W. German 'no' to Olympics

The fencers, bobsledders, and West German government won out over the boxers, weight lifters, and Soviet propaganda.West Germany will not be sending a team to the Moscow Olympics this summer, the extraordinary membership meeting of its National Olympic committee decided in a May 15 vote.

The West German decision -- which follows the nonbinding but weighty recommendation of the West German government and parliament -- comes too late to influence either British or French sportsmen, who have already voted to participate in the Moscow Olympics this summer. Danish, finnish, Swedish, Greek , and Swiss athletes have already decided to go to Moscow, too.

But the West German decision is considered likely to tip the balance against Olympic participation by Sportsmen in Still-undecided European countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy. Norway, Liechtenstein, and Monaco have already voted for the boycott.

Even though it is the first major West European nation to endorse the boycott , West Germany made its decision too late to win Bonn any good marks in Washington. Ever since the Carter administration sprang an American boycott on Western Europe without warning early this year, it has wanted its allies to support the boycott emphatically and early.

Some West German officials regret Bonn's failure to seize this opportunity to show demonstrative solidarity with the United States -- especially since, in the words of one diplomat, "It was clear [from the beginning] that if no American team would go to the Olympics, then the German government would recommended a 'no' to Germany, too. There never was a time when there was any doubt."

But he added: "This was announced so late, we didn't get any credit for it." It was a very poor job of public relations, he thought.

In expressing the view that finally prevailed, German Sports Association president Willi Weyer stressed that it was up to the Soviet host to create the (peaceful) conditions for Olympic games. The Soviet Union failed to do this in its continued military occupation of Afghanistan.

The decision taken by the West German National Olympics Committee (NOC) is a blow to Moscow. STrenuous Soviet efforts to avert a West German boycott have included a surprise visit to West Germany by a top East German sports official and, apparently, some anti-West German polemics in the Soviet press.

In his sudden visit two days before the West German NOC vote, the president of the East German Gymnasts and Sports Association let it be known that the number of joint East-West German sports meets might drop in case of a boycott.

More dangerously, the day before the West German NOC meeting the Moscow Literary Gazette charged that Bonn was seeking military dominance in Western Europe. It threatened West Germany with "an unavoidable counterblow" in case West Germany allows NATO to deploy middle-range missiles on its soil.

Such a charge first came out of the blue two weeks ago just prior to the West German NOC Executive Committee meeting that recommended a boycott. At the time Soviet officials denied that the grave accusations made by the Soviet news agency Tass were anything more than journalistic speculation and pointed out that they had not been printed inside the Soviet Union. The Literary Gazette blast is also deniable in coming from journalists rather than government officials -- but the charges have now been published for a Soviet audience to read.

As unrelated as the Olympics and NATO middle-range rockets might appear, the Kremlin still regards them as indivisible measures of other countries' friendliness or hostility toward the Soviet Union, Western analysts say. They see the timing of the charges as dictated by the West German decision on the Olympics.

West German government spokesman Klaus Bolling has rejected the charges as "a regrettable piece of senseless polemics."

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to W. German 'no' to Olympics
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today