INTRODUCTION: President Leonid Brezhnev and West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt ended two days of talks in Bonn on Tuesday (24 November) without reaching agreement.
SCU Kohl during photo session.
SCU Strauss with Brezhnev.
SCU Brezhnev with Brandt, Gromyko half off camera at left.
SV ZOOM Gromyko with Genscher.
SV Schmidt and Brezhnev walks along corridor into conference room.
SV Brezhnev takes seat opposite Schmidt (with his back to camera.
GV Photographs of delegates.
SV Brezhnev looking at photograph with Schmidt looking on.
SCU Brezhnev speaking in Russian with Schmidt by side.
CU ZOOM OUT Schmidt speaking in German.
CU Gromyko and Genscher.
CU ZOOM OUT Both men enchange comment and walk off.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: President Leonid Brezhnev and West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt ended two days of talks in Bonn on Tuesday (24 November) without reaching agreement. At a press conference at the end of the talks, they acknowledged that "of course there were differences". But they agreed that East-West dialogue must continue, and the pledged to meet again. During his visit, the President had undertaken to meet other politicians besides the Chancellor, and this brought him face to face with several West German party leaders, some of them with fierce anti-Soviet attitudes.
SYNOPSIS: President Brezhnev clearly wanted to meet anyone who might one day lead West Germany. With him here: Helmut Kohl, leader of the Christian Democratic Union.
Then he met Franz Josef Strauss, leader of the Christian Social Union and co-leader with Kohl of the conservative opposition. Strauss had said he expected nothing to come from the visit. Willy Brandt, however, chairman of the Social Democratic Party, has long advocated reconciliation between East and West.
Another leading figure was Hans-Dietrich Genscher, leader of the Social Democrats coalition partner, the Liberal Free Democrats. He is also Foreign Minister, and had long talks with the Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko.
But the two central figures were President Brezhnev and Chancellor Schmidt. Differences emerged almost as soon as the talks began. President Brezhnev rejected the offer by President Reagan last week to abandon NATO's planned installation of Cruise and Pershing Two missiles in Europe. This the so-called "Zero Option", was conditional on an agreement by Moscow to scrap its own medium range nuclear forces. But President Brezhnev said the zero option would really mean unilateral disarmament by Moscow, as it would not cover NATO sea-based missiles of NATO rockets already installed in Europe. It would give NATO a two-one superiority, he said.
Making his counter-offer, President Brezhnev offered to freeze the number of medium range missiles at the present level. If the United States agreed to this, he added, the Soviet Union would withdraw its missile forces from Europe to the Ural mountains. Western analysts quoted by Reuters dismissed this suggestion, as the missiles would be able to reach Western European targets from beyond the Urals.
The differences between the two sides were later underlined, when their spokesman clashed over the Reagan plan at a joint news conference. And, when Chancellor Schmidt and President Brezhnev appeared in public after their second day of talks, neither gave any indication that their positions had come any closer. But there were some positive signs as well. Both agreed that East-West dialogue must continue in spite of the difference. Chancellor Schmidt was invited for a return visit to Moscow, and said he accepted the invitation. President Brezhnev said of course there were differences, but the two sides were "trying to build bridges". Chancellor Schmidt agreed. The two shared a common interest in safeguarding peace in Europe and the world, he said.