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Profile : He's the Man Behind Kohl : While Bonn's chancellor gets the publicity, Horst Teltschik is quietly crafting strategy for a unified Germany.

April 24, 1990|TYLER MARSHALL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BONN — A government organization chart will tell you Horst Teltschik is a civil servant, one of 128 in the West German buraucracy with the title "ministerial director."

The truth about Mr. Teltschik, however, extends beyond the organization chart. Far beyond.

Bright, ambitious and controversial, the 49-year-old bureaucrat is both Chancellor Helmut Kohl's main foreign policy adviser and a man who, after 18 years of working for Kohl in various capacities, has become one of his closest, most trusted aides.

The combination has made Teltschik a player in German foreign policy as the process of German unity begins to alter the political map of Europe.

"Seldom, if ever, has an official in the chancellery had so much influence in foreign affairs as Teltschik," summed up the prestigious Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung newspaper.

While Bonn political pundits like to describe Teltschik as Kohl's Henry Kissinger--a reference to Kissinger's years as the national security adviser in the Nixon White House--such a comparison is almost certainly overdrawn.

Although respected for his knowledge on security and foreign policy matters, Teltschik lacks the stature and accumulated depth of inside vision and scholarship that Kissinger brought to Nixon.

Still, the roles are similar.

"He's one of the few real conceptual thinkers in German foreign policy," noted a respected political analyst here. "He's the one who can put the detail into the larger framework."

Hans Joerg Sottorf, who has covered the chancellor for several years as a correspondent for the Duesseldorf economic daily Handelsblatt, puts it differently:

"They (Kohl and Teltschik) fit so well together because they are so different," he said. "Kohl has the political instincts of what is possible, but Teltschik is the idea man, the strategist who can package the concept.'

Teltschik, for example, authored Kohl's famous 10-point program last November that became the first clear blueprint for German unity within a more unified Europe.

That speech cast German unification for the first time as a near-term issue and proposed a confederated relationship between the two Germanys as an interim step toward eventual unity.

"With that speech the chancellor took the lead on the issue of unification--domestically and internationally," Teltschik said during an hourlong interview in his chancellery office. "We were heavily attacked for it (domestically), but internationally, it couldn't have surprised France or others. They've known for years the chancellor has been for reunification. What we tried to do is elaborate a concept of how to manage it."

When Kohl travels abroad, Teltschik is rarely far away.

In Moscow last February, he drafted the chancellor's statement welcoming Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev's green light on unity.

Two weeks later, he was the lone policy adviser to accompany Kohl for a weekend meeting with President Bush and Secretary of State James A. Baker III at Camp David, Md.

Teltschik was born in the Sudetenland in 1940, in what is now Czechoslovakia, and his family became part of the wave of German refugees forced to flee west in the wake of the Nazi collapse.

He studied political science, contemporary history and civil law at the Free University in Berlin before heading a Christian Democrat working group on inner-German and foreign policy matters.

Kohl picked him out of the party apparatus in 1972 to write speeches and run his office as premier of the West German state of Rhineland Palatinate.

The two have been together since.

When Kohl became chancellor in October, 1982, his inexperience in foreign affairs and an alleged mistrust of the Foreign Ministry led him to break with a long-held tradition that the Foreign Ministry supplied the chancellory's foreign affairs adviser.

He brought Teltschik instead.

Those who know them both say Teltschik fashioned a Kohl foreign policy from a few general concepts that Kohl inherited mainly from the country's first Christian Democratic chancellor, Konrad Adenauer: strong relationships with France and the United States, commitments to the European Community and the Atlantic Alliance and reconciliation with old enemies.

The work provided Kohl with enough to keep abreast of his highly experienced Foreign Minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher.

But as is true with the man he serves, hard-edged comments occasionally land Teltschik in controversy.

Some members of Genscher's Free Democrats, who are the junior partners in Kohl's ruling coalition, recently demanded Teltschik's head for what they perceived as his slight of Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze. Responding to the Soviet official's prediction that Germany unity would probably take years to achieve, Teltschik quipped publicly that Shevardnadze would be surprised how fast unity comes.

"I was attacked that I can't speak in such a way to a foreign minister like Schevardnadze," Teltschik said, "but that's crazy, because I'm sure he's heard much worse things."

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