WASHINGTON (Jul. 26)
Rep. Joshua Eilberg (D. Pa.), chairman of the House subcommittee on immigration, said his panel will “probe deeper into the post-World War II ties between alleged war criminals and U.S. intelligence agencies” and “monitor the government’s current investigations and court actions against alleged former Nazis living in this country.”
Eilberg also said he will “press the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to continue to explore the files of the intelligence agencies” and that the subcommittee “will continue to make its own independent investigation of all aspects of this problem.” The lawmaker convened three days of hearings last week, two months after he released a General Accounting Office (GAO) report showing that Nazis living in the U.S. had close ties with the CIA, FBI and the Defense Department in the years after the war.
Eilberg ordered the GAO study in early 1977. He asked the GAO to determine why the INS failed for 30 years to investigate and take action against alleged war criminals. During the hearings last week, he charged that the report “failed to respond to the subcommittee’s main question as to the reason for the lack of action on the Nazi issue.”
Eilberg stated that his subcommittee will “vigorously pursue this matter until we get to the bottom of it, especially to determine what kind of contacts the intelligence agencies had with these people, how much the alleged Nazis were paid, what kind of work they performed, when they carried out their work, and whether their ties with the intelligence agencies had anything to do with the fact that they were never brought to justice for their alleged war crimes.”
NO ALL-OUT EFFORT TO PROSECUTE
In the final two days of hearings, the subcommittee questioned former State Department and Justice Department officials who screened refugees entering the U.S. after World War II, and other former INS officials. In quizzing former INS deputy commissioner James Greene, Eilberg and his colleagues focused on reports of misplaced and lost files on alleged Nazis.
Greene joined the INS in 1941 and retired in 1954. But he could not remember the details of any investigations, even though he was acting director of INS at one point. “They were only allegations. I can’t remember any details on how investigations were resolved,” Greene said. “I can state flat-out that there was no collusion to thwart investigations of cases.” He added that there “wasn’t an all-out effort to prosecute them, either.” Communism “was the factor at that time,” Greene told the subcommittee. “All the politicians wanted us to go after communism. That’s what got the money for investigations.”
Almanza Tripp, former INS officer who was stationed in Europe and helped administer the Displaced Persons Act of 1948, cited the large number of persons–more than 300,000–who entered the country after the war, and said this led to a laxity in screening. “The political administration at that time wanted to make the DPA a good show,” Tripp said. “So they ordered quantity, not quality. It took us three weeks to check a person’s record at the Berlin Records Center. But some people were being processed in less than a day. The Commissioners never waited for record checks to be completed.”