740.00119 EW/9–944

The Secretary of War (Stimson) to the Secretary of State


Dear Mr. Secretary: I enclose herewith

Copy of the memorandum dated September 9th which gives to the President my general views as to the matters contained in your memorandum of September 4th1 as well as some comments on the papers submitted by Mr. Morgenthau2 to the President with your aforesaid memorandum of September 4th.
My suggested changes to your memorandum of September 4th which have been under study between Mr. Matthews and Mr. McCloy, as I told you in the President’s conference.3

Faithfully yours,

Henry L Stimson
[Enclosure 1]

Memorandum by the Secretary of War (Stimson)


Our discussions relate to a matter of method entirely; our objective is the same. It is not a question of a soft treatment of Germany or a harsh treatment of Germany. We are all trying to devise protection against recurrence by Germany of her attempts to dominate the world. We differ as to method. The fundamental remedy of Mr. Morgenthau is to provide that the industry of Germany shall be substantially obliterated. Although expressed only in terms of the Ruhr, the fact [Page 124] of the matter is that the Ruhr and the adjacent territories which Mr. Morgenthau would include in his program constitute, particularly after the amputations that are proposed, the core of German industry. His proposition is

“the total destruction of the whole German armament industry and the removal or destruction of other key industries which are basic to military strength.”

In speaking of the Ruhr and surrounding industrial areas, he says:

“This area should not only be stripped of all presently existing industries but so weakened and controlled that it cannot in the foreseeable future become an industrial area—all industrial plants and equipment not destroyed by military action shall either be completely dismantled or removed from the area or completely destroyed, all equipment shall be removed from the mines and the mines shall be thoroughly wrecked.”4

I am unalterably opposed to such a program for the reasons given in my memorandum dated September 55 which is already before the President. I do not think that the reasons there stated need again be elaborated. In substance, my point is that these resources constitute a natural and necessary asset for the productivity of Europe. In a period when the world is suffering from destruction and from want of production, the concept of the total obliteration of these values is to my mind wholly wrong. My insistence is that these assets be conserved and made available for the benefit of the whole of Europe, including particularly Great Britain. The internationalization of the Ruhr or the trusteeship of its products—I am not prepared at the moment to discuss details of method—constitutes a treatment of the problem in accord with the needs and interests of the world. To argue that we are incapable of sustained effort to control such wealth within proper channels is to destroy any hope for the future of the world. I believe that the education furnished us by the Germans in two world wars, plus the continuity of interest which such a trusteeship would stimulate is sufficient insurance that we can be trusted to deal with the problem. The unnatural destruction of this industry would, on the other hand, be so certain, in my judgment, to provoke sympathy for the Germans that we would create friends both in this country and abroad for the Germans, whereas now most of the peoples of the world are thoroughly antipathetic to them.

The other fundamental point upon which I feel we differ is the matter of the trial and punishment of those Germans who are responsible for crimes and depredations. Under the plan proposed by Mr. Morgenthau, the so-called arch-criminals shall be put to death by the [Page 125] military without provision for any trial and upon mere identification after apprehension. The method of dealing with these and other criminals requires careful thought and a well-defined procedure. Such procedure must embody, in my judgment, at least the rudimentary aspects of the Bill of Eights, namely, notification to the accused of the charge, the right to be heard and, within reasonable limits, to call witnesses in his defense. I do not mean to favor the institution of state trials or to introduce any cumbersome machinery but the very punishment of these men in a dignified manner consistent with the advance of civilization, will have all the greater effect upon posterity. Furthermore, it will afford the most effective way of making a record of the Nazi system of terrorism and of the effort of the Allies to terminate the system and prevent its recurrence.

I am disposed to believe that at least as to the chief Nazi officials, we should participate in an international tribunal constituted to try them. They should be charged with offences against the laws of the Rules of War in that they have committed wanton and unnecessary cruelties in connection with the prosecution of the war. This law of the Rules of War has been upheld by our own Supreme Court and will be the basis of judicial action against the Nazis.

Even though these offences have not been committed against our troops, I feel that our moral position is better if we take our share in their conviction. Other war criminals who have committed crimes in subjugated territory should be returned in accordance with the Moscow Declaration6 to those territories for trial by national military commissions having jurisdiction of the offence under the same Rules of War. I have great difficulty in finding any means whereby military com missions may try and convict those responsible for excesses committed within Germany both before and during the war which have no relation to the conduct of the war. I would be prepared to construe broadly what constituted a violation of the Rules of War but there is a certain field in which I fear that external courts cannot move. Such courts would be without jurisdiction in precisely the same way that any foreign court would be without jurisdiction to try those who were guilty of, or condoned, lynching in our own country.

The above are the two main points with which I differ from the proposed program submitted by the Secretary of the Treasury.


I have an open mind on partition and although I have given the matter substantial consideration I have, as yet, come to no conclusion [Page 126] as to wisdom or method of partition. I feel we cannot deal effectively with that subject until we have had an interchange of views with the English and the Russians. I, myself, seek further light on this subject. I, certainly, would not discourage any spontaneous effort toward separation of the country into two or more groups.


I understand that there is some general recognition of the probability of Russia or the Poles taking East Prussia and some parts of Silesia. I suggest that we interpose no objection to this but that we take no part in the administration of the area. On the Western border the primary question is the matter of dealing with the Ruhr but it has also been suggested that the Rhineland and the Saar be delivered to France. Naturally I am in favor of the automatic return of Alsace and Lorraine to France but though my mind is not irrevocably closed against it, I feel that the burden of proof lies on those who suggest giving France more territory. She will come out of this war with her Empire practically intact, with a reduced population and already possessing a very valuable bit of ore in the Longwy-Briey area. To give her a substantial territory of German-speaking and German-bred people would create another problem in the balance of Europe. To counteract this, I would give France a share in the benefits of the internationalization of the Saar and the Ruhr and the advantage which this gives of what would in effect be an international barrier between France and Germany.

There are certain other methods of punishment affecting the personal lives of individual Germans proposed by the Secretary of the Treasury to which I am opposed as constituting irritations of no fundamental value and, indeed, of considerable danger, but these are primarily matters of administration which I think need not be discussed at this time. In some part, at least, they had best be determined by those who have the primary responsibility for the administration of the occupation.

As a suggestion, I propose that during the interim period, which is all that we can deal with at the moment, the President be recommended to approve a program generally in accord with the memorandum submitted by the Secretary of State at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Tuesday, September 5, except for a modification of subparagraph 2 (h) of that memorandum and certain other additions on which I hope we can all agree, which suggested changes I append hereto.

[Page 127]
[Enclosure 2]

Memorandum by the Secretary of War (Stimson)


Suggested Changes in Cabinet Committee Recommendations as Stated in Paper September 4, 1944

To paragraph 2 (a) should be added the following:

“At least for an indefinite period Germany shall be denied the means or power to manufacture or design aeroplanes or gliders of any sort whether military, commercial or private, and Germany shall have no license to operate any airlines. During this period no schools or courses for the study of air flight in any form shall be permitted.

“All machines, plants and other instruments which are peculiarly adapted to the manufacture of arms and lethal weapons of any sort shall be dismantled or destroyed.”

Paragraph 2 (b) should be rewritten to read as follows:

“Dissolution of the Nazi Party and all its affiliated and associated organizations should be effected immediately and all members of the Gestapo, viz., the so-called security or political police, prominent Nazis in whatever activity they may have operated, substantially if not all members of the S.S. organizations, and others who are suspected of having taken part in or had responsibility for the perpetration of war crimes, should be apprehended and held for further disposition. Prompt and summary trials shall be held of those charged with such crimes and punishment should be swift and severe.

“Studies should be instituted at once to determine the procedures to be followed in such trials, and they should be cleared with the British, Russians, and French as quickly as possible, so that they can be communicated to the appropriate occupying authorities without delay.

“All laws discriminating against persons on grounds of race, color, creed, political activity or opinion, should be annulled.”

To paragraph (e) should be added the following:

“The territories of Germany which are to be ceded to other countries are understood to be all or most of East Prussia and some parts of Silesia. The question of the Rhineland and the Saar is closely connected with the treatment of the Ruhr. We recommend as the present view of the United States that a strong control over the products of this area must be maintained by means of some form of international trusteeship of its products and resources. It should not be obliterated as an industrial productive center, but it must be actively managed by others than Germans and otherwise completely taken from German domination.

“On the other hand no efforts shall be made to rebuild any of the destroyed plants in Germany until permission is given by appropriate Allied or United Nations authority.”

[Page 128]

Substitute for paragraph (h) the following:

“The primary objectives of our economic policy are: (1) the permanent elimination of German economic domination in Europe and (2) the conversion of German economic capacity in such manner that it will be so dependent upon imports and exports that Germany cannot by its own devices reconvert to war production.”

  1. Ante, p. 95.
  2. Ante, p. 101.
  3. Stimson’s Diary for September 7, 8, and 9, 1944, indicates that the two enclosures were prepared with McCloy’s assistance and that Stimson presented them at a meeting which the Cabinet Committee on Germany had with Roosevelt on September 9 (Stimson Papers).
  4. The dash in the passage quoted indicates the omission of several words from the text of the Treasury memorandum. Cf. ante, p. 102.
  5. Ante, p. 98.
  6. i.e., the Declaration of German Atrocities approved at the Tripartite Conference held at Moscow, October 18–November 1, 1943. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, pp. 768769; Department of State Bulletin, vol. ix, November 6, 1943, pp. 310–311.