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Kurt Waldheim

Volume 127: debated on Friday 19 February 1988

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To ask the Prime Minister whether she will instruct Her Majesty's ambassador to the United States to seek access to any American copies of records relating to the alleged interrogation of British service men in the Balkans by Lieutenant Kurt Waldheim: with a view to making a statement on them to the House.

We now have a copy of the relevant file from the United States authorities, and are examining it.

To ask the Prime Minister whether, in the course of the Government's review of the fate of the captured British service men in the Balkans, allegedly interrogated by the then Leiutenant Kurt Waldheim, she or her representatives will meet Professor Gerald Fleming, the British member of the historian's commission established by the Austrian Government.

Arrangements are in hand for Government research staff to meet Professor Fleming.

To ask the Prime Minister whether she will institute an inquiry into the reasons for the destruction in 1978 of British Foreign and Commonwealth Office files relating to the alleged interrogation of British service men in the Balkans by the then Lieutenant Kurt Waldheim.

No. The files were destroyed in accordance with the guidelines for the preservation and destruction of public records.

To ask the Prime Minister whether she will instigate inquiries into the information available to Her Majesty's Government in 1971 concerning the war record of President Kurt Waldheim prior to the decision to support his candidature for Secretary General of the United Nations; and if she will make a statement.

No. It has been the practice of successive Governments not to reveal how they voted in secret ballots in the United Nations, or why they voted as they did. I am informed that at the time of Dr. Waldheim's election as United Nations Secretary-General no doubts were raised about his wartime record.