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in West Germany is not anti-Nazi, or not to prosecute Nazis, because whether you like it or not, they have survived.
They have, since we handed back the reins of government to West Germany. We have a number, and numbers and numbers of Nazi war criminals in vital areas of the Government and in the various States. We do have it. So that it's no wonder that West Germany is not rather anxious to pursue Nazi war criminals; they want to forget.
Mr. EILBERG. Mr. DeVito, during your trip to Russia, you visited Eastern Europe, including the Soviet Union on this question of alleged Nazi war criminals.
From press reports it appears you have received complete cooperation from those governments. Can you tell us the extent of your investigation in those countries?
Mr. DEVITO. Sure. First of all, understand one thing: We know that I am associated with a grand jury probe on a Nazi matter. That has been publicized, which is to say the defense lawyer notified the press, so I am not revealing anything new.
This is going to touch on, if you people think that we have now solved the solution, you are wrong about the precise thing that Immigration is and the State Department are engaged in, you are totally wrong. And I will tell you why.
I have knowledge of a Nazi case whereby the system presently being employed didn't work in this Nazi case. Namely, a report, once the so-called summary and the request had gone to Russia, the Russians supposedly came back and said that this person, this Nazi, was a member of a punitive battalion and they refused to give any further evidence in the matter.
Well, if you understand the Russians and the Poles, this is not them. When we speak about atrocities, we saw in documentaries, in books we are speaking about the places where these atrocities took place. So, when that kickback came back from Russia, the State Department relayed it to Immigration. Immigration was looking for any excuse to close out the case. They closed it out immediately.
Through the Freedom of Information Act they provided the defense counsel those documents, State Department provided them, and this defense counsel, in an erroneous matter, is flashing them before the press media saying, “See, my man is clear, my man is clear", and turns around and sues the U.S. Government, me and others, such as you know.
Now, I was not satisfied with that response from the Russians. I said this is not the Russian Government. I made an effort to contact certain Russian officials. Also the Poles I knew since 1972. We have been going back and forth, but the Russian Government, I didn't know.
It was arranged whereby I met some of their officials, and I requested permission to go over there and, if I go over there would they cooperate and, in short, they said, yes.
Incidentally, Russian officials are well aware of Ms. Holtzman, and Congressman Eilberg, and they hold you both in high esteem, and they are on top of the situation on these hearings and other matters.
So, I did go over there, and I brought back a load of documentation, I got wonderful cooperation from the Russians and the Poles in Warsaw. I brought back a load of damaging documentation. I went there a second time, 2 months later, brought back more. Again excellent cooepration.
I can tell you in all sincerity we have a prima facie case, in my opinion, of not only denaturalization but deportation and prosecution.
Mr. EILBERG. Did you interview eye witnesses behind the Iron Curtain?
Mr. DEVIto. No; I did not. I did not interview them. I made an effort in that direction and they told me I would be wasting my time. But the last time I was there I was told if I want to I could go. But I said if there should be a third time for me going over there they would make these witnesses available. I have already forewarned them that in all probability an assistant U.S. attorney will travel over here, will interview these witnesses and determine their value to the ongoing proceedings. And they are aware of that, and they were willing to cooperate.
Yes; they would make these witnesses available to me, even though, mind you, I am a civilian, I have no authority, I am a civilian. I went there on nongovernmental funds.
Mr. EILBERG. I would like to observe at this point for the record, Mr. DeVito, that when our subcommittee visited the Soviet Union in 1975-
Mr. DEVITO. Yes, very good, congratulations.
Mr. EILBERG. We, Ms. Holtzman and I and our subcommittee extracted a commitment from Michel Malyarov, the Deputy Procurator of the Soviet Union, that he would allow our investigators to go into the Soviet Union and interview eyewitnesses. He also agreed that those eyewitnesses, would be permitted to come to the United States to testify in appropriate proceedings. That was in 1975.
It has taken up to this week to implement those arrangements. In fact, the members of the special unit are at this time in the Soviet Union interviewing witnesses.
Mr. DEVITO. They have gone, they left.
Mr. Eilberg It has taken over 3 years, since we secured that commitment, for our Government to act on them. It's taken too long.
Mr. DEVITO. Right. Yes; that was a good move on your part.
Mr. DeVito, on the case that you indicate the State Department said there was no information, were you able to find, derogatory information on this individual during your trip?
Mr. DEVIro. Definitely. We got the goods. We have a prima facie case of denaturalization and prosecution.
Now, I am a civilian. I can't do it, obviously. But it's up to the U.S. attorney's office now to move. They have been provided with the ammunition.
Ms. HOLTZMAN. Mr. DeVito, one more question.
Did you have any experience during World War II that led you to feel particularly concerned about how our Government was responding to these cases of Nazi war criminals in the United States?
Mr. DEVITO. During World War II?
Mr. DeVito. After. Well, I have kept abreast of the situation throughout the years. And I was aware of the superficial attitude of the West German judicial authorities concerning pursuit of Nazi war criminals. There was a gentleman by the name of Oscar Karbach of the World Jewish Congress who gave me the key data that I was looking for all of these years.
In response to these criticisms, the West German Government kept increasing their funds for, their judicial funds, especially concerning war criminals, and what they did to advertise this effort, to counter the criticism, they kept sending investigating magistrates abroad, especially in the United States here and there, and this gave off the impression that West Germany was indeed interested in pursuing and keeping up to their promise to pursue them to the end of the Earth, so that survivors would be called into the German Council and elsewhere and statements were taken from them.
These survivors would naturally go back home and say, look at the West German Government officials, they are really interested in doing this and that, but Oscar Karbach told me don't believe it, Mr. DeVito, this is a picture. He, as a matter of fact, in the Ryan case, he asked me what are your plans in the Ryan case, and I said, we are going for a strong deportation case, and we are going for an extradition request through the Polish Government behind the scenes.
He said, do that, he says, don't mind the German effort; he says, it's all a front. Well, it just so happens that in this particular case, thanks to an investigating magistrate by the name of Halbach, Germany did, in fact, go all out. But I say in all sincerity Germany got moving in the case after it was known Poland was interested in her extradition and West Germany really did Ryan a favor by moving.
Ms. HOLTZMAN. Thank you.
Mr. EILBERG. Mr. DeVito, we are indeed very grateful for your contribution here today, and it is our intention to follow up with the suggestions and leads you have provided us.
Once again, we invite you to be in touch with our subcommittee staff. We know you have only scratched the surface, you cannot do that much in an hour or so, but we would like to pursue the matter and, with your cooperation, we will be better able to exercise oversight over the Immigration Service, which is also our job as well as your interest.
So, thank you once again, for coming.
Our next witness will be Mr. James F. Greene, former Deputy Commissioner, Immigration and Naturalization Service.
While he is coming up to the witness stand let me say that we have known Mr. Greene for all of our time in the Congress and
seldom have we had contact with a person who has greater integrity and greater knowledge. He has on some occasions contributed to our work, and we are delighted to see you again, Jim, and hope you are enjoying your retirement and wish that you were back here helping us with this very serious job. TESTIMONY OF MR. JAMES F. GREENE, FORMER DEPUTY COM
MISSIONER, IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE Mr. GREENE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. EILBERG. You may proceed with any statement or summary that you wish, and then we have a number of questions we would like to ask you.
Mr. GREENE. Mr. Chairman, I do not have a prepared or written statement.
I am pleased to be here. I hope I can contribute something to your investigation. It certainly warrants a full disclosure.
I have read the General Accounting Office report. I find no major differences with their findings.
Mr. EILBERG. Mr. Greene, we have a little problem. I forgot to swear you, so would you please stand up for a moment, please?
Do you swear that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. GREENE. So help me God.
If I may continue, the report, as you are well aware, because this was made to you, indicates that subsequent to 1973, starting in 1973 and up to date, the Immigration Service has put a great deal of emphasis to do those things that probably should have been done many years ago.
Many of those changes were implemented by me. I was Acting Commissioner starting in the latter part of March 1973, and for a period of about 9 months. Then I became Deputy Commissioner.
Since I left I understand further changes have been made. For the period prior to 1973, I have some difficulty recalling the reasons for delays, or inaction.
The General Accounting Office investigators met with me at my home and we spent a number of hours going over the situation. I reported to them as best I could recall those events that transpired that I had something to do with or had some knowledge of.
So, with that very brief statement, I am prepared to answer your questions as best I can.
Mr. Eilberg Do I understand that you have no serious quarrel with the GAO report; is that your testimony?
Mr. GREENE. I think it is a fair report. I think they had a very difficult job. I believe they have accomplished the goal of what they were endeavoring to achieve. So I have no real problem with it.
Mr. EILBERG. Mr. Greene, as we both know, there were numerous delays in the State Department in responding to your, and I might add my own, requests to have eyewitnesses in foreign countries interviewed. Yours also went unanswered for months, if they were ever answered at all.
Can you comment or speculate on the reasons for this delay? Was there an outright opposition to raising this issue with foreign
countries, particularly Eastern bloc countries? Was it a lack of interest?
Mr. GREENE. Yes; I believe from my standpoint there was a lack of interest. Certainly a number of requests were made and followups were made, and we did not receive the information or the affidavits or the documents that we needed. I think the General Accounting Office in its report referred to a period that they asked us not to attempt to obtain things from the Iron Curtain countries.
Mr. EILBERG. Where is that stated in the report?
Mr. GREENE. In the General Accounting Office report, they commented that the State Department admitted to them that there was a period during which they asked INS not to raise the issue of getting witnesses from the Iron Curtain countries.
Mr. EILBERG. Can you speculate on the reason for the delays?
Mr. GREENE. I can only guess they were bureaucratic delays. Certainly, it also was clear enough. I think we spelled out the urgency of the matter and responses were totally largely unresponsive. There just wasn't any response in some cases.
Mr. EILBERG. Once again, was there outright opposition to raising this issue with foreign countries, the issue of getting foreign witnesses?
Mr. GREENE. Mr. Chairman, I have no personal recollection of being told that. I do say, referring to the Comptroller General's report, he states that State admitted they had asked us not to attempt to obtain documents from the Iron Curtain countries.
Mr. EILBERG. Mr. Greene, I am reading from part of a letter from L. Chapman, Jr., a former Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, dated July 18, 1974, referring to eyewitnesses residing inside Russia. Reading from part of that letter, Commissioner Chapman said, and I quote:
Insofar as the ten witnesses residing inside Russia are concerned, this service requested the Department of State, by letter dated January 24, 1974–
I repeat, this letter was dated July 18, and reference here is made to the Department of State letter dated January 24: as to the feasibility of locating and obtaining sworn certified authenticated statements from the eyewitnesses through the Consular or other facilities available from said office in that country. Three more letters were sent to the Department of State concerning two specific cases
And I am not mentioning the names, potential defendants there: and in two of them other alleged War criminals that are under investigation.
Attached for your information are copies of all these letters. To date we have not received acknowledgment.
Do you have any observations to make on that statement?
Mr. GREENE. Well, it's factual, and it spells it out. We asked and asked and we got no response. Certainly we couldn't do it ourselves. The documents we required would have to be authenticated to be of any value in either denaturalization or deportation hearing.