West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl confirmed today that the leaders of Bulgaria and Romania will visit Bonn in the next two months, but admitted that he still did not know whether East German head of state Erich Honecker also will fulfill plans to travel to West Germany soon.
Kohl said he expected "a definitive decision" concerning the trip by Honecker in the next few days. In the meantime, Kohl said, he was content to wait and would not indulge in "lottery games" of predicting whether the East German leader will come.
The Honecker trip, tentatively scheduled to start Sept. 26, has become a controversial symbol of the improving relations between the two Germanys. It would mark the first time an East German leader has visited West Germany.
But the long delay in announcing Honecker's final intentions has raised speculation in Bonn that the East German leader may postpone his trip to appease Soviet anxieties about the growing intimacy between the two German states.
Moscow has sought to impose a freeze on East-West relations in retaliation for the deployment of Pershing II and cruise missiles in Western Europe that began in December.
The Soviet press has repeatedly attacked West Germany in recent weeks, accusing the Bonn government of seeking "to undermine the socialist system in East Germany" and of harboring visions of regaining East European territories lost in the war.
At his press conference today, the first since he returned from a month-long vacation Sunday, Kohl dismissed the Soviet propaganda campaign as "unfounded and completely foolish."
In a declaration to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher said that West Germany respected the territorial integrity of all European states within their current frontiers.
The Bonn government, Genscher said, "has no territorial claims against anybody and will not raise any in the future."
Kohl stressed that West Germany's ability to pursue cooperation and dialogue with its East Bloc neighbors in the wake of last year's deployment dispute must be regarded as one of his government's most important achievements.
He said that "nobody is talking today of a new ice age" between the two Germanys, which the political opposition had previously warned would occur if Germany accepted the missiles.
Kohl said he would not divulge the agenda of possible topics for next month's planned sessions with Honecker but said the chief aim will be to improve human relations between the two Germanys.
He also emphasized the importance of Bonn's relations with other members of the Warsaw Pact by referring to the forthcoming visits by Bulgarian President Todor Zhivkov and Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu. Zhivkov is due to see Kohl in Bonn on Sept. 20 while Ceausescu is expected on Oct. 15.
In addition, Kohl mentioned that Genscher intends to see his Soviet counterpart, Andrei Gromyko, on Sept. 25 at the United Nations General Assembly. He also said that a Soviet deputy premier, Leonid Kostandov, would visit Bonn Sept. 24 as head of the Soviet delegation holding talks about economic cooperation with West Germany.
Kohl's accounting of contacts his government will be having with East Bloc leaders seemed designed to cushion any disappointment and to reassure the public about the continuity of East-West relations in case the Honecker visit does not take place.
The chancellor refused to speculate about reports of Soviet President Konstantin Chernenko's failing health, saying he did not "know anybody who really knows anything" about the status of Chernenko.
He also dismissed the notion that Honecker's reluctance to commit himself to a firm decision so far to travel to West Germany could reflect uncertainty about the Soviet leadership succession.
"I am no Kremlin astrologer," he said.
West German newspapers claimed today that Honecker is likely to reveal whether he is coming to West Germany when he appears at the opening of the Leipzig Trade Fair on Sunday.
Some comentators believe that he will put off the trip until the end of the year to await the results of the U.S. presidential elections, as well as the outcome of the trips to Bonn by other East Bloc leaders.
One line of speculation in Bonn is that Honecker may bow to the Soviet argument that a September visit to West Germany could be exploited by President Reagan in his reelection campaign.