West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who was reported to have been critical of U.S. President?
CU West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt answering questions put by interviewer Ludovic Kennedy
KENNEDY: "You were said before the conference to be somewhat annoyed with President Carter wanting to limit exports of materials for nuclear energy. But a communique says the summit believes in the need to increase nuclear energy because of oil running out. So is that a climb-down on the president's part, in your view?"
SCHMIDT: "Not this, because President Carter has always said that one does need additional nuclear reactors in order to become a little bit more independent from oil, especially from imported oil. He has been fully consistent with his former policies here. And I have the feeling that any of us has learned something, at least has understood some additional aspects of the points of view of the positions of interest of the others. It was quite clear that, for instance, the interests of Japan, Germany and Italy are relatively close together in one category. On the other hand you have the suppliers of uranium, like the United States, and Canada -- they are rather close, but not exactly on the same position. Then you have France, you have Britain ... I think all of us have learned quite a lot of this discussion and we have agreed to carry on this kind of discussion."
KENNEDY: "In other words, there's been a kind of compromise on this issue?"
SCHMIDT: "It's been a compromise on the question how do we proceed from here to where?"
KENNEDY: "Well, now, you were also reported as disagreeing with Mr. Carter's public insistence on human rights in the Soviet Union, which was something that aggravated the Soviet leaders. Did you have a word with him on this?"
SCHMIDT: "Not me alone, but we discussed it among the seven. I don't think there is any criticism in any other western country about the principle on which President Carter was proceeding. I think there is a unified philosophical and moral position on human rights, civil rights -- in our German language it would be called basic rights of a human being."
KENNEDY: "But was it a mistake, Chancellor, for him to have been so publicly insistent about it?"
SCHMIDT: "No, I would not feel that. One might argue, and the Russians have done so, whether the methods used in doing so were the only possible one. But I have the feeling that as regards the methods we have come much closer to each other in the last couple of weeks already, let us say in the last four or six weeks, and this only was confirmed at this meeting here."
REPORTER: LUDOVIC KENNEDY
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Background: West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who was reported to have been critical of U.S. President Jimmy Carter's public insistence on human rights in the Soviet Union, now seems to be showing some support for Mr. Carter's stand. He spoke about the human rights issue in an interview in London on Monday (9 May), on the eve of the 15-nation NATO summit meeting. Herr Schmidt was talking to the BBC's Ludovic Kennedy, following the recent seven nation economic summit in London. He also commented on President Carter's controversial call for a limit on exports of nuclear energy materials.
President Carter recently barred U.S. production of plutonium as a fuel for nuclear power reactors, but he announced (20 April) that he was re-opening the order books for uranium enrichment services overseas. He said he would propose legislation to guarantee the sale of enrichment services to any country which agreed to comply with U.S. requirements aimed at banning the spread of nuclear fuel capable of use in warheads. He barred plutonium processing in the United States because it can be used for the production of weapons as well as electricity.