President Reagan yesterday vetoed a bill that would have allowed a Czechoslovak refugee to renew his fight for $2.5 million in compensation for property he claims to have lost to the communists after World War II.
Reagan, acting on the advice of four federal agencies, said Joseph Karel Hasek had been turned down by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, as had many others, as ineligible for compensation because he was not a U.S. citizen at the time his property was lost.
According to a spokesman for Del. Walter Fauntroy (D-D.C.), who sponsored the bill, Hasek worked for the United States in Czechoslovakia and this country after World War II. Hasek founded a Czechoslovak Chamber of Commerce in 1946, according to Steve Horblitt, who said Hasek also provided the State Department with information on a Soviet trade agreement with Czechoslovakia.
Hasek could not transfer his holdings to the United States before they were confiscated after the communist regime took power.
"The question was whether he was a U.S. citizen before his properties were confiscated," Horblitt said. "The evidence we saw showed that he was."
The claims commission, set up to compensate U.S. citizens who lost property in nationalization, rejected Hasek's claim in 1960, saying he was not a citizen when Czech authorities claimed his holdings.
The bill, Reagan said in a message to Congress, "seeks to provide special relief for one individual while ignoring the many thousands of United States citizens of Polish, Czechoslovakian, Yugoslavian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Hungarian and German heritage who have suffered like losses."