Chancellor Helmut Schmidt's sudden need for a heart pacemaker has temporarily sidelined him at a critical moment when he had hoped to bring his influence to bear on two key international issues, Monitor contributor Wellington Long reports.
Since physicians have advised Mr. Schmidt not to travel overseas in the near future, he will be unable to take part in next week's 25-nation North-South summit meeting in Cancun, Mexico -- a get-together initiated by Willy Brandt, national chairman of Schmidt's Social Democratic Party.
Mr. Schmidt therefore must also cancel plans to confer with Ronald Reagan on the way back from Cancun -- eliminating his last chance to confer with President Reagan before Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev visits Bonn in November. This is an important setback to Schmidt, who has been fighting off the growing West German peace movement by claiming he and his government are primarily responsible for the decision of the Americans and Soviets to begin talks about medium-range nuclear missiles and are ensuring that Germany's interests are taken into account.
The peace movement drew 250,000 men and women to Bonn Oct. 10 for the largest political rally in the republic's history. It was aimed against NATO's decision to add America medium-range nuclear missiles to its armory in Europe from the end of 1983 unless the Russians have scrapped some of their own medium-range nuclear missiles threatening Western Europe by then.