Ireland Rejects Waldheim Visit

In response to statements by President Kurt Waldheim’s spokesman in Vienna that his first foreign visit would be to Ireland, officials of the Irish Foreign Ministry said that the government had not considered the possibility and certainly did not foresee such a visit within the next year, the World Jewish Congress reported.

Ireland’s small Jewish community had expressed outrage at the possibility of a Waldheim visit, which Waldheim’s spokesman had said would be in response to the invitation issued by Irish President Patrick Hillery to Waldheim’s predecessor following his visit to Vienna last year.

“Obviously it was the position of President of Austria that was invited, not the person,” Dr. Joseph Briscoe of Ireland’s Jewish Representative Council said. “The person who holds that office now is, until such time as he proves otherwise, discrediting the position. I would not like to see him visit.”

Irish officials noted that there was ordinarily a three year period before reciprocal visits of heads of state and therefore a Waldheim visit could be likely until 1989, according to accepted diplomatic practice.

Waldheim has already stated he would not make any foreign visits for the next year and his spokesman said that apart from the projected trip to Ireland he was unaware of any other foreign invitations to Waldheim.

Briscoe said a Waldheim visit would harm Ireland’s international standing, adding, “I have great faith that our government will make the right decision as it did when it refused the Dutch war criminal Peter Menten permission to return here.”

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 Specia Investigations concluded that under American law, Waldheim should be excluded as a “Nazi persecutor.”

Meanwhile, the Canadian government has stated that no invitation for Waldheim to visit Canada is under consideration. In a letter from Joe Clark, Canadian Minister for External Affairs, to David Matas of B’nai B’rith Canada, Clark stated, “I can confirm that there are at present no plans to invite him to Canada, nor has he expressed a desire to visit this country.”

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