The Justice Department plans to meet with lawyers for Austrian presidential candidate Kurt Waldheim to allow them to rebut allegations that would bar him from entering the United States, a department spokesman said yesterday. The allegations involve his activities with the German army during World War II.
The meeting, probably this week, will clear the way for Attorney General Edwin Meese III to make a final decision on whether Waldheim should be placed on a "watch list" of aliens excluded from the United States, spokesman Patrick Korten said.
Waldheim, secretary general of the United Nations from 1972 to 1982, is in a runoff election scheduled Sunday. Korten said: "The decision will be made without regard to the date of the election, the fact of the election or, if it's already been held, the outcome."
Two months ago, Neal Sher, director of the department's Office of Special Investigations, recommended that Waldheim be barred from the country under a 1978 law aimed at aliens who took part in Nazi war crimes. Sher's boss, Stephen S. Trott, head of the department's Criminal Division, is to make a final recommendation to Meese.
Until recently, Waldheim concealed his wartime service in the Balkans, the scene of widespread atrocities against Jews and Yugoslav partisans.
The World Jewish Congress has made public several documents linking Waldheim to reprisals against Yugoslavs in 1944 and disclosed last week that the U.N. War Crimes Commission had urged unsuccessfully that Waldheim be tried for murder.
Korten said the Justice Department has almost finished collecting evidence in the case but is still reviewing some U.N. archives.