He was federal minister of economic cooperation and development (1961–1966), but he persuaded the FDP to leave Ludwig Erhard's coalition government in late 1966. This forced elections in Germany, and Kurt Georg Kiesinger became chancellor.
In 1969 his party formed a new coalition with the Social Democrats. He became Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor. With Willy Brandt his foreign policy meant the Federal Republic of Germany promised not to try and get back the parts of Germany given to Poland and the USSR. The treaty with Poland actually defined the western border of Poland, not the border between Poland and Germany. It is the same thing, but meant Poland could sign a treaty with West Germany that described the border of East Germany.
When Brandt resigned on 7 May 1974, Scheel, was acting chancellor, for about a week, until Helmut Schmidt was elected Chancellor.
Like most ex German presidents, Scheel retired from political life term ended. He sometimes appeared on political talk shows or events. At the funeral of the murdered businessman Hanns Martin Schleyer in October 1977, Scheel gave a speech entitled shame.
|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Walter Scheel.|
- "Walter Scheel (1974–1979)". German Federal Presidency. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
- "Früherer Bundespräsident (1974-1979): Walter Scheel ist tot". SPIEGEL ONLINE (in German). Retrieved 24 August 2016.
- "Ehemaliger Bundespräsident Walter Scheel ist tot". Die Zeit (in German). Retrieved 24 August 2016.