President Valery Giscard d'Estaing sought today to shift the responsibility for the release here last week of suspected Black September leader Abu Daoud onto West Germany and called on foreign countries to stop "the campaign of insults" he said was being directed at France over the incident.
The State Dpartment, the Israeli government and West German officials have publicly criticized the release of Abu Daoud last Tuesday by a French court, which rejected requests from West Germany and Israel that the Palestinian leader be held for formal extradition hearings.
Addressing his first news conference in eight months, Giscard asserted that the West German embassy here had failed to respond a day before the release to a formal French request for supporting evidence and official confirmation of the extradition request.
The French president coupled his snappish response to critics abroad with an open effort to rally French public opinion against what he said were attacks that went beyond the court's decision or his government's policies. They were in fact aimed at France's "dignity and honor," Giscard said.
"There are a certain number of countries that do not accept a France that has an independent policy," he said. "France, her people and laws, don't need a lecture. I invite those who want to stay her friend to abstain from giving us lectures."
The brief questioning on Aby Daoud was Giscard's only embattled moment in an otherwise uneventiful 1 3/4-hour meeting with the press, in which Giscard once again demonstrated his nimble command of words, ideas and statistics.
Giscard started the conference on somber note. He spoke of "the depressing spiral" of "doubt and worry" that had gripped France for the past year and the need to break it. He said that the new government he installed last August had already begun to do so.
But the conference underscored, the wearing impact his three years in power have had on the 50-year-old Giscard, who came to office with crisp and elegant conceptualizations of an advanced liberal society for France and a place in the sun for himself in managing world affairs.
Instead, he was asked throughout the conference to dwell on France's continuing high unemployment rate, his political quarrels with former Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, a murder scandal that seems to be unraveling in a way that could gravely embarrass the French aristocracy, and Abu Daoud.
Reverting to a practice of the Fifth Republic's first president, Charles de Gaulle, Giscard grouped questions around themes that enabled him both to deliver highly polished 10-minute monologues in reaponse to some queries and totally submerge others, such as the ones on Chirac.
In response to a question from an Israeli newsman about Abu Daoud, whom Israel accuses of having organized the attack on the Israeli Olympic team that left 11 Israeli athletes dead in Munich in 1972, Giscard said that the West German charge d'affaires had been called to the French Foreign Ministry last Monday, four days after Daoud's arrest in a Paris hotel, and asked for official confirmation of Bonn's intention to ask for extradition.
The German, according to Giscard, said he had no instructions on the case. The French official gave him a number where he could be reached at any hour and asked to be advised as soon as any word was received from Boon.
Abu Daoud was released the following day. West Germany maintains that its extradition treaty with France, and past practice, establish that Boon had 20 days in which to provide the required confirmation.
Giscard took a second slap at West Germany by noting that three of the Arab guerrillas involved in the Munich attack had been arrested at the time of the incident. "Where are they, now?" he asked.
He did not answer his own question. The three guerillas were released by West Germany when Palestinians hijacked a Lufthansa airliner three months after their arrest and demanded their release.