For Yassir Arafat, The U.S. Must Be Off Limits
(Archived document, may contain errors)
5/21/86 U0 FOR YASSIR ARAFAT, THE U.S. MUST BE OFF LIMITS
Yassir Arafat has indicated an interest in coming to the New York
headquarters of the United Na tions at the beginning of June.
The.last time he addressed the General Assembly was in November
1974. Then the terrorist leader received a standing ovation from
the anti-American and anti-Israeli audience. in recent years
evidence has accumulated testifyi n g to Arafat's involvement in
international terrorism. As such, the Reagan Administration should
exercise its legal prerogative to deny Arafat a visa to the U.S.
Failing to do so would send the wrong message at a time when the
Administration is seeking.to use all responsible means to fight
The U.S. has the full legal right to'exclude Arafat from the U.S.
Section 212(a) (27) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, known
as the McCarran-Walter Act, permits expulsion of aliens who "seek
to enter the U.S. solely,- principally,, or incidentally to engage
in activities which would be prejudicial to the public interest or'
endanger the welfare, safety, or security of the U.S." On several
occasions since 1947 the U.S. has denied entrance to aliens seekin
g to visit the U.N. Moreover, the arrangement by which the U.S.
agreed to host the U.N., the Headquarters Agreement of 1947 as
codified in P.L.- 357 (80th Congress), explicitly states in Section
6 that "nothing in the Agreement shall be construed as in any way
diminishing, abridging, or weakening the right of the U.S. to
safeguard its own security and completely to control the entrance
of aliens .... 11 An authoritative 1953 State Department opinion by
the Assistant Legal Advisor for U.N. Affairs states tha t the
Section 6-reservation was an expression of congressional opinion
"that the U.S. must have at least some control over the entrance of
aliens into the Headquarters District and its immediate
Evidence regarding Arafat's terrorist activit ies has been
mounting. In 1973, a PLO faction in Khartoum murdered three people,
including two U.S. diplomats--Ambassador Cleo Noel and Charge
d'Affaires G. Curtis Moore. Arafat's voice was allegedly monitored
and recorded, indicating that he was present in the operations
center controlling the incident and that he congratulated the
guerrillas after the execution.
On February-12, 1986, Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Charles E.
Grassley (R-IA), and 42 other Senators signed a letter asking
Attorney General Edwin Meese III to indict Arafat on the basis of
this evidence. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole (R-KS)
stated on the floor of the Senate: "It disturbs me that we seem to
keep the door open for people like Arafa t to come and spread their
poison either at the United Nations or anywhere in the United
States .... I believe it is an insult to Americans who have been
the victims of terrorism around the world that we have to sit back
and listen to people like Mr. Arafa t, especially in a forum like
the United Nations.... 11 Congressman Jack Kemp (R-NY) sent a
letter to Secretary of State George Shultz demanding the same, and
a similar letter is being sent by Senators Lautenberg and Jeremiah
Denton (R-AL) to Shultz.
In addition to denying Arafat a visa, the Reagan Administration
o Ask the Department of Justice Legal Counsel to render an
opinion on the U.S.'s right to enforce the Headquarters Agreement
against members of the PLO generally.
o Investigate PLO activi ties in the U.S., including violation
by the Palestine information Office, based in Washington, D.C., of
the Voorhis Act (Title 18, Section 2386 of the Criminal Code). This
Act mandates registration of-an organization if one of its purposes
is the seizure or violent overthrow of a government..
o Consider legal-action against the PLO mission to the U.N. in
New York, including closing it down.
o consider indicting Arafat for the 1973 murders of U.S.
If the U.S. is serious about fighting terroris m, it must deny
Arafat, a chief,terrorist,, the right to come to the U.S. And if
the U.S. is serious about its membership in the U.N., then it must
deny Arafat'the right.to visit U.N. headquarters in New York
J uliana Geran Pilon, Ph.D. Senior Policy Analyst
For further information:
Juliana Geran Pilon.. "The PLO's Valuable Ally: The U.N.,"
Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 473, December 17, 1985.
"Arresti ng Arafat", The New Republic, December 30, 1985.