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Their job was to find people in the United States who would sponsor them for residence and give them a job. That was a very, very difficult job to perform.
So that after we had the investigation of the people and the sponsorship, we would-and if the investigation looked all rightwe would send it over to the visa officer who would then interview the individual and an Immigration and Naturalization Service officer had a separate interview with them, questioned them about the investigation and then, if they looked all right, that is from the standpoint of the investigative file, if they had passed a health test-and there were a lot of rejections, incidentally, as I recall, on health-and if they had a sponsor they would be issued a visa.
Mr. EILBERG. Mr. Gerety, can you say that there were no persons denied admission because of membership in the Nazi Party?
Mr. GERETY. Could I say that? Mr. EILBERG. Could you say that? Mr. GERETY. No; I would guess, without having specific knowledge of any case, that there were people who were denied admission because of suspected Nazi association.
Mr. EILBERG. And your guess is based on what?
Mr. GERETY. My knowledge of the investigations that took place and all of the kinds of material we dug up in these cases.
Mr. EILBERG. What you are saying is you don't remember from your present knowledge?
Mr. GERETY. Sitting here today, I can't remember any specific case of rejection. There were thousands of rejections.
Mr. EILBERG. Including
Mr. GERETY. Including all of the grounds you have mentioned. Of that I have no doubt. But to say how many, I don't know.
Mr. EILBERG. I yield to Ms. Holtzman.
Just to follow up the line of questioning of the chairman, you pointed out in your testimony that you remembered that health was a serious problem.
You pointed out in your testimony that you remember getting the sponsors was a serious problem. But you have no memory at all with respect to any problems regarding the admission of Nazi war criminals?
Mr. GERETY. No; that isn't what I said. Ms. HOLTZMAN. Tell me what your memory is on that. Mr. GERETY. I said we had a list of organizations that would disqualify an applicant for a visa, and these organizations included Nazi organizations, Communist organizations, other organizations, I don't know what I would call them at this distance removed from Greece and Italy and so forth.
All of these organizations were on our proscribed lists. And if the investigation turned up anything in that line, they were automatically refused.
Ms. HOLTZMAN. What about people
Mr. GERETY. You are asking to me focus on the Nazis as though this was the principal focus. It was not. There were many of them.
Ms. HOLTZMAN. Was it a principal focus?
Mr. GERETY. No; we were focusing on all of the organizations which had been agreed ought to be on the list.
Ms. HOLTZMAN. What about people who engaged in war crimes who may not have been members of any organization that was proscribed? You don't have any recollection of any of those cases?
Mr. GERETY. I assume the CIC would have gotten that or the Ministry in Germany, to the extent they wanted to cooperate, would have gotten it, and certainly the Berlin Document Center maintained by the U.S. Government would have it. That is the greatest repository of information on Nazis.
Ms. HOLTZMAN. Let me turn to the problem of Eastern European refugees. I take it from your testimony there was no effort to obtain any background information from Eastern European countries or the Soviet Union; is that correct?
Mr. GERETY. Not from the countries themselves, but a lot of material was assembled in Austria and Germany.
Ms. HOLTZMAN. What kinds of materials?
Mr. GERETY. It was all one Germany then, you know, before the war.
Ms. HOLTZMAN. So that you had all of the files dealing with, for example, atrocities committed by local police at the direction of the Nazis in eastern European countries in Austria and Germany?
Mr. GERETY. We didn't, but I believe the U.S. Government has all of that information available to it at the Berlin Document Center, even today. Now, it does not mean, incidentally, Ms. Holtzman, that every file, every file center has all of the information about every person that possibly had done something.
I say that there are undoubtedly people who could have passed the test by not being exposed as a member of anything.
Ms. HOLTZMAN. I find it hard to understand your testimony, because we are now discovering, of course, that the Berlin Document Center has some information, but certainly not all of the information or even the bulk of information dealing with war crimes committed in eastern European countries or the Soviet Union.
Mr. GERETY. We went to the places that were available to us.
Ms. HOLTZMAN. [Continuing). Information aside from what was in the Berlin Document Center with respect to war crimes committee in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
Mr. GERETY. No; I said the Berlin Document Center--
Mr. GERETY. As a matter of fact, and the CIC, which was in control, the Army was running Germany in those days—
Ms. HOLTZMAN. So if you had all of this information, then why were these people permitted into the United States against whom the Government has now brought proceedings?
How do you explain these cases?
Mr. GERETY. I have not heard anybody_named as having come into the United States under the Refugee Relief Act who is a Nazi war criminal.
Ms. HOLTZMAN. I think 12 proceedings have been brought alto gether. Some of which came under that act.
Mr. GERETY. Did it say that in the report? Your letter says that, but there were no specifications given. All I can say is we brought in about 200,000 people; we checked them all, and if a few, and I admittedly say in my testimony, of course, it's possible some people came in who shouldn't have come in-
Ms. HOLTZMAN. I think we would be on much safer ground, Mr. Gerety, if you would concede the fact that the information that was held in the Berlin Document Center and by the Ministry of Interior and so forth was to some extent limited with respect to war crimes committed in Poland, Rumania, Hungary, the Ukraine, and Latvia.
Mr. GERETY. If that is what you are asking me to admit, of course, I didn't understand your question that way.
I say I don't believe for a minute that the information was complete in those files any more than I believe that the information is complete in the files of the FBI in this country about people who have committed crimes.
Ms. HOLTZMAN. Do you think the information was more complete about persons of German nationality? Would your files have been more complete with respect to persons who lived in Germany or who had German nationality than they were with respect to Polish nationals, or Rumanian nationals?
Mr. GERETY. I would think that is probable.
Ms. HOLTZMAN. Given these loopholes in your files with respect to persons of the Eastern European origin, did you adopt any additional procedures to determine whether or not these persons had engaged in war crimes or did you just use the exact same procedures you used for persons who were German citizens?
Mr. GERETY. I don't think we had any special procedures, not that I remember.
Ms. HOLTZMAN. So you didn't do anything to compensate for a certain lack of information with respect to backgrounds of those from Eastern Europe?
Mr. GERETY. No.
Ms. HOLTZMAN. I don't have any further questions, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. EILBERG. Mr. Gerety, precisely what instructions were sent to your investigative units on complying with section 14?
Mr. GERETY. Mr. Rieger I think ought to answer that because he was in the program right from the beginning and specifically dealt with the intergovernmental agencies here or committee here that settled on the security procedures.
Mr. RIEGER. At the outset of the program we met with the Intergovernmental Committee for Internal Security, which has, I don't know whether it even exists anymore, for that matter, and which consisted of representatives at that time of all of the intelligence and counterintelligence elements in our Government and in Washington.
We presented to them our standards and our criteria under the specifications of the Refugee Relief Act for investigation and they approved them.
We could not proceed before ICIS had approved these standards and methods of operations. Those in turn, when approved, were sent out to the investigative elements we had stationed in the various places Mr. Gerety has mentioned overseas, and those became the standards under which the investigators proceeded on their own in cooperation with the police and the Ministry of Interior elements of the various Governments where we operate.
Mr. EILBERG. I am sorry. Are you aware a number of individuals under investigation by INS for allegedly participating in the Nazi war crimes entered the United States under the Refugee Relief Act of 1953?
Mr. GERETY. I know that from your letter and from what Ms. Holtzman said.
Mr. EILBERG. How would you explain this in view of your extensive screening efforts?
Mr. GERETY. I think that the screening, to some extent, was imperfect, and will always be imperfect.
Mr. EILBERG. But you have no real recollection of how many persons were denied entry-
Mr. GERETY. No; I don't know that we kept any statistics on numbers refused.
Mr. RIEGER. Oh, yes.
Mr. RIEGER. Those statistics would be available at the various stations overseas which were compiled at the end of the program. But you would have to refer to the State Department's records or those of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Mr. EILBERG. Can you recall any instances where a U.S. Government agency interceded on behalf of any individuals who have been specifically barrred from admission under section 14?
Mr. GERETY. None.
Mr. EILBERG. The point is we are very much interested in the number of persons refused admission under section 14.
Can you tell us again where we might go to find that?
Mr. RIEGER. As I said, the records of the State Department and Immigration and Naturalization Service. That program was unique in that there was a joint signature required for the issuance of each visa, one by the visa officer and one by the Immigration officer, and they jointly signed before a visa issued, and I think you would find the records in either or both of the organizations.
Mr. EILBERG. In another area, Mr. Gerety, I gather that one of your major problems in starting operations under this act was to get governments to agree to the issuance of guarantees of return certificates.
Can you explain to the subcommittee what a guarantee of return certificate was?
Mr. GERETY. I can't even remember the phrase.
Mr. RIEGER. We did have difficulty. But I can't recall now what the specifics were. It seems to me it had to do with the question of returning persons who were not deemed to be eligible to stay in this country, whether we could get a guarantee from the countries that they would take them back.
This, of course, was a very difficult procedural arrangement. I cannot any longer comment on the specifics.
Mr. EILBERG. Do you recall, if there was a guarantee of return in every case, or only in particular cases?
In other words, when was a guarantee of return required? Was this for every applicant or only for some.
Mr. RIEGER. I can no longer comment on that. I can't recall.
Mr. EILBERG. It is my understanding that every person who arrived in the United States was required to have such a certificate in his permanent file with the INS.
Does that ring any bell with you?
Mr. RIEGER. It sounds like what was done at the time and, again, I can only refer you to the INS files to establish that.
Mr. EILBERG. Well, based upon your recollection there, can we conclude that INS at any time should have in the files of each individual a guarantee of return certificate?
Mr. RIEGER. Mr. Chairman, if it was a requirement that we have it in order to proceed, we must have gotten it and it must exist.
Mr. EILBERG. But you are just reasoning, you don't know from your own recollection at this point?
Mr. GERETY. I can say this, that I don't remember that as being any particular problem, whatever that requirement may have been. I just remember that as one of the problems we dealt with.
Mr. RIEGER. It was in the early stages. Mr. GERETY. Maybe before I took over, that may have been part of the problem.
Mr. EILBERG. If they were required then and they do exist, they have particular significance as far as the work of this subcommittee on this subject.
Mr. GERETY. That's correct, and it should be with the INS admissions file.
Mr. EILBERG. They may provide a basis for expediting the socalled alleged Nazi war criminal cases.
Another question which I have to ask, in your estimation, if one could prove deliberate falsification or misstatements which led to the individual's entry into the United States, would the guarantee of return be operative?
Mr. GERETY. I just don't have any recollection about the guarantee of return, I am sorry.
Mr. RIEGER. My answer is, I presume so.
Can you explain why no effort was made to obtain any information from Eastern European countries on the backgrounds of persons who were of Eastern European or Russian origin prior to granting them a visa to come to the United States to determine whether or not they had engaged in acts of persecution or atrocities?
Mr. GERETY. I have to defer to John. He knows more about that.
Mr. RIEGER. I think, Ms. Holtzman, the answer to that would probably be we would have the same difficulty at this time as you