VIENNA, JULY 3 -- The U.S. Embassy and Austria's two major literary organizations today protested publication of an article in this country's most widely-read newspaper that suggested racial integration in the United States is leading to a decline in intelligence, higher crime and rising drug abuse.
The Austrian branch of the international PEN Club declared that the article by Wolf Martin in Sunday's Neue Kronen Zeitung, which took the form of a poem, was "an attempt to spread fascist ideology subliminally".
The protests were the latest over the newspaper's use of language appealing to racist and anti-Semitic sentiment. Neue Kronen Zeitung has a daily circulation of 1.3 million and has been a staunch defender of President Kurt Waldheim against charges of involvement in Nazi war crimes while serving in the German army during World War II.
"An overly colorful mixture of peoples," wrote Martin in the poem -- which rhymes in its German-language original -- "doesn't seem to be very rejuvenating."
The PEN Club said in its protest that the implication by Martin that racial integration somehow violated natural laws echoed Nazi propaganda employed in Austria after its takeover by Germany in 1938.
U.S. Embassy press attache Cynthia Efird said officials there "immediately sent a letter in protest to the Kronen Zeitung."
The newspaper's editor in chief, Friedrich Dragon, said the PEN protest letter and another received from the Authors Collective of Graz would be published later this week. "I did not read it in advance," he said of the poem, adding, "It is too simplistic."
Austria's Jewish community has repeatedly assailed the newspaper for allegedly seeking to gain popularity by exploiting anti-Semitism and expressing antipathy toward immigrants from Austria's neighboring East European states.