NEW YORK (Aug. 5)
Kurt Waldheim’s election as President of Austria violates that country’s state treaty — its most important constitutional document – which bars former members of Nazi organizations from membership in the armed forces, the World Jewish Congress has reported. Waldheim became commander-in-chief of the Austrian armed forces when he was sworn in as President last month.
In letters to Secretary of State George Shultz, Sen. Pete Wilson (R.-Calif.) and Rep. Stephen Solarz (D.-N.Y.) urged the State Department to intervene with Austria on the treaty violations.
The Austrian State Treaty of 1955 constituted undertakings by Austria to the United States, France, Britain and the Soviet Union in order to end its post-war Allied occupation and reemerge as an independent nation.
Several clauses deal with the dissolution of Nazi organizations in Austria. Article 12 specifically prohibits service in the Austrian armed forces by persons who had at any time belonged to the SA — Hitler’s brown-shirted storm-troopers. Waldheim has denied having a Nazi past, but documents released in recent months show he had been a member of the SA.
The four nations have compelled Austria to comply with the provisions of the treaty in the past, according to the World Jewish Congress. In the 1960s, the Soviet Union successfully invoked the neutrality provisions of the 1955 treaty to prevent Austria from joining the European Economic Community.
LAWMAKERS PROVIDE DOCUMENTS
In their letters to Shultz, Solarz and Wilson provided documents containing Waldheim’s photograph and signature, as evidence that the former UN Secretary General was a member of several Nazi organizations, including the SA.
Calling on the Administration to pressure Austria to comply with the provision by forcing Waldheim either to relinquish his office or formally denounce Nazi principles, Solarz wrote:
“If the terms of this treaty are plainly violated in this fashion, it will not only call into question the validity of one of the most important multilateral diplomatic agreements since the end of the Second World War, but it will also undermine the credibility of our own commitment to complete the process of denazification.”
In New York, the World Jewish Congress again called on Attorney General Edwin Meese “to enforce the law and place Waldheim on the ‘watch list’ of aliens excludable from the United States.”
In April, the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI) concluded that under American law, Waldheim should be barred from the United States as a “Nazi persecutor.” The agency has not yet decided whether to adopt the OSI recommendation.
But Department spokesman John Russell told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Tuesday that no decision was expected soon. He said that Justice Department officials were waiting for additional “information” from Waldheim’s attorneys in Washington, and that the material was not expected to be submitted before the end of the month.
Thomas Carroccio, one of Waldheim’s attorneys, declined any comment on the nature of the information he would submit or on any other aspects of the case.