VIENNA (May. 18)
U.S. Justice Department officials Friday presented to Austrian Justice Minister Egmont Foregger the documents that led to Austrian President Kurt Waldheim’s ban from the United States.
U.S. Ambassador Ronald Lauder said the “extraordinary and unprecedented” action of explaining a U.S. internal decision was taken at Austria’s request.
The U.S. Justice Department placed Waldheim on a “Watch List,” barring his entry as a private citizen into the U.S., on April 27. President Reagan has pledged not to invite him as a head of state.
Waldheim, a former United Nations Secretary General, has admitted that he concealed part of his service as a Nazi officer, but claimed he took no part in war crimes. Yet in barring Waldheim, the Justice Department cited evidence that while serving in Yugoslavia, Waldheim ordered the murder of Jews, Gypsies, Serbs and resistance fighters.
PARLIAMENT SUPPORTS WALDHEIM
On Thursday, the Austrian Parliament approved a resolution championing Waldheim against his U.S. ban.
The declaration supports the government’s rejection of the U.S. decision and its subsequent recalling for consultations of the Austrian Ambassador to the U.S. The resolution also calls on the government to do everything necessary to help Waldheim in his defense and condemns all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism.
In the debate over the declaration, Foreign Minister Alois Mock noted that Waldheim had not received due process and ought to be considered innocent until proven otherwise.
Presenting a Jewish view of the Waldheim affair, Paul Gross, president of the Austrian Jewish Communities, said Friday he did not advocate Waldheim’s resignation since it could lead to accusations that Jews caused his fall. But he did urge Waldheim to admit his mistakes.
Gross added that the Jewish community receives a considerable amount of anti-Semitic mail and threatening letters.