West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl today rejected a Romanian proposal that nuclear arms talks be broadened to include European countries, saying that only the superpowers can take the "necessary initiatives" to curtail nuclear arsenals in Europe.
Kohl, speaking at a luncheon in honor of Romania's President Nicolae Ceausescu, said his government had "taken note" of a plan put forward by Ceausescu "to expand the circle of participants" at nuclear arms control negotiations, possibly through "institutionalized advisory commissions."
But the West German leader insisted that while European allies in both blocs could play a useful role in encouraging an eventual agreement, only the United States and the Soviet Union could decide on an arms control treaty involving their own weapons systems.
In Paris, French President Francois Mitterrand and Hungarian leader Janos Kadar agreed Tuesday on the need for a resumption of arms control talks between East and West, Reuter reported. The agreement came at the end of a two-day visit by Kadar, the first by a Soviet Bloc leader since the French left came to power in 1981. The veteran Communist leader described his talks with Mitterrand as frank and full of good will.
Meanwhile, Austria's foreign minister, Leopold Gratz, arrived in Warsaw Tuesday to become the first western official to visit Poland since Communist authorities imposed martial law in December 1981, United Press International reported. Gratz's three-day official trip is the first of a series of visits to Poland planned by high-ranking Western European government officials.
Kohl was responding to a suggestion made by Ceausescu during their talks earlier today, West German officials said. They said the Romanian leader contended that European countries that have accepted new nuclear missiles on their soil "bear a special responsibility for peace in Europe" and thus should play an active role in the negotiations.
Since the Geneva talks were broken off last year, West Germany, Britain and Italy have begun stationing U.S.-made Pershing II and cruise nuclear missiles on their territory. In retaliation, the Soviet Union has moved short-range nuclear missiles forward into East Germany and Czechoslovakia.
West German officials said the notion of expanding the nuclear arms talks to include these countries, if only in an advisory capacity, was quickly dismissed as an unworkable and unacceptable initiative.
Ceausescu, who will depart Wednesday, is the first Warsaw Pact leader to visit Bonn since Moscow suspended the Geneva arms control talks following West Germany's decision to proceed with deployment of Pershing II nuclear missiles.
Since that time, Moscow has escalated its attacks by accusing the West German government of seeking to regain lost German territories now incorporated within the borders of Eastern European countries.
Kohl today denounced the Soviet propaganda campaign as "senseless and unjustified" and said that his government respected its treaties with the Warsaw Pact states.