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State Dept. Nixes Austria’s Request for Help on Bronfman Libel Suit

April 28, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Justice Department is refusing to help Austrian President Kurt Waldheim prepare a libel suit against World Jewish Congress President Edgar Bronfman.

John Russell, a Justice Department spokesman, acknowledged that Waldheim had asked for assistance in preparing a slander case against Bronfman, but said the department declined because it would constitute a “conflict of interest.”

Russell explained that the conflict existed because the department had been compiling “adverse information” about Waldheim, and had placed him on its “watch list” prohibiting entry into the United States.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Austria’s chief prosecutor is gathering evidence to sue Bronfman for accusing Waldheim of being “part and parcel of the Nazi killing machine” during World War II.

Those comments were made when Bronfman arrived in Budapest, Hungary for a meeting of the World Jewish Congress’s governing board in May 1987.

A similar statement by Bronfman appeared in an op-ed piece in The Times Feb. 14, in which Bronfman called Waldheim “a liar and an unrepentant man who was part and parcel of the Nazi killing machine.”

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