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Young Americans for Freedom have asked the Washington District Court to issue a write of mandamus forcing the State Department to rule on an application for a visa made by Moise Tshombe, head of secessionist Katanga Province.
Tshombe was scheduled to receive an award on behalf of the Katangan people for their "courageous stand against Communism" at the YAF rally in New York City March 7.
Tshombe applied to the State Department for a visa under a Belgian passport on Jan. 19, and again on Feb. 3, according to Donald B. Shafto, chairman of the rally. His application has not yet been considered, Shafto said.
District Court Refusal
Judge Joseph Curran of the District Court refused the petitioners an immediate hearing last Friday. The Court has 20 days in which to rule on the case. Shafto said, which is more than enough to avoid making a decision before the rally.
Since YAF's appeal is based on a claim of economic hardship if Tshombe does not appear, the Court could easily rule that the question had become a moot point after the rally, Shafto noted.
YAF is now considering taking the case to the Circuit Court of Appeals to force Judge Curran to make an immediate ruling on the writ of mandamus. A decision on this action will be made in a day or two.
Shafto said that a United States representative in Katanga, Lewis Hoffacker, had told Tshombe that his visit would be "most inconvenient" at this time, and asked the secessionist leader to drop his application. Tshombe refused, claiming that he had a commitment to appear at the YAF rally.
The official State Department stand on the matter, as told to a Senate Committee investigating the Congo situation, is that Tshombe's visit would interrupt "delicate negotiations" now being carried on, and also might precipitate a riot in the United States.
Shafto cited the visit of FLN leaders from Algeria to the United States during the course of similar "delicate negotiations," and charged the State Department with establishing a "frightening precedent" by "using the power of government to influence practical politics."
"The Administration is also keeping the American public from hearing the other side of the story in the Congo," Shafto said. "Their methods are those of a police state and quite unacceptable."
As for the rest of the scheduled list of speakers, Sen. Thomas J. Dodd (D-Conn.) has announced his withdrawal on the grounds that "there were too many Republicans" and he would be "the only Democrat." Sen. Strom Thurmond, however, is still planning to attend.
Gen. Edwin Walker's invitation has been withdrawn by YAF because in entering the Texas gubernatorial primary he might place himself in opposition to another conservative candidate, Shafto said. However, it is known that several influential conservatives, namely Senators Tower and Goldwater, lobbied for Walker's removal because of his ties with the John Birch Society.
Besides Thurmond the list of YAF award winners still includes Herbert Hoover, John Wayne, John Dos Passos, and conservative editor M. Stanton Evans.
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