VIENNA, FEB. 3 -- A historians' commission probing Kurt Waldheim's wartime past urged Yugoslavia today to help obtain a document that a West German magazine says implicates the Austrian president in Nazi war crimes.
"The commission urgently appeals to the government of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to furnish the originals for examination," the six-member panel said in a letter to the Yugoslav embassy in Vienna.
The document, reproduced Monday in the newsweekly Der Spiegel, purports to be a 1942 telegram sent by a German army officer saying Waldheim ordered the deportation of more than 4,000 civilians from Mount Kozara in Yugoslavia.
Commission member Manfred Messerschmidt went to Yugoslavia yesterday to authenticate the document but failed to find it in archives in Zagreb or Belgrade. "It's in someone's pocket. We don't know whose," commission chairman Hans Rudolf Kurz told reporters.
Waldheim said in a newspaper interview that he could not remember the cable but "even if the authenticity of this document were proved, then one must examine closer this type of transport. In every war there are prisoners and refugees."
He said that there were many refugees in Kozara. "From this one cannot construct a proximity to war crimes on my part."