740.00116 European War 1939/991: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant ) to the Secretary of State

4567. In reply to our communication conveying the substance of Department’s 3936 of June 28, 9 p.m., to the Foreign Office, we have just received the following from the Foreign Office:

“I write to thank you for your letter of the 29th June about the appointment of the Honorable Herbert C. Pell to be the representative of the United States Government on the proposed United Nations Commission for the Investigation of War Crimes.

As this appointment has been made public we have decided to make a similar announcement of the appointment of Sir Cecil Hurst as the British representative. His Majesty’s Embassy at Washington were instructed to inform the United States Government in advance of our intention to do this.

I note that the United States Government would prefer that Sir Cecil Hurst rather than Mr. Pell should become the Chairman of the Commission. We appreciate the United States Government’s feelings on this point and would be very willing that Sir Cecil Hurst should serve as Chairman if this were acceptable to the other Governments concerned; but a final decision in the matter cannot I think be taken until the Commission has been established. In this connection we feel that it would be unwise to assume that the Commission will be set up in the immediate future. While we are as anxious as the United States Government to press on with its establishment, we still await the final replies of the Chinese and Soviet Governments to the proposals made to them last March and even when these are received it will be necessary to consult the other Allied Governments concerned and see to matters such as the Secretariat of the Commission and related questions. We are therefore suggesting to the United States Government through His Majesty’s Embassy at Washington that Mr. Pell should not leave for London until the position is clearer.”12

  1. By Department’s telegram No. 4350, July 17, the Ambassador was informed that Mr. Pell’s departure was being postponed.