Chancellor Helmut Kohl reiterated tonight in an interview on West German television his belief that the so-called "walk in the woods" formula provides one basis for U.S. and Soviet negotiators in Geneva to reach an agreement before deployment of Pershing II and cruise missiles begins at the end of this year.
Under the formula, rejected by both Moscow and Washington last fall, the United States would forego deployment of the powerful Pershings in West Germany but would put in place a limited number of cruise missiles while Moscow reduced the number of SS20 missiles it has targeted on Western Europe.
"I told the president Reagan after my visit to Moscow, and I have been able to disclose to our European friends very clearly, that we must now do everything that is possible and reasonable to lead the Geneva negotiations to success. That is a very important goal," Kohl said.
"Among these possibilities is that we return to a conversation the "walk in the woods" that appeared to be on track. And if you talk of all these possibilities, then you have to return to this possibility as well. But I am not able to confirm, not because I do not want to but simply because I do not know, whether the past in the sense of the 'walk in the woods' could be successful."
West German Defense Minister Manfred Woerner told reporters in a Washington breakfast Friday that Kohl's remarks in an interview that appeared in Friday's Washington Post had been misconstrued and that the Bonn government does not support the "walk in the woods" formula.
"Our position is unchanged," Woerner said. He said Bonn considers "the weapons mix"--meaning deployment of Pershing IIs as well as slower-flying cruise--"to be an essential element" of Western plans.
Kohl's spokesman Peter Boenisch, asked by German reporters about wire service versions of the Washington Post interview that appeared in West Germany, said here that the interview accurately reflected Kohl's views.