West German Foreign Minister HansDietrich Genscher advocates a firm but predictable Western policy toward the Soviet Union -- and he thinks the West is on its way to shaping such a policy.
In an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, Mr. Genscher avoided saying that alliance consultation has "improved" now, following earlier US-European frictions that had alarmed the West German Foreign Ministry. His expression of "absolute satisfaction" with US-West German consultations just prior to and after his and Chancellor Helmut Schmidt's June 30-July 1 visit to Moscow implies some relief at this evident improvement, however.
"I came to the conclusion that the United States had the same assessment of the trip that we had," Genscher said of his talks in Washington immediately following his Moscow talks. Both the US and West-Germany are reviewing the West German-Soviet talks "constructively" and in an "unbiased" way.
American diplomatic sources confirm Genscher's estimate of the positive American reaction to Schmidt and Genscher's Moscow trip and the new Soviet willingness to enter negotiations on long-range theater nuclear forces (TNF). The earlier American suspicion that the opening of negotiations might weaken NATO resolve to redress Europe's nuclear imbalance is not now in evidence, the sources say, and the US and Europe are both "moving rather smartly" to formulate a common negotiating position.
Gensher predicted no timetable for formulating a common Western position on TNF arms control. He stressed importance of "quality" over "speed," however. He also suggested that part of the process should involve presentation of a more detailed Soviet response to the original Western offer to negotiate.
More broadly, Genscher emphasized the need for the West to define clear, long-term objectives and pursue them steadily and predictably, without "zigzags."
On US-European relations Genscher declared himself an "optimist." Both the US and Western Europe are well aware not only of their fundamental shared political and moral values, but also of being "in one and the same boat" on security matters.
Mr. Genscher refuted any suggestion that West Germany is weakening in its policies toward the Soviet Union -- and he doubted that Moscow could have any illusions on that score. He cited West Germany's actual boycott of the Olympics (and not just "governmental lip service" to a boycott). He mentioned the key role of West Germany in NATO's decision of last December to maintain the European military balance by adding new nuclear weapons, while trying to negotiate as low a balance as possible.
He pointed out that West Germany makes the largest contribution to NATO of any European country -- and is helping to stabilize a number of key nations with economic and technical aid, including NATO member Turkey, and many African, Asian, and Arab states. It is also strengthening democracy in Europe by helping to bring Greece, Portugal, and Spain into fuller European partnership.
In all of these things "we have a very clear position, and it's not between the Soviet Union and the United States, but a common position with the United States," Genscher emphasized.