or Upper House, was opened in the morning, and the Bundestag, or Lower House, in the afternoon. The day was replete with memories of the Weimar Republic, for in the present Parliament, opening under the happier auspices of a benevolent occupation, are many who served in the Weimar Reichstag. There are also many gaps. It was fitting that Herr Lobe, who himself suffered in a concentration camp, summoned the Bundestag at its first meeting to stand in silence in memory of the dead. The representatives of the occupving Powers, to whose wisdom, counsel, and-now and then-driving force the Federal Republic is not a little indebted for its existence, remained discreetly in the background. They occupied no special seats, they made no addresses; they were content to watch the new Parliament get to work. No time has in fact been lost in getting to work. This evening the Social Democratic group, in the role of a constructive Opposition, handed in three resolutions for debate, one dealing with dismantling, a second with the seat of the Federal Parliament, and the third with Berin. The Communists have also handed in a motion on dismantling. DRAPED WITH FLAGS For the opening in the mnorning of the Bundesrat the Chamber was bright v;;ith white chrysanthemums, and the Wall behind the Speaker's chair was draped with the flaps of the Liinder. The Federal black, red, gold appeared as the unif.'ing symbolic centre-piece. The Bag of Berlin was among them and, sitting alone at his desk, was Professor Ernst Reuter, the chief burgomaster, as the sole member of the twelfth Laind " without voting rights in the Bundesrat. Tlhe Chamber filled rapidly. The one woman a nember wis Frau Teusch, Minister of Culture in North Rhine-Westphalia. On one side were the renrcsentatives of the occupying Powers, headed by the three High Commissioners-General Sir Brian Robertson, Mr. John McCloy, and M. Francois-Poncet. The last to take his seat was General Robertson, and the coming disappearance of Military Government was emphasized by his appearing in morning dress. In a corner of the Chamber sat the Archbishop of Cologne (Cardinal 'Frings), the Papal visitor (Dr. M6nch) and other dignitaries of the Church. The sitting opened with the playing of the first and second movementS of Mozart's IHaffner" SymPhony. Then FHerr Bull, a former senator of Hamburg. and the oldest member of the Assembly, opened the formal proceedings. With much dignity he referred to the importance of the occasion, and swiftly passed to the election of the Speaker. There were two nominations-Herr Arnold. the Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Dr. Ehard, the Minister-President of Bavaria. Herr Arnold received 37 of the 42 votes, the five Bavarian members abstaining. FOREIGN RELATIONS Herr Arnold was warmly cheered as he walked to the Speaker's chair. He is held .n high esteem. In a passage which attracted much attention he spoke of relations with other countries. A Tightly led and democratically regulated people, lie said,. did not allow its foreign relations to become an object of party politics' How much better things might be to-day if this maxim had been followed in ihe Weimar Republic. " It implies."7 he added, that the question of foreign relations shall be discussed trustfully between the Governnient and the Opposition. There were several questions which must not be allowed to become matters of domestic political quarrels. There was the Ruhr, which was a question of economic life and death, and there were all the questions connected with the Just and humane settlement of the claims of those who had been driven from their homes in the east. The future would call for both self-control and caution. When the gathering dispersed to the lobbies, Herr Arnold received many congratulations on being the first German to be vested with federal authority. As deputies he will have Herr Kopf, the Minister-President of Lower Saxony, and Dr. Muller. Minister-President of Rottenberg liohenzollern, the one a Social Democrat, the other a Cbristian Democrat. DIFFERENT TEMPER The proceedings in the Chamber of the Bundestag were of a different temper and more dramatic quality. Herr Lobe was cheered as he walked slowly to the tribune to preside, aS the oldest of the members, and again in the course of his address. As the last Speaker of the Weimar Reichstag it was natural that he should look to the past as well as to the future, but when he referred to the mnembers of the former Reichstag Herr Max Reimann, the leader of the shrunken Commnunist Party, shouted: -How many of the nrernbers of the present House voted for giving Hlitler power ? There was another interruption, this time from the Right, when Herr l.obe asked members to pay their tribute to the Reiclistag deputies who died under the Nazis. Before ending his speech Herr LUbe paid a warmn tribuTe to the western Pos'ers for the way they had supported Berlin in its fight for freedom. In the absence of a Social Democratic nomination the voting for a Speaker was a foregone conclusion. Dr. Kohler, of the Christian Democratic Union, who was chairman of the now defunct Economic Councll of Frankfurt, was elected by 346 votes. Professor Carlo Schmidt, a Social Democrat, was chosen unanimously as the first deputy to the Speaker and Dr. SchNfer, of the Free Democratic Party, was elected as second deputy. Dr. Kohler spoke of the duties resting on the mnembers of the House. The Republic. he said in one of the most applauded passages of his speech, was unshakably bound to the 20m. Germans in the eastern zone. Sooner or later they must come to a Parliament for all Germany. "To serve peace," Dr. Kohler ended. "is the deepest longing of our people. There lies the source of the strengtb of the new State."