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Document Creation Date: 
December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
June 2, 2011
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Publication Date: 
February 23, 1984
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1 1, 1 AL -1111 1i.111 Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2011/06/04: CIA-RDP90-01208R000100120076-7 F RTI CLE APPEARED NEW YORK TIMES ON PAGE _-$ 23 February 1984 seized archives of Benito Mussolini. Mr. La Vista died in Arlington, Va., in Stuay Reported Shelved 1951 at the age of 44. By RALPH BLUMENTHAL John Loftus, a former member of the Justice D rtment s Office o oecial The State DeQartatent investigator _veest ations dealuzg with war criau- whose 1947 report said the Vatican had nail, saidhe ad no dooubft"~~r ewe r assisted is the escaT)P off Nazis ma G ~ve`uawlitingly stualedonto Amery ' can tnte-IIigence operations that were _ia2aig use of the very ~eppi ' Bo- g, aCo _V Govern meat documents andformerofofficials. . s result, me sources say, the re- port by the investigator, Vincent La Vista, appears to have been ultimately shelved without the wider investigation he recommended. . However, . docu- ments show that American diplomats took up aspects of his report with an envoy of Pope Pius XII and with offi- cials of the international Committee of the Red Cross. Both promised to look into the matter, records show. In the report, Mr. La Vista called the Vatican "the largest single organiza- tion involved in the illegal movement of emigrants." He said that the Vatican had brought pressure on Latin Ameri- can countries to take in Nazis and that the justification of the Vatican for its . participation in this illegal traffic is simply propagation of the faith.". Allegations Were Denied Two church historians, the Rev. Rob- ert Graham and the Rev. Pierre Blet, dismissed the allegations in the report as "nothing but air" and "artificial and false." Father Blet also questioned ac- counts that . Walter Rauff, a former Nazi official said to ha B l ,040-1X y 1o ,preserve tie secrecy oftnce links. a .24!&Z Mr. Loftus ostonla~er wh h , o as wntten a c aag.._np that ve rus- sian Nazis were smu ggle~ mto tl+e td$tates also said that accordin documents e d seen. Am ri ,p ii tligenc e had gone to the Vatican for Aei is fir tie escape o azjs wor or the end.... Ass evidence that . Mr La Vista had run acres intelligence overatior , Mr. Loftus cited the case of Ferenc Vajta, the Aunaarian Nazi. In his report, Mr. La Vista said: "The Hungarian Communists are also trying to hunt down the Hungarian fascist, Vajta, Ferenc, who, so their Propaganda says, is living in great state at the Grand Hotel Rome, under the very eyes of the Anglo-American authorities. However,. Vajta is not at the Grand Hotel, but, according to fairly reliable sources, in one of the many monasteries in the Rome area." In December 1947, half a year later, Mr. Vajta, who had been an aide to Fer. enc Szalasi, the executed Hungarian Nazi leader, was discovered living in: New York, A- Congressional inquiry determined that he had entered the United States on a diplomatic visa issued by the American consul, in Ma. drid. eve mobile death vans, had been given ref- Another State Department document obtained by Mr. Loftus indicates uge in church convents before escaping American concern about illegal em'. to Chile, where his extradition is again gration of Nazis to Latin America and being sought. the possible role of the Vatican. A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Romeo Panciroli, called the state. meats of the historians "a sufficiently clear reply" to the issue and the Vati- can indicated that the statements con- stituted its official reply. Mr. La Vista, a lawyer, worked at the beginning of World War II as an inves- tigator for the Army 4Ur Forces and in 1945 was assigned to the embassy in Rome under the Division of. Foreign Activity Correlation, a State Depart- ment intelligence office. He was as- signed to trace looted Nazi wealth in a secret operation code-named"Safeha- ven" and'he also headed the American team that studied and microfilmed the almsley Jr., counselor for economic affairs in the American Embassy in Rome, sent Washington a followup on the La Vista report in the form of a secret memo- randum of July 16, 1947, prepared by the American Embassy in Buenos Aires. The Buenos Aires memorandum cited an Istituto di Snt. Jeronimus a Via Tomacelli 132 in Rome that the La Vista report gave as the address for a Vatican Croatian relief organization "engaging in or suspected of engaging in illegal emigration." .The memoran- dum called the institute the headquar. tars of a clandestine movement of Yugoslav Ustaschi war criminals from Italy to Argentina. The memorandum stated: "It would appear that neces-. nary sums come from Vatican circles, who had previously actively supported! this organization in 1923.1941. Member. ship of'Ustasclla' and Catholic religion are compulsory for help and assistance in leaving Italy." - The memorandum listed several Croatians and a Frenchman - Drago ii:reruzir, Juan Percevick, Dr. F. Todt, and Marquis Eric de Surville - who it. said arrived in this manner in Argen. tins by ship from Italy.: ^ . _ Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2011/06/04: CIA-RDP90-01208R000100120076-7