More than a year ago, the West German government solemnly threatened to break off relations with any country that recognized the Communist government of East Germany. Last week Yugoslavia's Marshal Josip Broz Tito, previously on the best of terms with West Germany, defied Bonn's displeasure and extended formal recognition to the East Germans.

Yugoslavia was the first nation outside the Soviet bloc to recognize the East German puppet regime. After nearly a week of dithering, Foreign Minister Heinrich von Brentano concluded that, whatever the cost, he could not back down on a public and frequently repeated threat. At week's...

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