U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim said yesterday that the appointment of a Soviet citizen to operations would be delayed pending investigation of allegations that he is a member of the Soviet KGB intelligence service.
The accused man, Geli Dneprovski, was scheduled to become director of U.N. personnel in Europe later this month.
The Swiss government also said it was "closely studying" a Soviet request for diplomatic credentials for Dneprovsky.
Recent press reports said that Dneprovski had been identified as a colonel in the KGB by Soviet diplomat Vladimir Rezun, who defected to Britain last month. U.S. Ambassador William van den Heuvel on Tuesday filed an objection against the appointment of Dneprovsky who now is stationed at U.N. looking into the matter." Waldheim told a press conference. The U.N. staff in New York was consulting Dneprovsky, he said.
"He himself has to express himself in regard to these allegations," the secretary general said. "That is only fair."
Waldheim denied that he personally had appointed Dneprovsky, an employe of the United Nations for 12 years, to the Geneva post.
"I found out aboout this only after arriving in Geneva at the weekend. I did not approve anything," he said.
Key U.N. jobs are awarded on a quota basis, with member countries receiving a certain number of such positions. Governments provide a short list of candidate and the United Nations has to accept one of them.
Waldheim said that no charges had been made against Dneprovsky at any other time during his U.N. service. U.N. statutes forbid its staff from taking instructions from outside bodies or governments or releasing information to them which has not been made public.
The London Daily Telegraph, one of the newspapers that made allegations against Dneprovski said: "If Dneprovski takes up his new job the KGB will be able to ensure that nobody is appointed to a senior job in the United Nations without their approval."