NEW YORK (May. 6)
Governor Mario Cuomo of New York told a cheering Jewish audience Monday night that the Justice Department should bar Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States — even if he is elected President of Austria — if an investigation confirms charges that he was involved in Nazi war crimes.
In a dialogue with Rabbi David Kahane in the Sutton Place Synagogue’s Jewish Town Hall series, Cuomo said he regretted that the Waldheim issue had not “become an international issue. I am not sure,” he told some 3,000 persons watching the discussion in the synagogue and on closed-circuit TV, “that there is sensitivity outside Jewish strongholds” on the question of Waldheim’s role during World War II.
The United States, he said, “should speak out as clearly as possible” and should state that if the allegations against him are confirmed, “he is not welcome here.”
Asked by Kahane for his views on the Reagan Administration’s proposed sale of Stingers and other advanced American weapons to Saudi Arabia, Cuomo said: “I’m against it. This is the country that feeds and pays for the PLO. What do we need them for? What if there’s a coup and the Stingers fall into the wrong hands? “I was against the AWACS sale and I’m against the Stingers sale. Let the Arabs recognize Israel before we sell them any American arms.”
On the recent bombing of Libyan military headquarters in Tripoli and Benghazi, Cuomo said he supported the principle of retaliation. “The President did the right thing,” he said. “I only hope that he has thought through his next moves against terrorism.” He said Israel’s policy of prompt and vigorous response to PLO terrorist attacks was something the United States should and could follow.