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The FDP is Courted and Weighs Its Options (September 30, 1969)

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Second: The chairman of the CDU in Baden-Württemberg, Mr. Klaus Scheufelen, who, as you know, is rather influential in the party, told me on election night on behalf of the federal chancellor – so that I, as a member of the executive committee, would pass it on – that the CDU was determined to form a coalition with us. I did no more than make note of this as well.

At 7:30 this morning, Mr. Scheufelen called me again here in my hotel in Bonn. Mr. Scheufelen told me on behalf of the federal chancellor that the CDU was going to make generous offers. He said that Mr. Scheel had already said that we might not be able to meet for negotiations until after today’s committees have met, but he wanted me to relay to these committees that the chancellor had told him to tell me that they will make generous offers, including long-term federal and state-level coalition agreements that will extend beyond this legislative period. And [he said] that Mr. Chancellor was prepared to receive me today at 9:00 am. I said: Mr. Scheufelen, I have made note of your message and will relay it to our committees. The chancellor does not need to confirm this for me, because I believe you when you say that he asked you to tell me this. And that was the end of the conversation.

Chairman Scheel: I will continue to allow people to report on things, but perhaps we should first clarify whether we should officially appoint someone to engage in such contact with the CDU, so that information that will also be important for our consultations can be passed on in an official manner. Now Mr. Mischnick will report on his conversation with members of the SPD.

Mischnick: Between 10:00 and 10:30 pm on election night, when I returned to the parliament building from Bonner Talweg and was talking with colleagues Rubin and Hoppe about what should happen now, Mr. Wischnewski came and asked if he could talk with me. I spoke with Mr. Wischnewski. He asked if anyone, it didn’t matter who, was prepared to go to Mr. Möller to discuss the situation. So I informed the party chairman and asked him what he thought about it and whether he himself wanted to come along. – The party chairman said no, he would advise me to hold the conversation alone, perhaps together with Genscher if he could be reached. But he couldn’t be reached. So I went there with colleagues Rubin and Hoppe. Gathered there were Mr. Möller, Mr. Wischnewski, and Mr. Kühn. They explained that the SPD wanted to nominate the federal chancellor and that the party was prepared to step up and negotiate with us. But they wanted to let us know ahead of time to see if we had any reservations about something like that even being said.

I tried to contact the party chairman, but unfortunately I couldn’t, because the line was busy. Afterwards I learned that Mr. Brandt was calling the party chairman at that moment to tell him that he intended to say the very same thing. – That happened during our conversation. – The three representatives of the SPD made it known that they were not only prepared but willing to form a coalition with us if it proved possible to find common ground; they were of the opinion that continuing the Grand Coalition wasn’t an option after these election results, and they regarded it as politically precarious. Therefore: They would step up and it was up to us whether we were prepared to step up, too. – That was the conversation with the SPD on election night.

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