740.00116 European War 1939/521

The Netherlands Ambassador ( Loudon ), the Luxembourg Minister ( Le Gallais ), and the Yugoslav Minister ( Fotitch ) to the Secretary of State 6

Dear Mr. Secretary: On behalf of the government of Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and the French National Committee, we have the honor to submit the following communication for transmission to the President of the United States:

The Government of the United States is aware that the Belgian Government, the French National Committee, the Greek Government, the Luxembourg Government, the Norwegian Government, the Netherland Government, the Polish Government, the Czechoslovak Government and the Yugoslavian Government have, on January 13, 1942, signed a declaration at St. James Palace, London, concerning the repression of war crimes. These Governments have now examined jointly the situation at present created by the recrudescence of violations of international law and especially of acts of oppression and terror in those territories in Europe now under enemy occupation.

Recently these acts have taken proportions and forms giving rise to the fear that, as the defeat of the enemy countries approaches, the barbaric and unrelenting character of the occupational regime will become more marked, and may even lead to the extermination of certain populations. It follows from Dr. Goebbels’7 speech made in Berlin on June 15, 1942, that Germany has cut all ties with the outside world. If this is true, it would be vain to count on the influence of public opinion only. No sense of responsibility will refrain the invaders’ action any longer. Consequently, the above mentioned governments consider that only some very clearcut measure on the part of the most powerful of the Allies could still have a preventive influence. Under these conditions, and anxious to avoid as far as possible that the population of the invaded territories should undergo still worse trials than hitherto, and confiding in the spirit of solidarity of all the United Nations in the face of a menace which is nothing else than an inhuman way of compelling these peoples, against their will, to contribute to the war effort of the enemy or to extort acts of adhesion to the so-called New Order, the above mentioned governments have decided to make an urgent appeal to the President of the United States that he should address a last warning to the culprits.

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The governments hope that the declaration which President Roosevelt made on October 25, 19418 before the United States entered the war, may be amplified so as to make the enemy understand that the determination and power of the United States of America are to be considered as a guarantee that the warning previously given will be carried into effect. The signatories of the interallied declaration of January 13, 1942, hope that the American Nation will be pleased to see a step taken which would be conducive towards saving innumerable innocent lives.

An account of conditions now prevailing in the respective occupied countries is attached to this communication.9

Please accept [etc.]

  • Hugues Le Gallais
  • A. Loudon
  • Constantin Fotitch
  1. Similar appeals were addressed to the British Government on July 21, 1942, and to the Soviet Government on July 23, 1942; see Punishment for War Crimes (2) : Collective Notes Presented to the Governments of Great Britain, the U. S. S. R. and the U. S. A. and Relative Correspondence (His Majesty’s Stationery Office), pp. 3, 4.
  2. Josef Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda.
  3. See telegram No. 4691, October 24, 1941, 8 p.m., to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom, Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. i, p. 446.
  4. Not printed.