INTRODUCTION: The coalition government in West Germany is facing the worst internal crisis since it came to power.
GV INTERIOR CDU conference.
CU Dr. Kohl speaking.
SV Franz Josef Strauss former Defence Minister, listening to speech.
CU Kurt Georg Kiesinger.
CU Dr. Alfred Dregger.
CU Dr. Rainer Barzel.
CU Dr. G. Stoltenberg.
CU Dr. Richard von Weizsacher.
CU Dr. Heiner Geissler.
CU ZOOM OUT FROM CDU insignia TO members listening.
GV Social Democratic Party conference.
CU Chancellor Schmidt speaking.
GV Trams and traffic through streets of Mannheim. (2 SHOTS)
GV Factory area on River Rhine.
GV Oilwagons being moved by train.
GV Chemical plant at Hoechst.
GV People walking in streets of Wiesbaden.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: The coalition government in West Germany is facing the worst internal crisis since it came to power. The country is preparing for a year of recession as memories of its famous "economic miracle" slip into the past. The late Ludwig Erhard ushered in an era of boom and plenty as Economics Minister in the nineteen-fifties. But the once-bouyant German mark, emblem of the nation's economic might, is now one of Europe's most hard his currencies. Chancellor Helmut Schmidt's government must answer a range of vital questions about the nation's future role at home and abroad.
SYNOPSIS: Herr Helmut Kohl, leader of the opposition Christian Democratic Party, has lost no time in rallying his political forces against the government. He prepared his speech at the party's annual congress in Mannheim on Monday (9 March) with sharp criticisms of Chancellor Schmidt's Social Democratic Party. Herr Kurt Georg Kiesinger, the former West German Chancellor, was among those listening to the Christian Democrat leader's condemnation of the government's monetary policies.
Herr Kohl said Chancellor Schmidt was wrong to blame the mark's present weakness on high United States interest rates. The weakness reflected a loss on confidence in the Bonn government.
Herr Schmidt's coalition government of the Social Democrat and Free Democratic Parties has major problems to solve: whether to sell tanks to Saudi Arabia and submarines to Chile; whether to boost military spending or aid to the developing world -- and how far to increase the scope of the West German armed forces. (Bundeswehr).
The Chancellor also has to decide how big West Germany's world role should be. Under pressure from Western allies, Middle East oil suppliers and financiers, Bonn has to make choices as fundamental as its 1955 decision to create the Bundeswehr and join NATO.
The crisis in West Germany stems from a balance of payments deficit caused by a massive bill for oil imports. Adding to the squeeze are Bonn's cutbacks in government spending aimed at fighting inflation. Saudi Arabia has been a major contributor in financing West Germany's payments deficit. It now wants to buy hundreds of the latest West German tanks.
Opponents of the proposed tank sales to Saudi Arabia say Bonn would inevitably be drawn much closer to military involvement in the region. But West Germany urgently needs money from oil rich nations to stimulate its economy.