BERNE (Feb. 24)
The Swiss Government last night imposed severe restrictions on the entry of Arabs to that country. The measure was taken in the aftermath of Saturday’s fatal crash of an Israel-bound Swiss air jet. Switzerland, at the same time, called on the International Civil Aviation Organization based in Montreal to summon an emergency conference on air security and offered to host such a gathering. President Hans-Peter Tschudi, of Switzerland said at a press conference yesterday that hereafter Arabs would be admitted into Switzerland only on “humanitarian grounds” or where their visit was deemed to be “important to the Swiss national interest.” He said the restrictions were not aimed against any Arab government or Arab citizens but only to weed out possible Palestinian terrorists bearing Arab passports.
President Tschudi said that holders of passports from Arab states would have to apply in advance for Swiss visas and all applications would undergo the closest scrutiny. The measure applies to holders of Algerian, Tunisian and Moroccan passports even though those countries have visa waiver agreements with Switzerland. The other Arab countries have no such agreements but in the past Swiss authorities have followed a liberal policy towards tourists and transit passengers from all countries. Palestinian Arabs, unable to possess national passports, travel under passports issued by the various Arab countries. The stringent security measures, approved by the Swiss Cabinet met with general approval here today. But some Swiss circles voiced concern over taking measures against countries which are not proven to have been implicated in the Swiss air disaster. Experts investigating the wreckage of the plane said that evidence obtained so far pointed to a bomb, apparently in one of the mail pouches. Dr. Hans Scholtz, chief engineer of Swiss air, said he was convinced that a bomb caused the crash and said he expected to have conclusive proof within a few days. Dr. Max Frei-Sulzer, chief of the Zurich crime laboratory which is analyzing powder burns found in the wrecked cargo compartment, said, ” I’m already convinced it was a bomb.” He also said he would “have complete proof” in a few days.