The diplomatic envoy sent by President Reagan to line up Western allies' support for sanctions against Libya asked West Germany on Tuesday to stop importing Libyan oil.
The envoy, Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead, also urged the Bonn government to take other measures against Libya. But Whitehead, who is visiting nine Western capitals, apparently will be leaving empty-handed.
Whitehead, the No. 2 man in the State Department, met with Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Finance Minister Martin Bangemann, who told him that although they will reduce trade with Libya, they do not believe that economic sanctions will work.
Visits to 5 Countries
Whitehead also has called on government officials in Canada, Britain, Italy, Turkey and Greece. In Greece on Monday, he said he had the impression from Greek leaders that they believe that Libya is backing terrorism. On Tuesday, however, Greek government spokesmen denied this characterization of their talks and said Greece will maintain its links with Libya.
Whitehead said in Bonn that the U.S. government is "not twisting arms" in its effort to line up support against Col. Moammar Kadafi's regime. He suggested that while force continues to be a U.S. option, Washington would like to avoid it.
"We are not trying to overthrow Kadafi but force him to change his conduct," Whitehead said.
The U.S. sanctions are a response to terrorist attacks on airports at Rome and Vienna last Dec. 27 in which 15 travelers, including five Americans, were killed. Washington has accused Kadafi of involvement. Whitehead said officials he has talked with have deplored the airport attacks but have made no hard commitments and are generally opposed in principle to economic sanctions.
Different Word Chosen
He said he has stopped referring to "sanctions" and is speaking instead of "measures." Among the measures he asked Bonn to consider, in addition to an oil embargo, are closing down commercial flights between the two countries, banning high-technology exports to Libya and imposing tighter controls on the Libyan Embassy in Bonn.
Whitehead said he hopes Bonn will give "serious thought" to the proposed measures. But German government sources indicated that there is little likelihood of such sweeping steps being taken against Kadafi.
Many West European governments have questioned the evidence that the United States has cited to prove that Libya was involved in the raids on the two airports.
Money for Terrorists
Whitehead said he presented "incontrovertible evidence" that Libya was involved, that it paid the terrorist groups large sums of money, that it supplied arms to the Palestinians and that it was operating terrorist training bases. He said he was not at liberty to divulge the sources for this information.
Whitehead admitted that Syria, Iraq and Iran among other Middle Eastern countries have also supported terrorists but have not been assailed for doing so by the Reagan Administration.
"The President believes you can't fight the battle on all fronts," he said. "We are concentrating our efforts on Kadafi."