Kohl presses for regular contact between Reagan and Gorbachev
Bonn — West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl says he would be pleased if President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev agree at their meeting in Geneva next month to hold such meetings regularly. Chancellor Kohl hopes that at subsequent sessions, the two leaders could develop a code of international conduct that might serve to increase mutual confidence and thus pave the way for arms control agreements.
The West German Chancellor joined the President and the leaders of several other industrial democracies in New York last week to help Reagan prepare for his first meeting with the Soviet leader.
``Since taking office [three years ago], I have canvassed in Washington as in Moscow for this summit,'' Mr. Kohl told an interviewer before leaving for New York last week.
``We must not, however, hold exaggerated expectations. Much would be achieved if President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev could agree to continue the political dialogue regularly at the highest level.''
The chancellor has tried to avoid doing anything that might hinder such an agreement.
Most important, he approved participation of West German industry in Reagan's space-based defense research project, the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, or ``star wars'').
But Kohl emphasized that this does not mean that he would automatically support actual development or deployment of such systems in space. He says he hopes that some East-West agreement will make SDI unnecessary before the development and deployment stages are reached.
Kohl says he thinks his views deserve special consideration by the White House, since his government agreed to deployment of American Pershing II missiles in 1983, despite bitter opposition and demonstrations by radical opposition groups.
In a private meeting with President Reagan on Friday, Kohl went into more detail on the SDI issue. He is under pressure from West German industry to negotiate a memorandum of understanding that would assure West German subcontractors data exchange with the US contractors.
On the other hand, Kohl's is the only government that has suggested such a memorandum, and some others, such as France, have rejected the idea.
Kohl does not want West Germany to become what he calls ``singularized'' in the SDI matter. Unless he finds at least one other government that will sign such a memorandum of understanding, he probably will drop the idea.
The opposition Social Democratic and Greens parties oppose the proposed memorandum of understanding on the grounds that it would be a first step toward participation in SDI by the West German government.