Helmut Schmidt, Lee Kuan Yew shared decades-long friendship

Thank you for the broad coverage of former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt's passing ("Ex-chancellor of West Germany dies at age 96", Nov 11; and "Unsentimental doer who won affection" and "PM Lee sends condolences", both published on Nov 12).

Mr Schmidt maintained a decades-long personal friendship with Singapore's late founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

In his book, Weggefahrten (not published in English yet), he writes very personal short biographies about important people whom he met through his life. Among them was Mr Lee.

The following anecdote can be found in Mr Schmidt's book: Back in the 1970s, China was not open as it is now, and European leaders often felt unsure as to how to deal with Chinese leaders and officials.

In order to prepare for negotiations, meetings, state visits or just to understand Chinese positions and motions in international politics, they looked for advice.

Mr Schmidt would call the elder Mr Lee to seek advice on how to bridge certain situations and how best to avoid misunderstandings - an interesting cooperation.

Both highly respected statesmen will be missed in the world.

Sven Suhrbier