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U.S., West Germany Reach Accord on Terms for 'Star Wars' Research

March 20, 1986|WILLIAM TUOHY | Times Staff Writer

BONN — The United States and West Germany have finally agreed on the conditions governing West German participation in research on President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, Chancellor Helmut Kohl announced Wednesday.

In a press conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger at the U.S. military base at Grafenwoehr in Bavaria, Kohl said the "basic problems have been cleared away."

He reported that Economics Minister Martin Bangemann will fly to Washington next week to sign the concluding agreement on the controversial program, known as "Star Wars," to develop an anti-missile program in space.

Details Not Given

Neither Kohl nor Weinberger gave details on the accord, but it is expected to cover the West German government's backing for German firms that want to participate in the U.S.-funded research and the framework regulating use of technology such research produces.

Kohl has apparently insisted that the West German participation be in a civilian, commercial context--the low-profile approach favored by middle-of-the-road Christian Democrats and his coalition partners, the Free Democrats.

It is for that reason that Bangemann, rather than Defense Minister Manfred Woerner, is to seal the deal in Washington. Weinberger reportedly would have preferred that the agreements be completed by Woerner to underline the military nature of the system.

Lukewarm Approach

Some large German contractors, like the giant electrical company, Siemens, have been lukewarm in seeking to participate in the project on the grounds that U.S. companies will inevitably receive the lion's share of the contracts. Critics from the opposition Social Democratic Party, who oppose participation, suggest that the United States wants the support of European nations but plans to give them an insubstantial share of the research work.

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