WASHINGTON (Jun. 22)
Over a hundred members of the House of Representatives have appealed to President Reagan to boycott the inauguration of Kurt Waldheim as President of Austria.
In a letter sent to the White House last week, the legislators asked that neither he nor any other American official attend the former UN Secretary General’s inaugural ceremony, scheduled for July 8.
Revelations about Waldheim’s activities as a Wehrmacht officer in the Balkans marred his campaign for the Presidency, and his election earlier this month led to an outcry from the world Jewish community.
ATTENDANCE WOULD ‘SEND A MESSAGE’
Noting the millions of Jews and others who died at the hands of the Nazis, the letter, initiated by Rep. Ron Wyden (D. Or.), said that U.S. attendance at the inauguration “would send a message to millions of people that these deaths can be swept under the rug as easily as Kurt Waldheim’s war record was for so many years.”
A spokesman for the White House told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the subject of representation at Waldheim’s inauguration had not yet been considered and would only be taken up once an official invitation is received.
The letter to Reagan was co-sponsored by Thomas Daschle (D.S.D.), Don Sundquist (R. Tenn.), and Benjamin Gilman (R. NY). It was signed by 79 Democrats and 32 Republicans.
An investigation into Waldheim’s war activities is continuing at the Justice Department, which is considering whether to bar the Austrian President-elect from entering this country.
The Department indicated last week that there had been a delay for at least several days on a decision whether to bar Waldheim from the United States. That decision is now expected to be reached by Attorney General Edwin Meese sometime this week, a Department spokesperson said.
A MASS OF MATERIAL
Reports here said however that attorneys representing Waldheim met with Justice Department officials and left such a mass of material in Waldheim’s defense that Department officials said it would take as much as a few weeks to study the material and reach a conclusion.
Department spokesperson John Russell told the JTA that he was unaware whether the material submitted in Waldeim’s defense included anything it had not already seen in explanation of Waldheim’s activities as an officer in the Wehrmacht.
NEW DOCUMENTATION RELEASED
Meanwhile, new information concerning Waldheim’s past activities emerged this week when the World Jewish Congress released in New York a captured Nazi document marked “secret” which was located by WJC researchers in the United States National Archives.
The document, an intelligence report that is reported to have gone to Waldheim, details the slaughter by German troops of women and children, the shooting of priests and teachers, as well as the destruction of an historic church in Greece.
The document, dated January 8, 1944, bears a “received” stamp of Waldheim’s office in Arsakli, Greece with the initial “W” in the “03” box. Waldheim has already acknowledged his 03 intelligence status in his memo to the Justice Department of April 6, 1986.
’03’ RATING EVALUATED
As 03, Waldheim was a senior intelligence officer. According to the authoritative analysis by American military intelligence, the 03 “was the deputy of the chief intelligence officer. He was responsible for all operational intelligence and the control of the intelligence staff.”
In his June II news conference in Vienna, Waldheim denied to reporters that he was “a German intelligence officer” and claimed he was “a sort of secretary and nothing more.”
A previously released German war document of December 1, 1943 showed that as 03, Waldheim’s responsibilities included morning and evening intelligence reports, prisoner interrogation, and special tasks, a euphemism in Nazi reports generally used to describe secret measures related to mass terror, torture or executions.
In a related development, the 55-member United States Holocaust Memorial Council has urged in a resolution that Reagan bar Waldheim from the U.S. pending an investigation of his war-time activities. He “should be declared persona non-grata,” the Council declared.