Gorbachev Takes His Message Directly to German People With AM-Gorbachev, Bjt
BONN, West Germany (AP) _ Mikhail S. Gorbachev took his message of reconciliation and peace directly to the West German people Tuesday, and later said the warm welcome in Bonn made him feel as if he were in Red Square.
Thousands cheered the Soviet president in Bonn’s packed market square.
″I think this is the biggest thing happening in our relationship, the striving of our people to cooperate and be friends,″ Gorbachev told the crowd.
Later he told Soviet spokesman Gennady I. Gerasimov the welcome was so enthusiastic he felt ″as if he was on Red Square, among his own people.″
Relaying Gorbachev’s words, Gerasimov told reporters the reception made a ″strong emotional impression″ on Gorbachev and the entire Kremlin delegation.
More than 3,000 people crowded into the square outside the 18th-century Town Hall under sunny skies to greet the Kremlin leader. They chanted ″Gorby 3/8 Gorby 3/8″ and waved Soviet flags and a banner saying ″Keep up the good work, Gorby.″
Cheers and applause rang through the square after the Soviet anthem was played.
Several well-wishers fainted in the crush of bodies behind police barricades.
Some banners reflected the German pain at the postwar division of their nation and of the former capital, Berlin, telling Gorbachev ″German unity - peace in Europe″ and, in English, ″Gorby, make love not walls.″ That referred to the Berlin Wall.
But the crowd hooted and hissed in disapproval when Mayor Hans Daniels, in a brief speech before a ceremonial exchange of gifts, referred to Bonn as only the temporary capital of Germany, ″substituting for Berlin.″
Gorbachev and his wife Raisa were given a tumultuous greeting as they emerged from their limousine and ascended the steps of the newly renovated Town Hall.
When Mrs. Gorbachev spotted 4-year-old Heinrich-Sebastian Schilling, clad in traditional leather short pants and waving to her, she quickly beckoned him to the balcony where she stood with her husband.
The couple hoisted the boy between them and Mrs. Gorbachev waved the posy the youngster gave her as the crowd again chanted, ″Gorby, Gorby 3/8″
As police helicopters whirred overhead and sharpshooters scanned the crowd from rooftops, Gorbachev said: ″We are opening a new chapter in our relations.″
After the ceremony, Gorbachev greeted well-wishers behind police barricades, smiling and shaking hands along the way.
A weekend poll conducted by the television network ZDF indicates that 90 percent of West Germans trust Gorbachev and his policies of reform and disarmament.
A white-haired woman, who said she lost her brother in the Soviet Union during World War II, called it ″a great honor″ for Gorbachev to visit Bonn.
″We have great hopes that Gorbachev can offer a new future that will benefit both Germanys,″ a 21-year-old student, Martina Feldmann, told The Associated Press.
Gorbachev said Tuesday he likes Bonn’s small-town atmosphere.
He said of the city’s greenery and residential character, ″I hope you can preserve that.″
At a welcoming ceremony, he noted that West Germans often refer to Bonn as a ″big federal village,″ and he added, ″I think in this case it’s good.″
Bonn, with a population of 300,000 is about the size of Stavropol, the southern Russian city that Gorbachev managed for many years as Communist Party chief.
Gorbachev grew up on a farm in the Stavropol area.
Bonn was chosen as a temporary capital of West Germany after World War II by officials who expected someday to return the capital to Berlin.