Waldheim Not Welcome In Canada
Undated (AP) _ Canada’s prime minister said he agreed with the U.S. decision to bar Austrian President Kurt Waldheim because of allegations he helped persecute Jews during World War II. But Britain said today the accusations against Waldheim have not been proved.
The official Soviet news agency Tass, meanwhile, suggested the ″unfriendly act″ by the United States was the result of pressure from Jewish groups.
The U.S. Justice Department on Monday put Waldheim on its ″Watchlist″ of undesirable aliens, saying evidence showed he aided in the deportation and execution of thousands of Jews and partisans while a lieutenant in the German army in Greece and Yugoslavia. It has not made public the evidence.
The 68-year-old Waldheim has denied the allegations. He was elected president of Austria, a largely ceremonial post, last June.
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir on Tuesday praised what he called a compromise by which the United States would not ignore allegations about Waldheim’s past despite ″some doubts in the American judicial system″ that they were proved.
In Ottawa, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said when asked Tuesday if Waldheim would be welcome in Canada: ″No, not at all.″
Canadian Foreign Minister Joe Clark later told the House of Commons there is no plan for Waldheim to visit Canada ″nor is there any intention on his part to visit Canada.″
Mulroney’s government announced last month that it will bring Nazi war criminals living in Canada to justice, estimating that 20 suspects require immediate action and another 218 cases should be investigated.
In London, a Foreign Office spokesman said today: ″British policy remains that the allegations against Dr. Waldheim have not been proved. As a democratically elected head of a friendly state, he would be afforded formal courtesies″ in Britain.
The spokesman, who in line with British custom did not want his name used, said he knew of no plans to invite Waldheim to Britain. But he said the Foreign Office saw no reason to bar a private visit.
The official Soviet news agency Tass called the U.S. decision ″an unfriendly act″ and suggested Jewish groups had pressed for it because of Waldheim’s actions as U.N. chief.
Waldheim was secretary-general of the United Nations from 1972-82.
″K. Waldheim actively advocated a Middle East settlement as U.N. secretary-general, which provoked the ire of the Zionists in the U.S.A., who launched a provocative campaign against him in the recent past,″ Tass said Tuesday. It did not elaborate.
Tass did not details the U.S. accusations against Waldheim, reporting only that the decision was taken because Waldheim ″had been called up by the Nazis during World War II in annexed Austria and served as an interpreter in the Wehrmacht.″
Jewish groups last year began publicizing charges that Waldheim was linked to Nazi atrocities in the Balkans. He at first denied being in the Balkans in World War II but later admitted he was there but denied any wrongdoing.
Austria’s coalition government issued a statement Tuesday supporting Waldheim and rejecting what it called ″unjustified accusations″ against him.