President Reagan and Chancellor Helmut Kohl agreed today to go ahead with their politically sensitive plan to visit a German military cemetery Sunday, but added relatives of German war resisters to the guest list at the wreath-laying ceremony.
Word of their decision was relayed to reporters by Peter Boenisch, chief spokesman for the Bonn government, after Reagan and Kohl conferred for 50 minutes on the eve of the seven-nation economic summit.
Boenisch said observers at the Bitburg ceremony will be relatives of resisters of the Nazi regime, including the son of Lt. Col. Klaus von Stauffenberg, who was executed in 1944 for masterminding a plot to kill Adolf Hitler by placing a bomb under his chair in a war conference room.
5,000 Executed in Reprisal
Hitler suffered only minor injuries from the bomb blast. Five thousand people, including relatives and friends of military officers involved in the assassination plot, were executed.
Boenisch did not identify the son, who is a colonel in the West German army.
White House spokesman Larry Speakes told reporters he knew nothing about the plan and suggested that it was an idea of the West Germans.
Later, after a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, Reagan told reporters he doubted the Bitburg visit would cost him any political support if the story is “honestly reported” by the press.
Only a Cemetery Visit
“There aren’t any problems or controversies,” Reagan said, adding that he “never had any intention of doing anything other” than visiting the cemetery for German war dead.