VIENNA (Sep. 3)
The Austrian government had in 1971 completed a secret file on Kurt Waldheim, containing documentation of his Nazi past, but withheld it from scrutiny at the time when Waldheim was seeking to become Secretary General of the United Nations, according to the magazine Profil, which first broke the story on Waldheim’s past last March. Since then, the World Jewish Congress has unearthed numerous documents connecting Waldheim to Nazi activities before and during World War II.
The secret Waldheim file was reportedly assembled by Austrian army intelligence so that the government would be armed with information about Waldheim in the event that questions were raised about him in the course of his UN campaign.
The file, which is said to include details of Waldheim’s war service and his pre-war membership in Nazi organizations, “was a favorite topic of conversation” at army intelligence headquarters, where “agents were proud of their stock of compromising material about various VIP’s,” Profil reported According to Profil, the Waldheim file was to have been transferred last year to a newly-formed intelligence unit, but never arrived.
SOME AUSTRIAN OFFICIALS WERE ‘STONEWALLED’
Even some Austrian officials were “stonewalled” when they sought access to the Waldheim file from Austrian army intelligence in the 1970’s, Profil said. Indeed, the Israeli secret service was tracking down Waldheim’s past at the time, according to the magazine. “But the Israelis could not make any headway in Vienna, there was nothing to get out of the Army Intelligence Office or from the Chancellory,” Profil reported.
A spokesman for the WJC deplored the Austrian government’s “scandalous” failure to make available to the UN in 1971 the information it had gathered about the then-candidate for the post of UN Secretary General. “It now appears that the United Nations may have been deceived not only by Kurt Waldheim, but by the government of Austria as well,” the WJC said.