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Last week, in Europe, the West completed a long contemplated step forward, and the Communists stepped back. By 32 to 2, The Netherlands' Senate became the final parliament to ratify the Paris accords, rearming 500,000 West Germans within a Western European Union. Next week, at a full-dress NATO meeting in Paris, the Germans will be accepted as partners in the Atlantic Alliance. The biggest remaining snag—Franco-German differences over a Saar steel mill—was ironed out last week when Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French Foreign Minister Antoine Pinay met in Bonn and disposed of the awkward details.

In Austria, the vast Red army was preparing its first retreat in Europe since World War II. Having made up its mind to give the Austrians back their freedom in exchange for neutrality, the Kremlin was literally showering concessions on the people whom it had curbed for ten years—returning their P.W.s, permitting them to fly their own airplanes, dismantling restrictions on trade. The Russians plainly hoped that the West Germans would be tempted to imitate the Austrian pattern—to trade a pledge of neutrality for a promise of German unity. But Heinrich von Brentano, the man who is slated to become German Foreign Minister early this month, announced last week: "Neutralism is impossible on both political and moral grounds. Germany is with the West."