740.00116 EW 1939/4–1144

The Combined Chiefs of Staff to General Eisenhower 28

Individuals suspected of having committed war crimes should not be tried before military tribunals. Until a determination has been made by the United Nations as to their ultimate disposal, they will be retained in custody by the Allied command.

While held in custody, all available evidence and information concerning suspects, and concerning the war crimes which they are alleged to have committed, will be obtained. This will be sent to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for transmission to the Allied government having the greatest interest for forwarding by that government to the United Nations War Crimes Commission.

Military courts appointed by you may try, however, in normal manner, persons who commit offenses against your command during the period of occupation.

The United Nations Commission is being established as a result of decision made in London by the Allied governments on 20 October. It is contemplated that all evidence furnished the Commission by the governments of the United Nations respecting war crimes committed by the enemy against United Nations nationals will be recorded and reviewed by it; that, where it appears that sufficient evidence will be available, the Commission will report such cases to the governments concerned; and that it will, in addition, study the means by which a common policy can be determined for such matters as the applicable laws, the procedure to be followed with respect to the surrender and detention of criminals, the type of tribunals to be used for war crimes trials, etc.

  1. Copy received from the War Department in a letter dated April 11, 1944.