Full Citation

  • Title Germans Reassured by Nixon
  • Author Semple, Robert B., Jr.
  • Publication Title International Herald Tribune (European Edition)
  • Collection International Herald Tribune (European Edition)
  • Date Thursday,  Feb. 27, 1969
  • Issue Number 26787
  • Page Number [1]
  • Place of Publication Paris, France
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library The New York Times Company
Germans Reassured By Nixon President to Back Bonn Over Berlin B R . :: l mm pi; ^ . ' v / “*$1 ** ><** Pi # 111 IIP & % m | m? Hi t ISIS' §§ i * j S * -. I 1ill . i till Hi P * mi- , i V j 11 \ §! r0' i:P A : N: h<J it :Sf J m jm I ill p * . » I / ms % r a £ * ' : .. • ^ 1 m A m Pi !iii» HI 1 ' i/:: •• • x* •>:• •• ; : ; mm A v. . * « \ Associated Press. supporters as his limousine drives through Bonn. m GOING GREAT—President Nixon waves to a crdwd of By Robert B. Semple Jr. BONN, Feb. 26 (NYT).—Presi¬ dent Nixon brought his diplomatic caravan to West Germany today and. using every opportunity available to h i m, sought to reassure an admittedly nervous partner of American loyalty and support. Mr. Nixon has bounced from one troubled city to another this week. In Brussels he found worries over the future of the Atlantic Alliance, and in London he found—and delicately sidestepped—a bitter dip¬ lomatic row between Britain and France. But in Bonn, as he had anticipat¬ ed, he was confronted by multiple Insecurities: nervousness over the impact for Germany of direct talks between the United States and Russia, worries about the depth of the new administration’s commit¬ ment to German reunification, and new uncertainties arising from Communist challenges to Bonn’s efforts to hold its presidential election in Berlin next week. On each count, and in a variety of settings, the American leader offered soothing answers and solici¬ tous attitudes. Beginning with an airport speech this morning and ending with a surprise visit to the Bundestag, Mr. Nixon trudged across this small snowswept capital telling public of¬ ficials and private citizens alike that he would consult them before bilateral talks, that he remained committed to reunification, and that—in the immediate crisis—he would support Bonn in whatever course it chose to take in the new contest over Berlin. Berlin Issue Tire Berlin issue arose almost immediately in morning talks with Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger at the German Chancellery. According to both German and American spokesmen, Mr. Nixon declared that he had no intention of intervening in the current dis¬ cussions by West and East German representatives but would stand by West Germany in whatever course it chose to take. The two sides are presently seek¬ ing to defuse perennial tensions over Berlin through a deal that would involve the shift of the West German presidential election away from Berlin in exchange for an East German agreement to ease the movement of West Germans and West Berliners through and in Communist territory. Mr. Nixon further told the chan¬ cellor, officials reported, that he wou'd hew to his schedule and fly to West Berlin tomorrow. He stressed that he was doing so not to arouse hostilities in East Ger¬ many or provoke the Russians but simply to demonstrate American loyalty to West Germany. This was typical of what Mr. Nixon had to say today, and the West Germans were obviously de¬ lighted. German officials spoke afterward of his “sober pragma¬ tism” and were frankly surprised by the president’s grasp of the issues and, in the words of one official who sat in on some of the meetings, “his knowledge of the material.” Listening to German German sources who attended the meetings' reported that the president listened attentively, kept his eyes firmly fastened on Mr. Kiesinger while the chancellor spoke, although Mr. Nixon does not understand German. Mr. Nixon avoided lecturing or posturing, and complimented his hosts on Ger¬ many’s technological talent, its “brains” and its economy. He asked for coffee at one point in the morning discussions and interrupted the diplomatic dialogue to thank the girl profusely. But it was more the substance (Continued on Page 2, Col. 4) I £ 7 If W — / I m Bill m m t I I %< >■ |i§! s * * Is. m 7 p V - / mi ■ ■Bong Q I $ ii: I I WM. jty:, . , . Associated Press. CHANCERY TALKS—President Nixon and West German Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger conferring yesterday in the chancellor’s study at Bonn’s Palais Schaumburg. Nixon Reassures West Germans on Berlin (Continued from Page 1) than the form of what Mr. Nixon conveyed that soothed officials here. The president, for example, made clear his intentions of holding bi¬ lateral negotiations with the Soviet Union at some point in the future but said he would remain solicitous of West German interests, con¬ sulting Bonn before and during the talks. Although reportedly he made no binding commitments, he was said to have told his hosts that he re¬ mained convinced that broad policy questions—e.g., the Middle East—should be taken up in tan¬ dem with bilateral arms-controi talks. He was said to have enter¬ tained favorably the hope express¬ ed by the chancellor and by Foreign Minister Willy Brandt that the subject of improved relations between the two Germanys might be included in any bilateral dis¬ cussions, without, however, com¬ mitting himself to a specific agenda at this time.' Reunification Issue As described by Mr. Nixon’s press secretary, Ron Ziegler, the presi¬ dent clearly acknowledged the im¬ portance of the issue to the Ger¬ mans but emphasized that “no conditions would be placed on bi¬ lateral. arms talks.” But if the president refused to grant outright assurance that he would link reunification to arms talks, he repeatedly expressed his firm commitment to the ideal of reunification itself. In his talk at Cologne Wahn Air¬ port, where he arrived after a 50- minute flight through thick clouds from London, he noted the many changes in German-American re¬ lationships since World War II but said: “One thing that has not changed is our devotion and dedication to the goal that the German people will again be united. One thing that has not changed is our mu¬ tual dedication to the principle of independence and freedom for all of the people of Western Europe. And one thing that has not changed is our devotion to the great alliance of which we are part.” The president adopted a similarly balanced approach to the delicate subject of American troop strength in Europe, displaying obvious sen¬ sitivity to West German hopes for continued protection, while at the same time reminding his hosts of their own responsibilities. According to a witness to the session, Mr. Nixon told Mr. Kiesinger that he did not go along with those who believed that the main purpose of the American forces in Europe was to serve as a “trip wire” for a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Advocates of this view hold that the principal strategic value of the American conventional forces here lies in the expectation that if they are attacked the United States will respond with nuclear force,., In,, this view,/, the ground troops are regarded essen¬ tially as a constant guarantee of a nuclear response to massive Soviet intervention. Mr. Nixon said that, on the con¬ trary, he felt the conventional forces possessed intrinsic value. He asserted that they served not only military but political and diploma¬ tic ends. Accordingly, he indicated he had no plans to reduce the. American complement—which now amounts to about 225,000 troops— but told his hosts: “You must share this burden with us.” In this way, Mr. Nixon sought to induce his hosts to move ahead with the so-called “offset” talks between the two countries. Under an American formula that is the basis for the offset discussions, the West Germans would furnish $900 million in various contribu¬ tions—such as purchases of equip¬ ment—to help offset the dollar outflow from the United States deriving from the costs of main¬ taining 225,000 troops here. West Germany has objected that the figure is too high. Mr. Nixon and Mr. Kiesinger reportedly agreed that the problem could be worked out at the “technical level.” The subject of the nuclear non¬ proliferation treaty apparently oc¬ cupied only a small part in today’s talks, which will resume tomorrow. Some Germans have objected to the treaty, which would ban the spread of nuclear weapons, on the grounds that it would leave them vulnerable to a Soviet attack.