Independent presidential candidate Rep. John Anderson (R.-Ill.), in Bonn for a full day of meetings with West German officials, today echoed allied concern about Carter administration foreign policy, charging that it lacked "the kind of consistency and resolve that is necessary in the world today."
Anderson said the White House has been "less than predictable" in its actions and, repeating an earlier line, he described the Carter policy as "unilaterlism -- a tendency to go it alone."
Such criticism of the Carter team should play well in Europe, agreeing with the dominant perception on this side of the Atlantic of an approach to foreign policy in Washington that is jerky and whimsical. European leaders have been upset by what they regard as sudden changes in policy by the Carter White House and by its failure to consult fully with them.
As it happened, U.N. Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher was also here today for talks with West German Foreign Ministry officials. He called an unexpected -- and uncharacteristic -- press conference to say that he had discussed a number of issues of mutual U.S.-West German concern, including how to respond to the latest Soviet offer on nuclear arms control that Chancellor Helmut Schmidt brought back with him this month from a visit in Moscow.
Christopher said his trip to Bonn was part of an effort at "intensified coordination between our two countries."
Meanwhile, Anderson, aside from a few attacks on Carter, appeared more interested in consulting with the West Germans than in politicking. A tightly scheduled day left little opportunity for him to mix with West German correspondents or many local folk, keeping him indoors in sessions with senior officials, including an evening talk with Schmidt. He leaves for Paris Wednesday.
In contrast with the diplomatic waves he set in motion last week by controversial remarks made in the Middle East about Jerusalem, Anderson seems determined to keep his visit to Europe low key.
In luncheon remarks today, he countered criticism that his trip is designed to win press attention during the week of the Republican National Convention, saying he had planned his 12-day visit to the Middle East and Western Europe simply to prepare himself for the responsibilities of being president. He also said he had not "come abroad to criticize my government."
His public comments on foreign policy since arriving in Europe yesterday have been what most Western Europeans like to hear -- a firm statement against Soviet aggression coupled with an offer to pursue detente.
"Unlike Carter, who said in December that his eyes had been opened, I have never been under any illusion as to Soviet designs," Anderson remarked.
In what his staff billed as a major policy speech, Anderson used his stop here in Western Europe's most powerful economic nation to propose a "fundamental reevaluation of American economic policies."
Citing declines in U.S. productivity and in America's competitive position in world markets, the congressman called for a new industrial policy for America. The package would include:
Tax depreciation allowances and other incentives to get people to save more.
Review of government regulations.
Better retraining of displaced workers.
Increased government support for research and development.
The United States is not alone in its economic problems. Rising oil prices and other economic jolts, Anderson said, have put the Western alliance under increasing strain. In fact, he said, the West has "weathered the economic storm" better than it has the political storm caused by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
On this point, Anderson said he "very much" welcomed Schmidt's recent trip to Moscow -- a trip about which Washington had some misgivings, fearing it might weaken the Western stand on Afghanistan. But Anderson attached a caveat.
"In the dangerous years ahead," he said, "we cannot rely simply on the prudence and good will of individual statesmen, or on obsolescent mechanisms of consultation and cooperation. We must contrive new mechanisms in light of our changed circumstances.
"The principal reason for my journey to Europe is to ask your advice on how such new mechanisms can best be developed."