The West German parliament began a three-day debate in Bonn on Wednesday on the disputed treaties with the Soviet Union and Poland.
The West German parliament began a three-day debate in Bonn on Wednesday on the disputed treaties with the Soviet Union and Poland. The coats, on the first reading of the bills to ratify the treaties, represents stern challenge to Chancellor Willy Brandy, whose Socialist-Liberal coalition has a fragile majority of only aux votes.
Government and opposition parties have mobilised their full forces for the debate, and for Friday's vote, the first test of parliamentary feeling an the issue.
The debate was opened by Herr Brandt with a brief report on the "state of the nation". He defended his policy of reconciliation with the Communist countries of Eastern Europe as being based on "the realities of today and the opportunities of tomorrow", and denied opposition charges that the two treaties would finish all chances of reunifying Germany.
The opposition case was put by Dr. Rainer Barzel, leader of the Christian Democrats. He said the treaties, under which West Germany is pledged to accept all present borders in Europe as inviolable, would not make peace safer in Europe, because they provided no solution to the problem of divided Germany.
SYNOPSIS: The three-day debate, ending with a first vote on Friday, is a crucial test for Chancellor Willy Brandy, and for his coalition Government, which has a majority of only six. Herr Brandy opened the debate with a brief state-of-the-nation report. In it he defended his controversial policy towards Eastern Europe. He said it was based on the realities of today and the opportunities of tomorrow. Herr Brandt also countered accusations that the treaties, by committing West Germany to recognising present boundaries a permanent, would stop any chance of bringing the two Germanies together. He said the German nation remained a reality which neither regime could deny or disregard.
The opposition case was presented by Dr. Rainer Barzel, leader of the Christian Democrat Party, and a contends for the Chancellorship.
Dr. Barzel described the treaties with the Soviet Union and Poland as incomplete, unbalanced and ambiguous. He said the treaties would not make peace more secure in Europe, because they provided no solution to the problem of divided Germany, the basic cause of tension. He argued that a real and solid policy for peace must open frontiers, not cement them. Borders should be opened to the free exchange of people, information and opinions. Only in these conditions could peace, rather then war, have the change to endure.