Full Citation

  • Title West Europe Hails Opening but Warns on Rapid Changes
  • Author Rule, Sheila
  • Publication Title International Herald Tribune (European Edition)
  • Collection International Herald Tribune (European Edition)
  • Date Saturday-Sunday,  November 11-12, 1989
  • Issue Number 33193
  • Page Number 3
  • Place of Publication Paris, France
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library The New York Times Company
Vest Europe Hails Opening but Warns On Rapid Changes By Sheila Rule LONDON — Countries in Western Europe were almost uni- versally ecstatic on Friday in wel- Wall, but many struck a cautionary note about the possible effect of rapid changes in East Germany on the postwar European order. Government leaders, newspa- pers and political commentators applauded the end of restrictions „ emigration and travel to the West and said that the step marked the beginning of the end of a divid- ed Europe. New York Times Service coining the opening of the Berlin m .. But some Western analysts said politicians from both Western Eu¬ rope and the Soviet Union had made it clear that they did not want the current alliance structure to fall apart before a new stable political and military order had been estab- lished. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain hailed opening of the Berlin Wall as “a great day for freedom, a great day for liberty” and praised the Soviet leader, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, for helping to achieve it. She said she hoped to speak by telephone to Chancellor Helmut Kohl of West Germany Friday, “as we do from time to time about great matters.” Mrs. Thatcher, speaking outside her Downing Street residence said, “None of this would have hap¬ pened without the vision and cour¬ age of Mr. Gorbachev, who started to enlarge liberty in the Soviet Union.” But when questioned about the possibility of East Germany’s re¬ unification with the West, Mrs. Thatcher said: “You are going much too fast. You have to take these things step by step. The first thing is to get a genuine multiparty democracy in East Germany. And I hope that movement will spread to the rest of Eastern Europe.” Prime Minister Michel Rocard of France said the opening of the East German frontier was “a total¬ ly gigantic event” and a “harbinger of peace.” Asked by French television whether he agreed with those among the French who feared the return of a powerful Germany, Mr. Rocard said, “If the wall falls, one will no longer make war.” “As long as there is internal struggle in Germany,” Mr. Rocard said, “there can be no security in Europe.” But former President Val6ry Gis- card d’Estaing, also speaking on French television, said the reunifi- cation of East and West Germany would pose a whole series of new problems for European countries. He said he would prefer to see East Germany welcomed in by a feder- ated Europe rather than by West Germany alone. “Our institutions were set up 45 years ago on the basis of the sepa- i : § III iiii I f ; ! I ^ East Ge Agence France-Presse •man woman after crossing into West Berlin. ration of the two Germanys,” the former president said, referring to European institutions. “France’s own close relationship with West Germany was based on equality.” The secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organiza- tion, Manfred Womer, said that the opening of the wall meant that the promise of ending a divided Europe “has never been brigh and that he looked forward to a “process of peaceful, evolutionary change consistent with the over- whelming desires of people throughout Europe and indeed the world.” ter” “Beyond its fundamental sym¬ bolism,” Mr. Womer said in a statement, “we see this event as part of an inevitable process which must lead to further reform, free elections and full self-determina¬ tion by the population” of East Germany. Throughout Western Europe, the opening of the Berlin Wall was the stuff of extended television bul¬ letins, banner headlines and edito¬ rials. The Spanish government issued a statement that said the events in East Germany opened “a gateway of hope to the democratic and peaceful development of Europe.” When asked how Spain viewed the possibility of the dismantling of the North Atlantic Treaty Organi¬ zation and the Warsaw Pact, a gov¬ ernment spokesman said, “We would be in favor of a total disman¬ tling, of course, but the government is aware that this is a long-term matter.” Another note of caution was voiced by the Italian foreign minis¬ ter, Gianni de Michelis. In an arti¬ cle in the Magyar Hirlap political daily in Budapest, where he was attending a meeting of foreign min¬ isters from Austria, Hungary, Italy and Yugoslavia aimed at develop¬ ing cooperating in Central Europe, Mr. de Michelis said Europe was “gradually seceding from the order forced upon it after World War II.” “Today we are faced with a dif¬ ferent kind of risk,” Mr. de Miche¬ lis said, “arising not from mono¬ lithic, inveterate habits but from the disintegration of the Eastern bloc.” ■ Reaction in Far East A Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Taizo Watanabe, said Friday that “the Berlin Wall has in substance been lifted, and it has great historical significance,” The Associated Press reported from To- ky°- In South Korea, a spokesman for the governing Democratic Justice Party, Park Hui Tae, used the occa- sion to prod North Korea, “On the occasion of East Germa- ny’s border opening,” he said, “North Korea is urged once again to make active efforts to conduct open up its doors in keeping pace with the tides of the time.” exchanges with South Korea and