740.00116 European War 1939/543

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

The British Ambassador24 called at his request and handed me an aide-mémoire (copy attached)25 giving the views of the British Government [Page 52] on the policy to be adopted with regard to war criminals, etc. I thanked him and then proceeded to detail the facts pertaining to a statement on this subject by the eight refugee governments in London prepared several months ago, and presented directly to this Government some weeks ago by a subcommittee representing these governments.26 I also recited the substance of the President’s reply27 to this communication, which was made public and with which the British Ambassador said he Was familiar. I emphasized the fact that the President was not undertaking to speak for all of the governments interested nor was he undertaking to implement this proposal except to a limited extent. I added that the idea of this Government was that further steps should be taken by all interested governments acting in concert, after discussing the best methods of carrying out the policy; that the lessons of the Lord Bryce Commission, organized for a similar purpose during the first World War, should be thoroughly understood in connection with any plan of implementation. The Ambassador said he agreed and then added that it was very important to prepare the most effective ways to secure and preserve evidence in regard to the guilt and the identity of those participating in the atrocities.

I said to the Ambassador that this Government would be glad to make a study of the aide-mémoire and communicate further with the British Government.

C[ordell] H[ull]
  1. Viscount Halifax.
  2. Infra.
  3. Letter dated July 30, p. 46.
  4. Released to the press on August 21, Department of State Bulletin, August 22, 1942, p. 709.