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legal division-we had a legal section as part of the DP Commission headquarters in Frankfurt-prepared what we called our list of organizations inimical to the United States in compliance with section 13. Section 13 I do not think reads specifically "people who persecuted others,” but I believe it does say admittance to the United States would be denied anyone who was a member of an organization inimical to the United States.
The legislation was I don't believe very clear on that, so we set about to try to identify which organizations we believed were inimical to the United States. Using basically the military automatic arrest category, which was issued to those of us who were in counterintelligence during the war and which we used in apprehending people as we marched across Europe, we included also in that list organizations which we knew had been cooperating with the Nazis in countries such as Hungary, Poland, all of the East European countries.
I cannot begin to try to recall them but there were numerous organizations like the Iron Cross and myriad others.
Mr. EILBERG. Mr. de Capua, we know that in many cases Nazis slipped through by using aliases.
Mr. DE CAPUA. Yes.
Mr. EILBERG. Did your check include fingerprint checks? How much of a check was there?
Mr. DE CAPUA. The check, as I mentioned before, was made at Heidelburg, which was a fingerprint check, if I remember correctly. Those fingerprints were maintained by 7th Army CID. I don't believe-I would say those fingerprint checks did not net us-well, I couldn't make a guess. I don't think they netted us very much in positive identification of any of the type of people you are describing.
Mr. EILBERG. Were the people detained? Were you under pressures to let them go before the checks came back?
Mr. DE CAPUA. There was a period of time when let me preface my answer by saying that this was a high-charged operation. From the moment we got there, there was pressure particularly from the voluntary agencies to get these people moving. I don't think in saying that the voluntary agencies wanted to aid and abet any war criminals, but they were interested in moving people. There was pressure also from various Members of the Congress who were intervening in behalf of displaced persons at the urging of their constituents.
We also were under pressure of filling ships, we had ships tied up. We had to get them to the dock within a certain period of time, at least we would try to keep the pipeline moving. I think there was a period of time when we had, if you will, a moratorium on the Berlin Document Center. In other words, the BDC check, as we called it. If that check were not in in time, and the displaced persons was otherwise ready to move and got his visa, he was permitted to take the ship with the proviso that the INS would eventually get the results of that check and if it turned up positive, the displaced persons could be returned to Europe.
I might add that INS did not always operate in Europe. We would send the displaced persons all the way to New York and the INS would have to just turn around and send them back.
Mr. EILBERG. How many cases were turned back? Do you have
Mr. DE CAPUA. No, I have no idea, sir. All I know from my orientation after leaving the commission, we have always—at least all of us prided ourselves on the fact that the percentage of people that turned out bad that got to the States was allegedly onequarter of 1 percent out of 400,000 people.
Mr. EILBERG. Vice President Barkely was quoted as making the following remarks about the displaced persons screening procedures:
There has never been, in my judgment, in the whole history of the United States, a more careful piece of machinery and inspection than is now in effect in regard to the administration of these displaced persons in the United States.
He went on to say: I do not know how there would be any better system of investigation by which it could be determined that those who are permitted to come are entitled to
In view of these glowing expressions, how do you account for the hundreds of alleged Nazi war criminals now in the United States who were admitted under the Displaced Persons Act?
Mr. DE CAPUA. I have been reading newspaper accounts. I have not seen any figure. I am surprised but I would like to point out in my orientation I believe what Vice President Barkley said. I think under the circumstances—and I think we ought to recognize that given the tumult in Europe, the wholesale destruction of documentation, records, ID's, the dislocation of millions of people, it was darned difficult for us to really get a handle on what these people may have done before. As I say, I am not aware of the number of people who may have gotten in who were Nazis, but I would like to point out to this committee that I am not so certain that they came through the Displaced Persons Act. I will be the first to say it was possible because of the circumstances, but I would like to remind the committee there were other avenues for these people to get into the United States. Unless the documentation specifically shows that they came through the Displaced Persons Commission alone, then I have to defer an answer. I say it is possible. You must recall that the Truman directive of 1945 until the DP Commission went into business in 1948 permitted hundreds of so-called German persecutees to come into this country, and I don't believe there was anywhere near the effort we made to clear those people.
Mr. EiLBERG. Mr. de Capua, for your own information, of the 12 cases presently under prosecution for denaturalization or deportation, 8 of the 12 came in through the Displaced Persons Act.
Mr. DE CAPUA. In what period of time; do you know that?
Mr. DE CAPUA. As I said before, this is the first I have had a specific figure. As I also stated before, it would not have been entirely impossible because despite our checks there was skulduggery starting with the IRO down through even our visa people. I am sure we could have been dooped on some of these cases.
Mr. EILBERG. Did you ever have any doubts that you were receiving full and complete cooperation from all the Government agencies you were using as sources of information, that is, the FBI, the CIC, the CIA, the INS, as well as foreign intelligence and police services of the British, French and Italians?
Mr. DE CAPUA. Sir, I have no reason to question any of the services. I think we got excellent cooperation. I know of no instance, at least known to me anyway, of any skulduggery on anyone's part. The word conspiracy has been used here. I disown that. I can't accept there was any kind of conspiracy. There may have been ineptitude or just plain skulduggery on the part of the applicant, but I know of no instance where there was any skulduggery on the part of our officials.
Mr. EILBERG. In that respect, in your opinion do you think that perhaps some of these agencies were being less than frank with you and your people?
Mr. DE CAPUA. No, sir.
Mr. EILBERG. I also noted that in addition to checking the Berlin Document Center and the fingerprint record center in Heidelberg, you ran special investigations in connection with displaced persons whose country of origin had been overrun by Communists. First of all, what was the fingerprint record in Heidelberg?
Mr. DE CAPUA. I think I mentioned that, sir. It was run by 7th Army, if I recall correctly, and it was essentially a repository for cases which had been criminally prosecuted or came to the attention of the police for one reason or another but essentially a criminal activity run by the provost marshal, I should say.
Mr. EILBERG. How were these special investigations carried out on persons whose country of origin had been overrun?
Mr. DE CAPUA. My memory is weak on that one. I have to assume, or rather, I think I recall that what we did with cases of this sort was that these people were subjected to interrogation by members of our security staff who had been at onetime nationals of that country. I might add that a large number of the people on the Displaced Persons Commission staff including the security staff had been refugees at one time from Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the like. They had been drafted into the Army—they had immigrated to the States before the war or just in the early part of the war, and became members of the U.S. Army, citizens as a result of their service, and when they were getting ready to leave the U.S. forces in Europe we hired many of them by virtue of their knowledge of the country, whether Poland, Hungary, and the language knowledge which we needed badly in the interrogation.
To answer your question, the special investigations, if I recall correctly, were conducted by these security investigators who had knowledge of the political hierarchy in the country, knew the geography of the country and could check the bona fides of the displaced person applicant. It was the best way of catching him in lies by posing the right kind of questions by someone who was conversant with the country,
Mr. EILBERG. What role did the international refugee organizations play in setting eligibility standards and in the investigative process of these displaced persons?
Mr. DE CAPUA. I would like to almost decline to answer that because I really don't know the answer to that. This is a question that the coordinator of the Displaced Persons Commission can answer better for you some day. I can't believe it could have been much of a screening because, as I think the first witness mentioned, these people appeared in displaced persons camps and alleged to be displaced persons. I think they came practically—well, in a lot of cases without any documentation whatsoever. I don't see how the IRO could have conducted a thorough investigation, and I am not certain that they did. I think many times they were accepted at face value. I am not certain of that. I want to be careful on that. I think so. They made an attempt to document this. How successful they were I don't know. I think the onus for determining whether these people were bona fide was essentially the Displaced Persons Commission in its screening procedures.
Mr. EILBERG. The Soviet Union was a member of the International Refugee organization and their attitude on Nazi war criminals was well known. My question is, was any attempt made to establish a liaison with Soviet officials to check out persons who may have been involved in war crimes?
Mr. DE CUPUA. Mr. Chairman, I can't recall that any effort was made; whether it was a lack of interest by the Commission, I am not prepared to say at this point.
I am inclined to believe, however if it did occur to the so-called management of the Displaced Persons Commission, if you will, it probably was discarded as being useless, since I think if you recall the dates of the Displaced Persons Commission, 1948 to 1952, we are talking essentially about the beginning of the cold war and any attempt to get cooperation I think would have been one, useless, even though it may have involved war criminals.
Even had they cooperated, I think the procedure would have been so drawn out, that is the product or what we would have gotten from them, that the Displaced Persons Act would have been over by the time we got any kind of response from them.
Mr. EILBERG. How?
Mr. EILBERG. What is your reaction to the fact that the Soviets apparently are willing to cooperate at the present time?
Mr. DE CAPUA. I find that very positive, sir; I think it's a positive development.
Mr. EiLBERG. But times have changed.
Mr. DE CAPUA. I would say times have changed. As I say, when we are talking about displaced persons and refugees, I think we should never forget what a different world that was in 1948, not only politically but just the whole picture of Europe was in turmoil and if you were there, sir, as I was, and I think a number of or a member of your staff was, you recall what we were up against in trying to do the job we had to do.
Mr. EILBERG. Now, there has been reference to this before, but I would like to go into it a little further. I understand that at a certain point in the displaced persons program pressures from the voluntary agencies prompted you to adopt a policy of calculated risk, in other words, if the investigation was not complete, the person was approved on the basis of taking the calculated risk that that applicant would qualify.
Can you tell me more about that, and is it possible that a number of these persons presently under investigation may have entered because of this policy?
Mr. DE CAPUA. I recall very faintly the expression "calculated risk.” I think it was first used in testimony by one of the Commissioners of the Displaced Persons Commission. It was something that cause some merriment abroad. I recall that much.
It was essentially where the moratorium on the BDC check, in other words, because of the length of time it was taking to get these results in and because we had to fill boats and because we were being prodded by the voluntary agencies, it was decided by management, I believe Washington management, that we would, and I can say with the concurrence of the European coordinator, that we would let the displaced persons go, processed displaced persons go to the States and be sent back by the INS if eventually the BDC check proved positive.
I think the onus was on the INS to go looking for them, and I dare say the voluntary agency would have to come up with the individual.
Mr. EILBERG. We noted that one of the procedures used by the Displaced Persons Commission was to send to the consuls, and INS the complete original CIC report on the applicants. We can conclude from that that INS would have in its file the original CIC report on all persons past and present under investigation by INS based on allegations of participation in Nazi war crimes who came into the United States under the Displaced Persons Act. Is that correct, or were there exceptions made?
Mr. DE CAPUA. The question I believe is the original CIC report would be a part of the INS file even today.
Mr. EILBERG. Yes.
Mr. DE CAPUA. To the best of my orientation, I would say yes, it would have to be.
Mr. EILBERG. Were there exceptions made?
Mr. EILBERG. The amended act in 1950 gave authority to the consuls and Immigration inspectors to review the eligibility determinations of the Commission and IRO's decision on IRO's status. Can you explain why Congress saw fit to impose this requirement?
Mr. DE CAPUA. I am sorry, sir, I didn't get the question.
Mr. EILBERG. The amended act in 1950 gave authority to the consuls and Immigration inspectors to review the eligibility determinations of the Commission and IRO's decision on IRO status. Can you explain why Congress saw fit to impose this requirement?
Mr. DE CAPUA. I am afraid I have to pass, sir. I can't answer that in all honesty.
Mr. EILBERG. Do you have any idea what effect this new measure had on providing better screening on individuals seeking to enter the United States?
Mr. DE CAPUA. Again, I don't know the answer to that. My own reaction to that is no, I don't think it would have made any difference, because I think the people that we had doing the same job were much better equipped, both languagewise and knowledge