Finger pointing breaks out in W. Germany
The polemics over West Germany's Ostpolitik continued Wednesday as conservatives and Social Democrats traded jabs in the Bundestag. The dispute was robbed of much of its force, however, by the clear East German intention to continue negotiations with the conservative Bonn government despite party and state chief Erich Honecker's postponement of his planned visit later this month.
Much of the argument was therefore reduced to charges that the other side had abandoned the common Ostpolitik agreed on by all major parties last February.
Thus, conservative Chancellor Helmut Kohl repeated his accusation that the opposition Social Democrats have left the bipartisan consensus on policy with East Germany and other Soviet-bloc states. And Social Democratic chairman Willy Brandt retorted that ''either he (Kohl) made a mistake, or else he himself is breaking commonality.''
Mr. Brandt apportioned to the Kohl government part of the blame for Mr. Honecker's reneging. Some politicians in the government, he asserted, don't want to acknowledge how much German-German relations are dependent on overall East-West relations.
In line with this view the Social Democratic Party is urging both Bonn and Washington to be more forthcoming toward the Soviet Union. The party's executive committee this week appealed for a stop to deployment of nuclear missiles and encouraged Social Democrats to join this fall's demonstrations against NATO maneuvers.
Dr. Kohl dismissed the reaction of the Social Democrats earlier this week by calling them Moscow's ''useful idiots.'' On the floor of the Bundestag the chancellor further contrasted the East German and Social Democratic reaction by pointedly saying he was sure the Bonn government's goal of building confidence in Europe ''is understood not least by our fellow (Germans) in the GDR'' (the (East) German Democratic Republic).
Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher further counseled the Bundestag to remain calm and noted that the responsibility of both German states for peace in Europe remains untouched by the postponement of Honecker's visit.
Privately, deputy conservative parliamentary spokesman Volker Ruhe termed the postponement of the Honecker visit ''a setback - but not a dramatic one.'' He acknowledged the limits imposed by the Soviet veto on the trip but added, ''It's just one instrument they (the East Germans) do not want to use at the moment. What the GDR does not want to see is a basic change of policy toward the Federal Republic (West Germany).''
Mr. Ruhe anticipated forthcoming East-West German agreement in environmental, cultural, or other fields and commented that these would be ''very important for the two sides to show that such agreements can be reached without a summit meeting.''