First Official Visit Austrian Foreign Minister Due in Israel

Dr. Rudolph Kirchschlaeger, the Foreign Minister of Austria, is due here tomorrow on the first official visit of an Austrian Foreign Minister to Israel. No Israeli Foreign Minister has yet visited Austria but an invitation to return Dr. Kirchschlaeger’s visit is expected to be extended on this occasion. Sources here noted that Israel has good relations with Austria. That country has no particular stake in the Middle East but is regarded as important diplomatically because of its neutrality guaranteed by the four post-war occupying powers.

One of the issues the Austrian Foreign Minister is expected to discuss here is the prosecution of Nazi war criminals. Israel has expressed dissatisfaction with the slow pace of handling war crimes cases in Austria. On the other hand, Israel is eminently satisfied with Austria’s cooperation in expediting immigration to Israel.

Vienna is the main way station for Soviet and other East European Jews bound for Israel. Officials here say Austrian assistance in this area is generous beyond what anyone would expect, even from a friendly nation. Austrian officials provide temporary housing for Jewish immigrants in transit and help Israeli officials in speeding up the paperwork required in the pre-absorption process.

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